Jayhawks Travel to Nashville for Music City Classic

Feb. 28, 2008

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The Jayhawks will participate in the Music City Classic at Charles Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. this weekend. Kansas (2-4) will face No. 7 Vanderbilt at 4:05 p.m. Friday before taking on Xavier Saturday at 12:05 p.m., and Iowa Sunday also at 12:05 p.m.

Live audio will be available for all three games this weekend through www.kuathletics.com. Veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick will call all the action from Hawkins Field. Gametracker will also be available for all three games.

The Series

Kansas will be meeting host Vanderbilt for the third time in head coach Ritch Price’s tenure at KU. The Jayhawks have won all three previous meetings with the Commodores, including twice during the 2006 season.

KU will be meeting Xavier for the first time on the baseball diamond. The Jayhawks are 5-0 against current members of the Atlantic-10.

KU’s game against Iowa will be the 12th meeting in the all-time series, which dates back to 1900. The Hawkeyes lead the series 6-5, including a 7-6 triumph in the most recent meeting, March 12, 1995.

Scouting the Commodores

Vanderbilt enters the weekend tournament as the No. 7 team in the country according to the latest Baseball America Top 25 poll. The Commodores took two of three over the weekend in Tempe, Ariz., before defeating Evansville, 4-3 on Wednesday. VU’s other victories came at the expense of then-No. 7 Oregon State and Miami University.

Senior outfielder Parker Hanks is VU’s top hitter through the first four games of the season. The 6-foot-2 left fielder comes into the weekend with a team-best .357 batting average, a double and a home run. Three other hitters in the lineup, outfielder Jonathan White, second baseman Alex Feinberg and outfielder David Macias enter the weekend batting above .300.

On the mound, the Jayhawks will face one of the top young arms in the SEC in sophomore lefty Mike Minor. Minor earned the win in VU’s 8-1 triumph over defending national champion Oregon State last Friday. Last season he sported a 3.09 ERA and a 9-1 record in 14 starts.

Head coach Tim Corbin is in his sixth season with the Commodores and has a record of 201-99. Last season, Corbin led the team to an NCAA Regional appearance after finishing first in the SEC East.

Scouting the Musketeers

Xavier went 1-2 in its first weekend of action in a tournament hosted by the University of South Alabama. The Musketeers sandwiched a 12-7 win over Fairfield in between losses to No. 17 Kentucky and the host Jaguars.

Senior left fielder Robbie Kelley led Xavier’s offense last weekend, going 5-for-10 with two doubles, a home run and five runs scored. Sophomore first baseman Zac Richard wasn’t too far behind, posting a .462 average (6-for-13) with a home run and six RBIs.

The Jayhawks will see senior righty Michael Lucas, who will look to bounce back after an uneven start against Fairfield last Saturday. Lucas allowed nine hits and seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, but was bailed out by his offense in a 12-7 Muskateer victory. Senior righty Mike Creevy earned the win on the mound Saturday, pitching 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Head coach Scott Googins is in his third season at Xavier and has a record of 49-70 in his career. Last season, Googins led the Muskateers to a 29-31 mark and a fourth-place finish in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

Scouting the Hawkeyes

Iowa, like Xavier, went 1-2 in their first weekend of action and enter the Music City Classic looking to bounce back. The Hawkeyes defeated Albany in their season opener in Clearwater, Fla., but fell to Notre Dame (14-13) and Liberty (3-1) in the final two games of the weekend.

Iowa’s offense was led by center fielder Caleb Curry, who hit .692 during the three games in Florida. Curry hit safely nine times in 13 at bats, which included three doubles and five RBIs. He was also 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. Leadoff hitter Kevin Hoeff hit .333 for the weekend with a pair of runs scored.

Kansas will face junior right-hander Steve Turnbull on Sunday. The 6-foot-3 righty started Iowa’s game against Notre Dame and pitched the first three innings, allowing seven runs on six hits. He also walked a pair. The Hawkeyes have used righty Matt Mosey and lefty Andrew Porter out of the bullpen twice each this season. Neither pitcher has allowed an earned run as of yet.

Head coach Jack Dahm is in his fifth season at Iowa and has a 104-111 record with the Hawkeyes. Dahm is 386-398 in 14-plus seasons as a Division I head coach. He came to Iowa after 10 seasons as a head coach at Creighton. Dahm’s team finished 31-23 last season to finish fourth in the Big Ten.

Last Time Out

Despite a strong outing on the mound by sophomore starting pitcher Wally Marciel, the Jayhawks fell to 30th-ranked Arkansas, 2-1, in a non-conference baseball game played Wednesday at Baum Stadium.

After scoring 16 runs in the final game of the Hawaii-Hilo series, the Jayhawks were held to one run on four hits by six Arkansas pitchers. Junior John Allman drove in the only KU run with a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

Noting the Jayhawks

– This will be KU’s first trip to Nashville, Tenn., since the 2006 season.

– KU is 32-48 all-time against current members of the SEC, including 4-0 all-time against Vanderbilt.

– After facing the defending SEC Western Division champion on Wednesday in Arkansas, the Jayhawks will see the conference’s Eastern Division champion Friday, Vanderbilt.

– KU’s game against Xavier will be the schools’ first meeting on the baseball diamond.

– The KU-Iowa series continues after a 13-year hiatus. The teams last met in 1995 in Lawrence, however, the series dates all the way back to 1900, when the Hawkeyes earned a 10-3 triumph.

– Junior catcher Buck Afenir had the team’s only extra base hit in the game at Arkansas. Afenir is batting .400 to start the year and is tied for the team lead with eight total bases.

– Senior John Allman drove in KU’s only run of the game Wednesday in Arkansas. He also reached base three times in five plate appearances. Last season, Allman hit .419 in the month of February.

– Senior Justin Ellrich hit his first home run of the season against Hawaii-Hilo on Sunday. It marked the left-handed-hitting first baseman’s first round-tripper since belting a two-run shot at Kansas State on April 23, 2006.

– Junior Nick Faunce collected his second multi-hit game of the season Wednesday in Arkansas. Faunce leads the team with a .462 batting average (6-for-13).

– Freshman Brian Heere collected his first hit as a Jayhawk in his first collegiate start on Feb. 23 against Hawaii-Hilo.

– Junior Preston Land hit his first home run of the season to break open Sunday’s 16-4 triumph over the Vulcans. The first baseman’s last five homers have come against non-conference opponents.

– Senior Casey Larson appeared in three games during the Hawaii-Hilo series and made a pair of starts in center field. He went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position, which included a two-run single the the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

– Senior shortstop Erik Morrison went 0-for-3 against the Razorbacks Wednesday after hitting safely in four of the five games against Hawaii-Hilo. Morrison has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games.

– Sophomore Robby Price contributed with four sacrifice bunts in the UHH series. Price’s older brother, Ritchie, holds the school record with 17 sacrifices during the 2003 season.

– Despite just three hits in the UHH series, senior Ryne Price reached base nine times and scored a team-high six runs. His six runs scored are a team-high this season.

– Senior Eric Snowden came off the bench and went 1-for-4 as a pinch hitter. Last season, Snowden led the team with a .364 average as a pinch hitter (8-for-22).

– Senior Joe Southers went 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored Sunday against UHH. Southers became the first Jayhawk catcher to triple in a game since Andrew Spitzfaden had a three-base hit against Oklahoma on April 30, 2006.

– Freshman Tony Thompson went 2-for-4 in his collegiate debut on Feb. 22 against UHH. Thompson is the first Jayhawk to record a multiple-hit game in his first game since Ritchie Price had three hits in the first game of the 2003 season.

– Freshman Jimmy Waters also collected a couple of hits in the Hawaii-Hilo series, driving in a run in the series finale.

– Sophomore Brett Bollman has been a find for the Jayhawks as a right-handed set-up man. The 5-foot-9 righty has made three appearances and struck out five in four innings of work.

– Freshman Brett Bochy made two appearances in the UHH series. Bochy collected four strikeouts in three innings of work against the Vulcans.

– Junior Nick Czyz continues to move up the charts among the career leaders at KU. The third-year lefty leads the current team in career starts (23), innings pitched (126.1) and wins (eight).

– Senior Andres Esquibel earned a tough luck no-decision in the fourth game of the series after scattering six hits over five innings. The senior righty did not allow an earned run.

– Junior Sam Freeman had a spectacular debut in a Jayhawk uniform. Freeman picked up the win Sunday after allowing two runs on nine hits over six innings of work. He walked one and struck out four.

– Sophomore Wally Marciel has lived up to the billing as a freshman All-American last year. The second-year lefty was saddled with a tough-luck loss on Wednesday, allowing two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Razorbacks.

– Junior Paul Smyth picked up the save in KU’s first win of the season. His three appearances in the UHH series tie him for the conference lead with two other pitchers.

Familiar Face

Sophomore righty Brett Bollman had a successful return to Baum Stadium Wednesday evening, holding his former team scoreless in 1 1/3 innings of work.

The second-year pitcher worked out of a jam with runners on first and second in the sixth inning and then retired the side in order in the seventh for his second scoreless outing of the season.

Bollman pitched at Arkansas during the 2006 season and compiled an 0-3 mark with a 5.94 ERA in 16 2/3 innings of work. This season, he has posted five strikeouts in four innings of work.

In the Nick of Time

Sophomore Nick Faunce has been a catalyst at the top of the Jayhawk batting order. In his first year as a starter, Faunce has gotten off to a terrific start, batting .462 in his first four games, including a 2-for-4 effort Wednesday at Arkansas.

On top of that, the junior outfielder has drawn four walks, giving him a team leading .588 on-base percentage.

Unfortunately, he has been left on the bases a lot this year. He has scored just two runs despite being on base 10 times already this season.

Lights, Camera, Jayhawks

CSTV, a national cable station devoted to college athletics, announced Monday that it will broadcast Kansas’ game at Nebraska scheduled for April 20 on tape delay.

This marks the second time the Jayhawks can be seen on national television as the April 12 contest between KU and Texas Tech will be seen on Fox Sports Net.

Homeward Bound

Sophomore Wally Marciel returned to his home state of Hawaii and for the second straight season dazzled the Vulcans of Hawaii-Hilo. Marciel went six innings in his first start, allowing just five hits and one earned run, while striking out four.

In two career starts against UHH, Marciel is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched.

Last season, the 6-foot righty used his win against UHH to springboard a Freshman All-American campaign in which he went 5-3 with a 3.94 ERA.


Senior catcher Joe Southers thoroughly enjoyed his final day in the sun of Hawaii, going 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored in the series finale. He became the first Jayhawk catcher to triple in a game since Andrew Spitzfaden had a three-base hit against Oklahoma in 2006 and the first Jayhawk to collect four hits in a game since Kyle Murphy turned the trick on May 9 last season against Missouri State.

Up Next

After nine straight games on the road to open the year, the Jayhawks return to the friendly confines of Hoglund Ballpark on Wednesday, March 5 for a 3 p.m. contest against Le Moyne College.

Season Tickets on Sale

Kansas baseball season tickets are on sale now. Fans can order tickets by calling the Jayhawk ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS or by logging on to kuathletics.com.