Kansas Baseball Hosts Western Illinois in Home Opening Series

March 2, 2006


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Matchup: Western Illinois (2-6) at Kansas (10-4)
Friday, March 3, 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 4, 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 5, 1 p.m.
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Stadium: Hogland Ballpark
Capacity: 2,500
Internet: GameTracker at KUathletics.com
Radio: 1320 AM KLWN
Series: KU leads series 9-0
KU Coach: Ritch Price (12th season, 4th at Kansas)
Record: 329-319-2, 112-91-1 at KU
WIU Coach: Stan Hyman (14th season, 5th at Western Illinois)
Record: 270-259-1, 92-153 at WIU
KU has won four straight
WIU has lost six straight

Leading Off
The University of Kansas (10-4) baseball team will play its first game of the season at Hogland Ballpark on Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. KU will play host to Western Illinois (2-6) after starting the season with 14-consecutive road games. The Jayhawks and Leathernecks will continue their three game series at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Quick Hits
-Kansas is 3-0 in home openers under Ritch Price and 40-8 at Hogland Ballpark.

-The Jayhawks are receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll (NCBWA).

-All nine games of the Jayhawk-Leatherneck series have taken place during the Ritch Price era.

-Senior Ritchie Price’s has moved into second place all-time with 795 career at bats.

-Senior Don Czyz made his 100th career appearance Sunday at Vanderbilt.

-Ritchie Price recorded his 200th career start last Saturday at Lipscomb.

-After hosting Baker on Wednesday, March 8, the Jayhawks will hit the road again for 10 straight road games. All 10 games will be against 2005 NCAA Tournament teams (Clemson, Baylor, Creighton and Nebraska).

A Look at Western Illinois
When the Leathernecks come to Lawrence this weekend, it will be their third straight three-game series against Big 12 teams. Western Illinois has been swept at Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State the last two weekends after opening the season with two wins at Alabama State. WIU’s bats have been held to a .227 team batting average while its pitching staff carries an 8.72 ERA into the weekend. Two-way player Ryan Schmidgall is WIU’s leading hitter with a .370 average. Schmidgall will take the mound for his first start of the season on Saturday.

`Hawks on the Airwaves
Friday’s Western Illinois game will mark the first of 33 Jayhawk baseball games carried on KLWN (1320 AM) this season. Brian Hanni and Jud Easterday will return to the booth to call the action.

Road Trip by the Numbers
The Jayhawks started the season with 14 consecutive road games. KU finished the road trip with an impressive 10-4 record including winning two of three games at No. 8 Stanford. Below is a look at KU’s 14 straight road games by the numbers:
14,602 frequent flier miles accumulated
13 nights in a hotel
7 different airports used
10-4 KU’s record
2-2 record against top 10 teams
28 runs KU outscored its opponents by
15 home runs hit by KU
7 different stadiums the Jayhawks played in
6 games saved by Don Czyz

Senior Ritchie Price is approaching a momentous milestone. Saturday’s game against the Leathernecks will marks Price’s 200th consecutive start at shortstop for the Jayhawks. Price has been penciled into the lineup for every KU game since Feb. 8, 2003. After starting the Jayhawks first three games of the 2003 campaign, Price broke his nose in a collision forcing him to miss the final three games of KU’s series at Hawaii-Hilo. Price returned for the Jayhawks 7-4 extra inning victory over Arkansas-Little Rock and has not missed a game since.

Senior Don Czyz has been untouchable out of the bullpen this season for the Jayhawks. The Overland Park, Kan., native has recorded saves in six of KU’s first 10 victories. Czyz’s six saves is tops in the Big 12. Below is a closer look at Czyz’s saves to date.
Allowed one hit or less in all six saves.
Has pitched more than an inning in three of his six saves.
Recorded 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings during six save opportunities.

A Stanford Stunner
The Jayhawks opened eyes around the country by winning their series at No. 8 Stanford, Feb. 10-12. KU defeated the Cardinal 8-2 on Friday and 5-4 on Saturday before dropping the final game 8-3 on Sunday. Senior Gus Milner carried KU offensively during the weekend hitting .538 (7-for-13) with two home runs and seven RBI. Senior Don Czyz set a new Kansas school record when he recorded his 14th career save in KU’s victory on Friday. Czyz picked up his 15th career save and third of the season in Saturday’s victory. Junior Sean Land picked up his second victory of the season in Friday’s series opener pitching 7.0 innings pitched while striking out four batters and only allowing three hits. Senior Ricky Fairchild earned the victory on Saturday throwing 5 1/3 innings, KU used five pitchers out of the bullpen and did not allow a hit in the final 3 2/3 innings.