Kansas Opens Series with Eastern Michigan Friday

March 10, 2011

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Games 13-15
Eastern Michigan at Kansas
March 11-13 – Hoglund Ballpark (2,500)


Friday, March 11

  • Live Video
  • Live Audio
  • Gametracker

Saturday, March 12

  • Live Video
  • Gametracker

Sunday, March 13

Winners of two-straight, the Kansas Jayhawks will host Eastern Michigan in a three-game non-conference series at Hoglund Ballpark. The Jayhawks and Eagles will open the set on Friday, March 11 at 3 p.m., and conclude the series with games Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Live video from all three games will be available on Jayhawks All-Access at www.kuathletics.com for a subscription fee. Audio from Friday’s game is available via web cast at www.kuathletics.com with Tom Hedrick calling the action. Sunday’s finale will be the first of 30 games carried on KLWN (1320 AM) with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick on the call.

Series History

Kansas and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the second-straight season. The teams split a doubleheader at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., to open the 2010 season. The Jayhawks are 4-2 all-time against EMU, including 3-1 in games played in Lawrence.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas enters the weekend at 6-6, including 4-1 at home this season. The Jayhawks have won two-straight with triumphs over Air Force (4-1) on March 6 and North Dakota (5-3) on Wednesday.

KU is batting .198 as a team and is averaging 2.9 runs per game. Sophomore Jake Marasco leads the team with a .390 batting average and a .572 slugging percentage. On the mound, the Jayhawks have a 2.99 ERA and senior Wally Marciel leading the way with a 2-1 record and a 1.89 ERA in three starts.

Scouting the Eagles

Eastern Michigan enters the weekend at 7-5 after winning six of its last seven. The Eagles most recently won two out of three games at the Riverview Inn Classic in Clarksville, Tenn.

The Eagles are batting .280 as a team with five homers and are averaging 6.8 runs per game. Senior infielder Zack Leonard leads the team with a .400 batting average with six doubles and a .600 slugging percentage. Junior outfielder Brent Ohrman is batting .314 with a team-best 13 RBIs this season.

EMU’s pitching staff has a 6.26 ERA and has recorded 62 strikeouts in 102 innings. KU will face left-handed pitcher Rob Windzicki on Friday and righty Steve Weber on Saturday. Windzicki is 0-1 with a 6.91 ERA after taking a no-decision against Austin Peay last Friday.

Head coach Jay Alexander is in his third season at EMU and owns a record of 52-67 at the school. Alexander led the Eagles to a 27-32 record last year, finishing fourth in the MAC.

Last Time Out

Sophomore catcher Alex DeLeon homered and drove in three runs, while sophomore pitcher Thomas Taylor scattered a run and five hits over 5 2/3 innings as Kansas got back to .500 with a 5-3 triumph over North Dakota Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

Start Me Up

Kansas’ starting pitching has been dominant this season. The Jayhawk starters have gone 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA while holding their opposition to a .237 batting average. KU’s starters have held their opponents to three runs or less in 10 of the team’s 12 games this year.

More impressively, KU starters have gone six innings or more in six of the team’s first 12 games of the season and have five quality starts among them. Weekend starting pitchers Tanner Poppe (1.65) and Wally Marciel (1.89) are both in the top 20 in the Big 12 in ERA, while senior T.J. Walz has a 3.29 ERA since a rough opening-night start at TCU.

Hot Hitter

Kansas catcher Alex DeLeon has provided some punch near the bottom of the lineup recently. Over his last three games, DeLeon is 4-for-9 with a pair of homers and six RBIs. The sophomore catcher hit a three-run homer against No. 7 Arizona State on March 5 and a solo homer against North Dakota Wednesday.

DeLeon came to Kansas last season as a highly-touted prospect and is starting to live up to his potential.

Jake the Snake

While KU’s offense has struggled this season, sophomore third baseman Jake Marasco seems immune to the team’s early season slump. The redshirt-sophomore ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .390 batting average and is near the conference’s top 10 in slugging percentage (.537) and on-base percentage (.468).

It’s been a long road back for Marasco, who missed all but 13 games as a freshman after breaking his foot early in the season. He also missed several games last year due to the death of his mother, Carol.

Colton 45

Jayhawk closer Colton Murray has been a sharp-shooter early in the season for KU. The junior has a decision in all four of his appearances, recording three saves and a victory over then-No. 1 TCU.

The biggest difference in the junior reliever from this season to last year has been his ability to control the strike zone. Murray has allowed just one walk in 12 innings on the hill, compared to 17 walks in 31 2/3 innings last year.

The Price is Right

Kansas head coach Ritch Price is closing in on a career milestone. The Jayhawk skipper enters the weekend with 496 career wins at the NCAA Division I level. He would become the first Kansas coach and the fourth coach in the Big 12 to amass 500 victories.

Diamond Notes

– Kansas will take on Eastern Michigan for the second year in a row. The Jayhawks are 16-11 all-time against current members of the Mid American Conference (MAC).

– Kansas head coach Ritch Price and EMU head coach Jay Alexander have worked together at several baseball camps throughout the years. Alexander has been a guest coach at Price’s All-Star Camp the last eight summers. Price calls Alexander “One of the finest young coaches in America.”

– Kansas has once again been tough to beat at Hoglund Ballpark this season. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Jayhawks are 62-20-1 (.753) at home, including 39-3 (.929) against non-conference foes.

– Despite a low batting average this season, Kansas has still found ways to reach base. KU players have been walked 40 times and have also been hit by pitch 18 times through 12 games this year for a .303 on-base percentage.

– Kansas is running a lot more than in previous years. The Jayhawks have 15 stolen bases through the first 12 games. Last season, the Jayhawks did not swipe their 15th base until April 3, 29 games into the season.

– Jayhawk pitching has done a great job of pitching in clutch situations this season. KU has held opponents to a .230 batting average with men on base and a .223 average with two outs in an inning.

– KU’s game with No. 7 Arizona State on March 5 was the team’s fourth contest against an opponent ranked in the Top 25. The rest of the Big 12 Conference has played a combined 15 games against ranked opponents.

– While KU’s pitching has been good this season, it’s been even better at home. The Jayhawks have recorded a 1.76 ERA and allowed a .213 batting average in their five games at Hoglund Ballpark this season.

– The Jayhawks have allowed just three home runs this season, which is tied for the second-fewest in the Big 12.

North Dakota Game Leftovers

– Kansas recorded a season-high 11 hits against the Fighting Sioux Wednesday. Eight of the nine starters in the lineup recorded at least one hit.

– Sophomore catcher Alex DeLeon recorded his second-straight multi-RBI game against UND, knocking in runs on a solo homer and two sacrifice flies.

– Senior shortstop Brandon Macias has shown signs of breaking out of his early season slump. Over his last three games, Macias is 5-for-10 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

– Sophomore Jake Marasco continues to hit at a torrid pace. The KU third baseman recorded his fifth multi-hit game of season after having just seven multi-hit contests in all of 2010.

– Sophomore pitcher Thomas Taylor allowed no walks and recorded seven strikeouts Wednesday. Since March 30 of last year, Taylor has started seven games and allowed just two walks in 29 1/3 innings in those games.

– Junior closer Colton Murray earned his third save of the season, retiring all four men he faced. Murray has allowed just one walk and two extra base hits in 12 innings this year.

Up Next
Kansas will hit the road for its annual trip to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Audio from this game will be available at www.kuathletics.com.