25th-Ranked Jayhawks Open Big 12 Baseball Play at #18 Baylor
March 15, 2006
Matchup: #25 Kansas (15-6) at #18 Baylor (12-5)
Friday, March 17, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, 1 p.m.
Location: Waco, Texas
Stadium: Baylor Ballpark
Internet: GameTracker at KUathletics.com
Radio: Listen to Baylor’s audio stream for free here
Series: Baylor leads 3-29
KU Coach: Ritch Price (12th season, 4th at Kansas)
Record: 334-321-2, 117-93-1 at KU
CU Coach: Steve Smith (12th season overall and at Baylor)
Record: 430-263-1 overall and at BU
KU has won nine of its last 11 games
Baylor has lost two games in a row
Friday’s Starting Pitchers
Sean Land, LHP, Jr.
Ryan LaMotta, RHP, Sr.
Saturday’s Starting Pitchers
Ricky Fairchild, RHP, Sr.
Cory VanAllen, LHP, Jr.
Sunday’s Starting Pitchers
Kodiak Quick, RHP, Sr.
Tim Matthews, RHP, So.
The 25th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks will open its Big 12 schedule against 2005 conference champion Baylor in Waco, Texas, beginning Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. KU and the 18th-ranked Bears will play the second game of a three game series on Saturday at 1 p.m., with the finale scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
-For the second straight week, KU was ranked 25th by Baseball America. KU is receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and ESPN/Sports Weekly polls.
-KU is 1-2 in its Big 12 opener under Ritch Price and 3-6 all-time in Big 12 opening games.
-The Jayhawks were 4-8 in Big 12 road games last season.
-Senior Ritchie Price is three at-bats away from setting a new school record for at-bats in a career (826).
-As of Wednesday, senior closer Don Czyz led the NCAA with eight saves. Czyz is one save ahead of Link Saunders of The Citadel and Elliott Cribby of Washington.
-KU opens the season with 24 of its first 29 games on the road.
-10 of the Jayhawks 15 wins have been come-from-behind victories.
-Kansas was five-outs away from winning the series against #2 Clemson last weekend. After KU won the second game of the series, 6-5, the Tigers rallied to win the finale, 5-4, on Sunday.
A Look at Baylor
Fresh off a 2005 trip to the College World Series and Big 12 regular season championship, the Bears enter the weekend ranked 18th in the nation with a record of 12-5. Before losing its last two games, Baylor was on a five-game winning streak that included two victories at national power Long Beach State. BU won all four meeting with the Jayhawks last season.
The Bears ace pitcher is Ryan LaMotta. The senior closed out seven ball games last year out of the bullpen for BU and enters the weekend with a 2-2 record. Offensively, Baylor is led by catcher Zach Dillion (.340, 2 HR, 13 RBI) and outfielder Seth Fortenberry (.321, 3 3B, 13 RBI). As a team, BU is hitting .277 while its pitching staff carries a team ERA of 3.24.
KU and BU last met in the first round of the 2005 Big 12 Championship. Kodiak Quick tied a career-high with eight strikeouts and held then No. 13 Baylor to only one run through nine innings. Baylor pushed across the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning to down the Jayhawks, 2-1. BU’s Ryan LaMotta replaced starter Mark McCormick with two outs in the first inning and kept KU off the scoreboard for 8.1 innings while striking out eight.
Senior Don Czyz has been untouchable out of the bullpen this season for the Jayhawks. The Overland Park, Kan., native has recorded saves in eight of KU’s first 15 victories. Czyz’s eight saves is tops in the Big 12. Below is a closer look at Czyz’s saves to date.
-Allowed 1 hit or less in all 8 saves.
-Has pitched more than an inning in 4 of his 6 saves.
-Recorded 15 strikeouts in 12 innings during his 8 save opportunities.
Tough Road Trip
The Jayhawks are in the middle of a tough 10-game road trip. All four teams KU has or will face during the trip reached the 2005 NCAA Tournament (Clemson, Baylor, Creighton and Nebraska). Baylor and Nebraska reached the College World Series and Clemson lost to Baylor in the Super Regionals.