Jayhawks Travel to St. Louis for Brief Two-Game Series
March 19, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas vs. Saint Louis
After dropping back-to-back games for the first time this season, the 19th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks travel to St. Louis, Mo. this weekend to take on the Billikens of Saint Louis University in a two-game series. The brief set begins Saturday with a 1 p.m. game, and concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.
Live statistical updates will be available on Game Tracker, via www.kuathletics.com. Due to uncertain weather and facilities, there will be no audio broadcast of these games.
This will be the first meeting on the baseball field between these two schools since 1911. Kansas has won all four previous meetings in the series, which dates back to 1904. The Jayhawks are 6-0 all-time against current members of the Atlantic-10 Conference.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas is ranked as high as 19th in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Rivals.com polls after taking two of three from previously unbeaten LSU last weekend. The Jayhawks have since dropped a pair of midweek games at Tulane.
KU’s offense ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a .293 batting average and a .403 on-base percentage. The Jayhawks are averaging 7.0 runs per game. First baseman Brett Lisher leads the squad with a .404 batting average, while Jimmy Waters has a team-best three homers and 20 RBIs.
On the mound, KU ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a 3.74 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 149 innings. Opposing teams are batting .260 against the Jayhawks’ staff. Senior Cameron Selik leads the team with a 4-0 record and a team-best 2.49 ERA.
Scouting the Billikens
Saint Louis enters the weekend set against KU at .500, having split midweek games with Indiana State (falling 14-9) and Evansville (winning 8-7). The Billikens are currently fourth in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
The offense sports a .317 team batting average, and a .415 on-base percentage. SLU has hit 26 home runs this season, and is averaging 8.1 runs per game. Senior first baseman Danny Brock leads the team with a .388 batting average, nine homers and 30 RBIs. Junior infielder Jon Myers is batting .367 with seven doubles, seven homers and 24 RBIs.
The Jayhawks will face staff ace Bryant Cotton and sophomore righty Jerry Mancuso this weekend. Cotton has put up impressive numbers, recording a 3-1 record with 27 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings, while Mancuso comes in at 1-1 with just five walks in 18 innings pitched.
SLU returns 18 players and seven position starters from last year’s squad, which finished 30-25 and placed seventh in the A-10. Head Coach Darin Hendrickson is 63-63 in two-plus seasons with the Billikens.
Last Time Out
Despite three hits from left fielder Jimmy Waters, the 19th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks bowed for the second time in as many days to Tulane, falling 5-3 Wednesday at Turchin Stadium.
Senior right-handed pitcher Cameron Selik gutted through six innings against LSU on Sunday to earn his fourth victory of the season in four starts. Selik allowed a season-high four runs on six hits, but kept his team in the game after surrendering three runs in the first two innings.
He became the first Jayhawk to win his first four starts of the season since Pete Smart started the 2001 season with six consecutive victories. Selik’s four wins are tied for second in the conference, while his 2.49 ERA ranks 12th in the Big 12.
Can You Heere Now?
Junior outfielder Brian Heere has now hit safely in nine consecutive games, including multiple hits in four of those contests. The Kansas center fielder got off to a slow start, just as he did in 2009, but has raised his batting average by exactly 100 points (from .250 to .350) during the nine-game streak.
Heere has excelled in pressure situations, collecting three hits in the LSU series when he faced a two-strike count, and is batting .533 (8-for-15) when he hits with men on base this year.
Waters Runs Deep
Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters recorded a three-hit game against Tulane on Wednesday afternoon, nearly leading the Jayhawks to a win. Waters doubled with two outs in the eighth inning and scored the go-ahead run.
The three-hit breakout came after the junior missed a pair of games in the LSU series due to an injury.
The junior has gotten out to an amazing start this season, batting .367 with team highs in runs scored (20), homers (three) and RBIs (20). He should benefit greatly when preseason All-American Tony Thompson returns to the lineup next week.
Kansas Sweeps Big 12 Weekly Awards
Kansas junior outfielder Casey Lytle and junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy have been named Big 12 Player and Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 15. This marks the first time each student-athlete has been selected to the conference’s weekly awards list.
Lytle hit .538 (7-for-13) against then-No. 1 LSU last weekend, including four doubles and scored six runs. Bochy collected two saves against the defending national champs, allowing no runs and no hits over 3 2/3 innings.
KU hasn’t swept the Big 12 weekly awards since Feb. 14, 2006, when Gus Milner and Don Czyz were the conference’s player/pitcher of the week recipients.
Kansas Baseball Moves Back into Top 25
Following the team’s series victory at previously unbeaten Louisiana State, the Kansas baseball team finds itself ranked as high as No. 19 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Rivals.com polls. This marks the third week this season that KU has been ranked in the Top 25 in at least one national poll, and its highest ranking since 2003.
Kansas is also ranked No. 27 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association poll, and is receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll.
Four On the Floor
Four-hit games have become common in the early part of the season for the Jayhawks this year. Three different Kansas hitters have recorded four-hit performances this season, including Brett Lisher and Jake Marasco against Iowa on March 6 and 7.
Sophomore catcher Chris Manship started the four-hit party with a 4-for-4 night against Sacramento State on Feb. 27.
Lisher and Marasco followed with four-hit games against the Hawkeyes. Prior to this season, none of the three players had as many as two hits in a single game. KU players had just seven games with four hits or more all of last year.
All About Quality
Kansas starting pitchers have recorded quality starts in nine of the team’s first 17 games this season, going at least six innings and allowing three runs or less. Senior Cameron Selik and junior T.J. Walz have three quality starts each, while senior Brett Bollman allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings against No. 1 LSU for his second quality start of the year.
Last season, Jayhawk starters collected 22 quality starts and earned wins in 17 of those games. Walz led the staff with seven quality starts in 2009.
Around the Horn
– Kansas travels to Saint Louis University this weekend, renewing a series which hasn’t been played since 1911.
– The two-game series marks the only time this season that Kansas is not scheduled to play on a Friday. However, the Jayhawks have been 3-1 in Saturday games, and 2-0 in Sunday affairs this season.
– KU took two in a three-game series against then-No. 1 LSU, marking the second-straight year the Jayhawks have defeated a top-ranked team.
– Jumping out to an early lead has been KU’s M.O. this season. The Jayhawks have outscored their opposition 57-16 in the first three innings of a game this year, including 22-3 in the second inning of games. On March 12 against LSU, KU scored six runs in the second inning en route to an 11-9 victory.
– Freshman Alex DeLeon hit his first collegiate home run March 10 against Tabor College. The freshman catcher went hitless in his first 14 at bats, but has two hits in his last five at bats.
– Kansas catcher Chris Manship enjoyed a productive series against LSU. The sophomore batted .333 (4-for-12) against the Tigers with a pair of RBIs. Due to an injury to Jimmy Waters early in the series, Manship was moved up to cleanup in the batting order, and produced run-scoring hits in each of the last two games of the series.
– Senior Brett Lisher continues to produce from the No. 5 spot in the batting order. Lisher leads the team in batting average (.404), and has hit .400 (10-for-25) with runners in scoring position.
– Senior Robby Price got back on track last week, hitting safely in six of his last eight games. The senior second baseman recorded multiple hits in three of those games, including a 3-for-5 effort on March 14 at LSU.
– Sophomore James Stanfield has been tough with two outs in an inning. The catcher/third baseman is batting .333 (6-for-18) with two outs in an inning.
– Junior Brandon Macias has picked up his offense in the last week. Since going 0-for-3 in the March 6 game against Iowa, the junior shortstop has raised his batting average by 71 points, going 7-for-25 in KU’s last eight games.
– Junior Jimmy Waters continues to put up impressive numbers. He currently ranks fourth in the Big 12 in runs scored (20), tied for sixth in RBIs (20) and tied for third in walks (14).
– Sophomore Jason Brunansky tallied his second three-hit game of the season on March 5 against Iowa. In 53 games last year, Brunansky had nine multiple-hit contests; while this year he has three in just nine starts.
– Center fielder Brian Heere has been nearly even against left-handed and right-handed pitching. Heere is batting .333 vs. lefties (8-for-24), and .361 against right-handers (13-for-36).
– Right fielder Casey Lytle recorded multiple hit games in all three contests against previously No. 1-ranked LSU last weekend. The junior is tied for fifth on the team with four multi-hit games this season.
– Junior pitcher T.J. Walz earned the win over No. 1 LSU Friday for his seventh career victory over a Top 25 opponent. Walz led the team last year, defeating nationally ranked Arizona State (No. 4), Baylor (No. 9), Oklahoma State (No. 17), Oklahoma (No. 11) and Kansas State (No. 9).
– Senior Cameron Selik battled shoulder issues to pick up his fourth win of the season Sunday at LSU. Dating back to last year’s NCAA Tournament, Selik has won his last five starts and has posted a 2.25 ERA in those five starts with 12 walks and 20 strikeouts.
– Senior right-handed pitcher Brett Bollman recorded his third quality start of the season, but suffered defeat against LSU last weekend. Bollman allowed just three runs over 6 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
– Freshman Tanner Poppe took a tough-luck loss at Tulane on Tuesday, allowing an unearned run on seven hits over six innings. It was the freshman’s longest outing this season.
– Redshirt freshman Thomas Taylor received a no-decision, but pitched well in his start at Tulane on Wednesday. The freshman pitched a season-high five innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
– Senior Travis Blankenship made a scoreless appearance March 14 at LSU, earning a hold. Blankenship entered the game with a two-run lead and allowed no runs on two hits over 1 2/3 innings.
– Junior Brett Bochy has been the Jayhawks’ top relief pitcher this year, holding opponents to an .083 batting average with 21 strikeouts in 11 innings.
– Junior Scott Heitshusen made his first appearance in a Kansas uniform March 9, pitching a scoreless eighth inning against Saint Mary.
– Redshirt freshman Jordan Jakubov pitched two scoreless innings March 9 against Saint Mary. Jakubov recoreded three strikeouts in his outing.
– Junior Matt Kohorst made his third-straight scoreless relief appearance March 10, allowing no runs on one hit to Tabor.
– Sophomore right-handed pitcher Colton Murray has bounced back from a rough start to the year by recording three-consecutive scoreless outings. After allowing three runs in an inning to Iowa on March 7, Murray has cut his ERA in half, allowing no runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Kansas will return home after its seven-game road swing to host Creighton on Tuesday, March 23 at 3 p.m., and Baker on Wednesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. The Creighton game will be carried via audio webcast at www.kuathletics.com.