Price Looks for Win No. 500 as KU Hosts UALR Tuesday

March 21, 2011

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Game 20

Arkansas Little Rock at Kansas

Hoglund Ballpark (2,500) – Lawrence, Kan.

Media:

– Live Video

– Game Tracker

The Kansas Jayhawks will wrap up a four-game homestand with a non-conference contest with Arkansas-Little Rock at Hoglund Ballpark. The Jayhawks and Trojans will face off for the first of two meetings during the 2011 season at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Live Video and Gametracker will be available for Tuesday’s contest at www.kuathletics.com.

Series History

Kansas has an all-time record of 7-2 against Arkansas-Little Rock, in a series which dates back to 1992. The Jayhawks won both meetings last season, which included a 9-8 come-from-behind win in Lawrence. KU is 5-0 against the Trojans under head coach Ritch Price and 4-0 all-time at Hoglund Ballpark.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas completed its first weekend of conference play with a series victory over Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks swept a doubleheader from the Cowboys on Sunday to take the three-game series. KU is 7-4 at home this season. Kansas head coach Ritch Price will be looking for win No. 500 at the Division I level in the game.

Offensively, the Jayhawks are averaging 3.3 runs per game and are batting .230. Third baseman Jake Marasco snapped a nine-game hitting streak on Sunday, but continues to lead the team with a .377 batting average with five doubles and eight RBIs.

On the mound, KU boasts a 3.38 ERA, which ranks fifth in the conference. Sophomore Tanner Poppe leads the team with a 2.22 ERA and is holding opponents to a .217 batting average.

Scouting the Trojans

Arkansas-Little Rock won a pair of one-run games against in-state rival Arkansas State over the weekend, improving to 10-9. The Trojans have won four of their last five, which includes a 7-0 win on March 13 at Oklahoma. UALR is 4-5 on the road this season.

The Trojans are batting .280 as a team and average 5.7 runs per game. Senior infielder Jason Houston leads the team with a .360 batting average, which includes six doubles and nine RBIs. Junior catcher Nick Roundtree leads the team with a pair of homers and has 11 RBIs on the season.

On the mound, UALR sports a 4.17 team ERA and is holding opponents to a .267 batting average. Senior Daniel Golden is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for the Trojans. The 6-foot-3 righty is 2-1 this season with a 4.71 ERA and has 11 walks and 11 strikeouts in 21 innings on the hill.

UALR head coach Scott Norwood is in his third year with the Trojans. He has a record of 45-59 at the school and 334-199 in 10-plus years as a collegiate head coach.

Last Time Out

Senior Jimmy Waters went 3-for-4 and drove in what proved to be the winning run, while junior Colton Murray earned his second victory of the season by pitching the final four innings as Kansas knocked off Oklahoma State, 5-4, to sweep a Big 12 doubleheader from Oklahoma State Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark. KU also won the first game, 7-2.

Kansas-UALR Connections

– Arkansas-Little Rock is the second school from the state of Arkansas that KU has faced in the last week.

– UALR seniors Jason Houston and Cameron Bentley both grew up in the Kansas City area, while pitcher Calvin Drinnen is from Haysville, Kan.

The Price is Right

With the doubleheader sweep of Oklahoma State on Sunday, Kansas head coach Ritch Price moved to 499 career victories at the Division I level. A win over the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans on Tuesday would make Price the first Kansas coach to amass 500 wins at the Division I level and the fourth current Big 12 head coach.

Price won 217 games in eight seasons as the head coach at Cal Poly in San Luis-Obispo, Calif. In eight-plus years at Kansas, Price is 282-230-2, which ranks as the second-most victories in school history.

Waters Runs Deep

Kansas left fielder Jimmy Waters, who got off to a slow start this season, broke out in a big way on Sunday against Oklahoma State. Waters recorded a three-run triple in the first game and followed that up with a three-hit performance, which included a pair of two-out RBI hits.

Waters was KU’s top returning hitter from 2010, but batted just .169 through the first 16 games of the season. Against OSU, the senior recorded his first three-hit game and a pair of multi-RBI games and went 4-for-11 at the plate with a double and a triple.

Mr. Perfect

Kansas relief pitcher Frank Duncan has been flawless in the early stages of his collegiate career. The first-year right-handed pitcher has not allowed a run in his first six appearances out of the bullpen, which spans 10 1/3 innings.

The freshman has dominated right-handed hitting allowing just three hits in 21 at bats (.143) and has walked just three to go with 11 strikeouts.

Diamond Notes

– Kansas faces Arkansas-Little Rock in a non-conference game Tuesday at Hoglund Ballpark. The Jayhawks are 17-9 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference.

– The Jayhawks have been pretty tough at home this season, sporting a 7-4 record at Hoglund Ballpark. The team is batting .274 at home and along with a 2.97 ERA.

– Kansas has been pretty good at setting the table this season. The team has had its leadoff man reach base at a .318 clip. Sophomore Jake Marasco has been the best at this, reaching base nine times in the 19 innings he’s led off (.474 on-base percentage).

– The Jayhawks’ two wins Sunday marked the second time this season that the team has swept a doubleheader. KU also took two from Southern Utah on March 1.

– Despite going 1-for-7 in the doubleheader, sophomore Jake Marasco continues to be one of the league’s leading hitters. Marasco ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a .377 batting average heading into action Tuesday.

– Kansas senior T.J. Walz ranks in the top 10 in two pitching categories. Walz is eighth in the conference in innings pitched (31.1) and eighth in strikeouts (31).

– Jayhawk closer Colton Murray ranks third in the Big 12 with four saves.

– As a team, KU ranks sixth in the league in fielding percentage (.971) and has committed the third-fewest errors (21) in the Big 12.

Oklahoma State Leftovers

– Kansas swept Sunday’s doubleheader from Oklahoma State to earn a series victory in its first Big 12 set of the season. This marks the third-straight year that KU has opened Big 12 play with a series win.

– Jimmy Waters’ three-run triple in the first game of the twinbill was KU’s first hit with the bases loaded this season. Prior to Waters’ at bat, the Jayhawks with 0-for-9 with the sacks full. Waters followed that with an RBI single in the second game with the bases loaded.

– Kansas scored all seven runs in the 7-2 triumph over Oklahoma State with two outs. The Jayhawks added three more two-out RBIs in the second game.

– Kansas starting pitcher Tanner Poppe recorded his first victory of the season. Despite a team-best 2.22 ERA, the sophomore had a no-decision and two losses to show for his first three starts.

– Freshman relief pitcher Frank Duncan recorded two more scoreless appearances in the series to run his streak to 10 1/3 innings without allowing a run.

– Senior Brandon Macias and sophomore Jake Marasco both snapped nine-game hitting streaks in the second game of the doubleheader. Senior Casey Lytle has hit safely in seven-straight games heading into Tuesday’s tilt with UALR.

– Junior Zac Elgie collected two hits in the two games against OSU Sunday. It marked the first time since April 8 and April 10, 2009 that Elgie has had multiple hits in back-to-back games.

– Junior Chris Manship’s RBI double in the second game marked his third two-base hit of the season. All three have come at Hoglund Ballpark.

– Junior Colton Murray recorded his second victory of the season after pitching the final four innings in the series finale. Murray’s two wins this season have come in the two longest outings of his career (7.0 IP at TCU on Feb. 20) and (4.0 IP vs. Oklahoma State on March 20).

Up Next

Kansas will resume Big 12 play on Friday, March 25 when the Jayhawks travel to College Station, Texas to battle seventh-ranked Texas A&M in a three-game series. The Jayhawks and Aggies will open the series Friday at 6:35 p.m., and play the second game Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Sunday’s finale is set for 1:05 p.m.