Jayhawks Return Home to Face Creighton Tuesday Night
March 22, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas vs. Creighton
The Kansas Jayhawks will look to snap a four-game losing streak on Tuesday when they play host to Creighton in the team’s first home contest in nearly two weeks. The Jayhawks and Bluejays will meet at 6 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.
Tuesday’s game will be broadcast via live audio webcast at www.kuathletics.com with veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick calling the action.
This will be the 27th all-time meeting between the programs, with Creighton leading the all-time series 17-9, including 10-5 in games played in Lawrence. However, KU has won three-straight games in the series, dating back to 2004, including a 7-6 extra innings win at Rosenblatt Stadium last season.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas has lost four-straight games for the first time since the end of the 2008 season. The four-game losing streak has come on the heels of a series victory at then-No. 1 LSU March 12-14.
KU’s offense ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .302 batting average. The Jayhawks are averaging 6.9 runs per game. First baseman Brett Lisher leads the squad with a .393 batting average, while Jimmy Waters has a team-best three homers and 20 RBIs.
On the mound, KU ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a 4.47 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 165 innings. Opposing teams are batting .268 against the Jayhawks’ staff. Senior Cameron Selik leads the team with a 4-1 record and a team-best 4.02 ERA.
Scouting the Bluejays
Creighton enters the midweek battle with Kansas on a roll, having won five of its last six, including a 7-4 win at Kansas State last Tuesday. The Bluejays have yet to play a home game this season, but have gone 6-1 in true road contests.
The Jays have boasted a prolific offense this season, batting .308 and scoring 8.4 runs per game. Junior infielder Trevor Adams leads the team with a .408 batting average with three homers and a team-best 19 RBIs. Senior outfielder Robbie Knight is batting .385 with a team-best .458 on-base percentage and three stolen bases.
On the mound, Creighton has posted a team ERA of 5.21, while opponents are hitting .288 against the Jays. Kansas will face freshman left-handed pitcher Ty Blach. He will be making his second start, after receiving no decision against Harvard on March 14. He has recorded 10 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings this season.
Creighton was picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference behind favorite Wichita State and Missouri State.
Last Time Out
Despite a pair of three-hit games by junior Brian Heere, the 19th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks were swept in a non-conference doubleheader by Saint Louis University, 12-8 and 8-5, Saturday at the Billiken Sports Center.
We’re Going Streaking
Junior outfielder Brian Heere and redshirt freshman Jake Marasco will both bring career-best hitting streaks into the week. Heere has hit safely in 11 consecutive games, dating back to a March 6 game against Iowa.
During his hitting streak, Heere is batting .500 (20-for-40) with four doubles, two triples and a homer. The junior center fielder also has six multi-hit games during his hitting streak.
Marasco has hit safely in all but one game this season, including a four-hit contest against Iowa on March 7. Since going hitless in the first game of the season, the freshman infielder has hit .481 (13-for-27) with six doubles.
Junior third baseman Tony Thompson hit safely in the final 20 games of 2009, but has not played yet this season.
After missing the first 19 games of the season, junior third baseman Tony Thompson is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday against Creighton. Thompson was injured on Feb. 5 when he fouled a pitch off his knee in practice.
The junior third baseman was the Big 12 Triple Crown winner in 2009, leading the league in batting average (.389), home runs (21) and RBIs (82). He was selected as a preseason All-American by four different publications as well as the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.
Kansas junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy recorded another scoreless appearance Saturday against Saint Louis. Bochy has allowed just two runs in eight relief appearances this season, as well as three hits.
Bochy leads the team with three saves this season, and has just one blown save. His 18.25 strikeouts per nine innings is the best rate in the Big 12 this season.
Since a rough outing against Baylor on April 5 last season, Bochy has been nearly unhittable. In his last 23 appearances, the junior has a 4-0 record with a 1.49 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings pitched.
Home Sweet Home
Perhaps returning to the friendly confines of Hoglund Ballpark is just what the Jayhawks need to get back on the winning track. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, KU has gone 49-11 (.817) at home, including 30-2 against non-conference foes at home.
This season, the Jayhawks have produced a 5-1 record at home and have outscored their six opponents by a 59-17 margin. As a team, KU is batting .348 at home, while allowing opponents a .250 batting average.
Senior Brett Lisher has been the team’s top hitter in home contests, batting .500 (9-for-18) this season.
Around the Horn
– Kansas returns to Hoglund Ballpark after 13 days on the road. The Jayhawks went 2-5 on the trip, which included a pair of wins at LSU.
– The Jayhawks will face a left-handed starter on Tuesday, Creighton’s Ty Blach. KU is 5-1 this season against left-handed starters, batting .332 against southpaws.
– After claiming victory at LSU on March 14, the Jayhawks have droppd four-straight. This marks the team’s longest losing streak since the final four games of the 2008 season.
– KU took two in a three-game series against then-No. 1 LSU March 12-14, marking the second-straight year the Jayhawks have defeated a top-ranked team. In 2009, KU swept a three-game series from then-No. 1 Texas.
– Jumping out to an early lead has been KU’s M.O. this season. The Jayhawks have outscored their opposition 63-19 in the first three innings of a game this year, including 27-3 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.
– Sophomore Jason Brunansky hit his first home run of the season on March 10 against Saint Mary. The second-year outfielder has four career home runs, including a three-run shot at Creighton last season.
– 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.
– Freshman Jordan Dreiling collected a pinch hit single in the the eighth inning Saturday against Saint Louis.
– Center fielder Brian Heere continues to produce. He hit .667 (6-for-9) in the doubleheader against Saint Louis with his second triple of the season.
– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher went 3-for-9 in the series with Saint Louis, producing three RBIs. Lisher’s 17 RBIs are tied for second-most on the team. He also leads the team with seven two-out RBIs.
– Right fielder Casey Lytle collected his first home run of the season on Saturday against Saint Louis. It marked Lytle’s eighth extra base hit this year (seven doubles, one homer), which matches his total from all of last season.
– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias has hit safely in each of his last three games. While he hasn’t hit for a high average, he has made productive outs. He is second on the team with 11 outs which have advanced runners this season.
– Kansas catcher Chris Manship came off the bench in the second game against Saint Louis on Saturday to collect a one-out double in the seventh inning. Manship leads the team with a .400 batting average in a pinch hitting role this season.
– Kansas freshman Jake Marasco returned to the lineup against Saint Louis Saturday and produced a pair of hits, including a pinch hit double in the second game. Marasco has hit safely in all but one game he’s played this year.
– Senior second baseman Robby Price has been a good hitter in the clutch for KU this season, batting .333 (12-for-36) with men on base and .455 (10-for-22) with runners in scoring position.
– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield has hit well when leading off an inning. The KU backstop has reached base 5-of-11 times when he leads off an inning, which included an eighth inning walk against Saint Louis on Saturday in which he came around to score.
– Junior left fielder Jimmy Waters has been just about even against both right and left-handed pitching. The KU outfielder is batting .361 (13-for-36) with four doubles and a triple against righties, and .364 (8-for-22) with three homers against left-handers.
– Senior relief pitcher Travis Blankenship made his 11th appearance of the spring on Saturday against Saint Louis, and allowed no runs on a hit with one strikeout. Blankenship is tied for fourth in the Big 12 in appearances.
– Junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy has allowed just one hit this season with runners on base (1-for-17). He has also allowed just 15 balls to be put into play to go against 25 strikeouts.
– Senior right-handed pitcher Brett Bollman has given up six hits in 33 at bats (.182) when he gets two strikes on the hitter. The senior pitcher has also allowed just one hit when he is ahead in the count.
– Redshirt sophomore relief pitcher Jordan Jakubov pitched a pair of scoreless innings on March 9 against Saint Mary. The redshirt sophomore missed two straight college seasons due to Tommy John surgery in 2008.
– Junior relief pitcher Matt Kohorst has been a stopper out of the bullpen, retiring nine of the 11 men he’s faced this season.
– Junior left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel recorded his sixth scoreless appearance of the season on Saturday against Saint Louis. The junior lefty has allowed just four hits in 18 at bats (.222) with men on base this season.
– Freshman Tanner Poppe recorded his best start of the season on March 16 against Tulane. The first-year righty held the Green Wave to one unearned run on seven hits over six innings. Since a rough outing at Arkansas on March 2, Poppe has allowed just one earned run over his last four appearances, spanning 12 innings.
– Senior Cameron Selik suffered his first defeat on Saturday against Saint Louis. Selik had won his first four starts of the season, becoming the first pitcher to do this since Pete Smart earned wins in his first six starts in 2001.
– Freshman Thomas Taylor received no decision after his longest outing of the season on March 17 at Tulane. The first-year righty allowed two runs on six hits over five innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
– Junior T.J. Walz suffered his first loss since opening day on Saturday against Saint Louis, allowing a season-high eight runs over 6 1/3 innings. Walz has lost back-to-back starts just once in his career.
Kansas will face Baker University on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in its final non-conference tune up before opening Big 12 play at Baylor over the weekend. Admission to KU’s game Wednesday will be free of charge.