Jayhawks Hit the Road to Face No. 6 Texas A&M This Weekend

March 24, 2011

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Games 21-23

Kansas at #6 Texas A&M

March 25-27, 2011

Olsen Field (7,052) – College Station, Texas


Friday, March 25

  • Live Audio
  • Gametracker

Saturday, March 26

  • Live Audio
  • Gametracker

Sunday, March 27

  • Live Audio
  • Gametracker

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Kansas Jayhawks will hit the road for the first time during conference play to face No. 6 Texas A&M in College Station, Texas this weekend. The Jayhawks and Aggies will open the series Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Olsen Field and play Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m. to complete the series.

All three games will feature a free audio webcast at www.kuathletics.com with Tom Hedrick calling the action.

Series History

Friday’s game will be the 60th all-time meeting between KU and Texas A&M on the baseball diamond in a series which dates back to 1906. The Aggies lead the all-time series, 43-15 with one tie. The Jayhawks are 5-25 in College Station and have lost four straight at Olsen Field dating back to 2007. Kansas head coach Ritch Price is 7-16-1 against Texas A&M in his career.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas recorded its third three-game winning streak of the season with a doubleheader sweep of Oklahoma State on March 20 and a 5-3 win over UALR Tuesday. The win Tuesday was the 500th in the career of head coach Ritch Price at the Division I level.

As a team, Kansas is batting .231 and averaging 3.4 runs per game. Sophomore third baseman Jake Marasco leads the team with a .356 batting average and is reaching base at a .413 clip. The Jayhawks have a 3.36 team ERA, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. Sophomore Tanner Poppe leads the starters with a 2.22 ERA in four starts.

Scouting the Aggies

Texas A&M enters the weekend series with Kansas ranked No. 6 in the country according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The Aggies are ranked in the top 10 in the three other major polls as well following a series win at then-No. 3 Oklahoma last weekend. Texas A&M is 13-2 at home this season.

Texas A&M is batting .292 as a team and is averaging 6.2 runs per game. Sophomore outfielder Tyler Naquin leads the team with a .378 batting average and has four triples and a .585 slugging percentage. Junior Jacob House is tied for the team lead with two homers and has 17 RBIs to go along with a .349 batting average.

Kansas will face a trio of hard-throwing righties from a pitching staff that has a team ERA of 1.79, which leads the Big 12. Junior John Stilson is the ace of the staff, posting 39 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings on the mound, while Michael Wacha and Ross Stripling have a combined record of 7-2 and both have sub-1.00 ERAs. A&M closer Joaquin Hinojosa is 1-0 with an 0.69 ERA and three saves this season.

Head coach Rob Childress is 199-113-2 in five-plus seasons at Texas A&M. Childress has led the Aggies to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances including trips to the Super Regionals in 2008 and 2009.

Last Time Out

Kansas head coach Ritch Price earned his 500th win at the Division I level Tuesday evening as the Jayhawks downed Arkansas-Little Rock, 5-3 at Hoglund Ballpark.

Kansas-Texas A&M Connections

– Kansas has three players on its roster from the state of Texas: redshirt Alex Harris (Murphy), outfielder Taylor Hart (Jasper) and relief pitcher Tyler Smith (Cypress).

– Kansas relief pitcher Nolan Mansfield is from Voorhees, N.J., while Texas A&M infielder Andrew Collazo is from Paterson, N.J.

– Texas A&M media relations contact Adam Quisenberry is a former intern at the University of Kansas. Quisenberry worked with the Kansas baseball program during the 2005 season.

The Price is Right

Kansas head coach Ritch Price became the first Jayhawk coach, and fourth active coach in the Big 12 to amass 500 career victories at the Division I level on Tuesday with a 5-3 win over UALR.

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 283-230-2, which ranks as the second-most victories in school history.

Casey at the Bat

One reason for KU’s increase in offensive production as of late has been the emergence of senior right fielder Casey Lytle. Lytle is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, which included a single and an RBI against UALR Tuesday night.

Like many of KU’s veteran hitters, Lytle got off to a slow start this season, but has come on as of late. During the streak, the senior is batting .333 and has reached base at a .378 clip.

Zac Attack

Kansas first baseman Zac Elgie has found his stroke recently, after a slow start. The junior has collected six hits in KU’s last three games, including a two-hit, two-RBI effort against Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday.

The biggest key for Elgie has been his ability to lay off pitches early in the at bat. The junior is 6-for-13 (.461) this season with two doubles and a homer when he faces a two-strike count. Since the team returned from Arizona on March 6, Elgie has raised his batting average 50 points (from .231 to .281).

Mr. Perfect

Freshman relief pitcher Frank Duncan continues to toss up zeroes on the scoreboard. The first-year right-handed pitcher picked up his first career save Tuesday against UALR by retiring the side in the ninth on just nine pitches.

Duncan has not allowed a run in his first 11 1/3 innings of college baseball and has surrendered just nine base runners on six hits and three walks. The freshman is dominating right-handed hitters, allowing just three hits in 22 at bats against opposing righties.

Wonder Walz

Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz continues to move up in the team’s record books. With his seven-inning performance against Oklahoma State on March 18, Walz continued to pad his numbers as the school’s all-time leader in strikeouts (253). He also ranks in the top 10 in KU history in wins (T-4th, 22), innings pitched (7th, 269.0) and games started (T-4th, 41).

Walz also has more wins, innings pitched, starts and strikeouts than any other Kansas pitcher during the Ritch Price era.

Diamond Notes

– Kansas makes its second of three trips to the state of Texas this weekend when it faces No. 6 Texas A&M in a three-game Big 12 series.

– The Jayhawks have played one of the most difficult schedules over the early part of the season. When the team leaves College Station Sunday, it will have played eight of its first 23 games against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game, with all eight of them on the road.

– The grueling schedule has helped KU maintain a good RPI, despite a 10-10 record. Following action Tuesday, the Jayhawks are ranked 59th in psuedo RPI according to BoydsWorld.com. Other Big 12 RPI rankings include Texas A&M (16th), Texas (18th), Baylor (21st), Oklahoma (35th), Texas Tech (39th), Oklahoma State (70th), Nebraska (117th), Kansas State (129th) and Missouri (167th).

– The NCAA released its first stats report of the season on Tuesday. The Jayhawks are 36th in the country in times hit by pitch (27), while several KU players rank in the top 50 individually.

– Senior shortstop Brandon Macias ranks 26th in the country having been hit by pitch seven times this year.

– Junior Colton Murray ranks 32nd in the country and third in the Big 12 with four saves.

– Sophomore Thomas Taylor ranks 10th in the country in fewest walks allowed per 9 innings (0.5), while Murray ranks 51st in the same category (0.98).

– Despite a recent slump, Kansas third baseman Jake Marasco ranks 14th in the Big 12 with a .356 batting average.

– Kansas starting pitcher T.J. Walz ranks eighth in the Big 12 with 31 1/3 innings pitched and is tied for eighth with 31 strikeouts.

– The Jayhawks have done a pretty solid job of putting men on base this season. KU has had the leadoff hitter reach base at a .315 clip (56-for-178) with Jake Marasco leading the way, going 9-for-19 in at bats where he starts an inning.

– In recent games, KU has been stellar with two outs. Since the start of the Oklahoma State series, the Jayhawks have collected 11 two-out RBIs and are batting .304 (14-for-46) with two outs in an inning.

UALR Game Leftovers

– Kansas head coach Ritch Price earned his 500th career win at the Division I level Tuesday in the win over UALR.

– KU scored three runs in the third inning to break the game open. This marked the team’s sixth crooked number inning (three runs or more) in the last 10 games. During the team’s first 10 games, the Jayhawks recorded just one crooked number inning.

– Junior Zac Elgie went 2-for-4 with a two run double. It marked Elgie’s third-straight two-hit game and his second-straight game with multiple RBIs.

– Sophomore Kevin Kuntz also recorded two hits in the game. It was the second baseman’s first multi-hit game of the year.

– Senior Casey Lytle extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games. Lytle’s streak matches the longest this season by a Jayhawk and is the longest of his career.

– KU’s bullpen retired the final 13 men it faced in Tuesday’s win. Following a two-run single in the top of the fifth, Thomas Taylor enduced a ground ball double play to end the inning. UALR did not have another base runner after that.

– Freshman Frank Duncan recorded his first career save, setting the Trojans down in order in the ninth inning.

Up Next
The Jayhawks will complete a brief four-game road trip on Wednesday, March 30 when KU travels to Missouri State for a 6:30 p.m. contest against the Bears. This will mark the first of two meetings this season between KU and MSU.