Kansas Baseball Heads to Missouri State Tuesday
March 26, 2012
LEADING OFF: After a rough weekend in Waco to open Big 12 play, Kansas looks to bounce back with a non-conference game against Missouri State at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday night. The Jayhawks and Bears will meet at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.
ON THE AIR: Audio for Tuesday’s game is available free of charge on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. A link to the audio can be found at kuathletics.com. Fans can also follow the game on GameTracker at kuathletics.com.
SERIES HISTORIES: Kansas and Missouri State have met 45 times on the baseball diamond, dating back to 1988. The Jayhawks hold a narrow 23-22 edge in the series, but trail 9-13 in games played in Springfield. Missouri State swept the season series last year, including a 6-0 win at Hammonds Field on March 30.
ABOUT KANSAS: The Jayhawks were swept in their first Big 12 series of the season at No. 27 Baylor. KU will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak Tuesday night in Springfield. The Jayhawks are 8-12 away from home this year.
KU’s offense is averaging 4.5 runs per game and batting .262 as a team, which ranks ninth in the Big 12. Senior C James Stanfield leads the team with a .345 batting average and has a .387 on-base percentage with five RBIs. KU’s pitching staff ranks seventh in the conference with a 4.26 ERA. Sophomore RHP Frank Duncan leads the team with three victories and has a 3.54 ERA in six starts.
SCOUTING THE BEARS: Missouri State enters the Tuesday evening tilt with Kansas on a roll. The Bears have won seven in a row, including a three-game sweep of Creighton in their first conference series last weekend. MSU checks in at No. 29 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.
Missouri State’s offense averages 5.1 runs per game and is batting .264, which ranks sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference. Senior OF Spiker Helms leads the MSU offense with a .351 batting average, 12 doubles and a .475 on-base percentage in 25 games. Senior 1B Brent Seifert has been the team’s top run-producer with 25 RBIs, a .543 slugging percentage and four home runs.
The Bears’ pitching staff has been excellent this season, posting a 2.35 ERA and holding opponents to a .226 batting average. Both totals lead the MVC. MSU will send junior RHP Cody Schumacher to the mound Tuesday to face the Jayhawks. Schumacher is 2-0 with a 5.46 ERA in six starts this year. In his last outing, he pitched 3 1/3 innings at SEMO, allowing one run on three hits. Freshman LHP Tyler Burgess, the team’s closer, has not allowed a run this season in nine appearances and leads the team with five saves.
Head coach Keith Guttin is in his 30th season at Missouri State and has an overall record of 1,011-636 with the Bears. Guttin has led MSU to eight conference championships, seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament and a College World Series trip in 2003.
LAST TIME OUT: Baylor first baseman Max Muncy collected four hits Sunday, including a two-run double down the right field line which plated the winning runs as No. 27 Baylor completed a three-game sweep with an 8-6 win over Kansas Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
MARASCO MARCHES ON: Redshirt junior 1B Jake Marasco continued his hot hitting in the month of March, going 5-for-10 in the Baylor series, including a 4-for-4 effort in Friday’s game. The four-hit game for Marasco marked the second of the junior’s career. Two of his hits in the game were infield singles, tying him for the team lead with six this season.
Marasco has been a lion in March throughout his career, batting .364 (59-for-162) with 14 doubles, a homer and a .469 slugging percentage. This year has been no different as Marasco leads the team with a .375 average (21-for-56) with three doubles and nine runs scored so far this month.
THOU SHALL NOT STEAL: Base runners’ worst nightmare this season has been senior C James Stanfield. Heading into the seventh week of the season, Stanfield has thrown out exactly 47.4 percent of all would-be base stealers (9-for-19), which leads the Big 12 among catchers that have started at least 12 games. Stanfield’s defensive skills have been on display recently as he has thrown out base runners in six of the last 10 stolen base attempts against him. Below is a look at the Big 12’s caught stealing percentages among its starting catchers:
Big 12 Caught Stealing Percentage
1. James Stanfield, Kansas .474 (9-for-19)
2. Troy Stein, Texas A&M .385 (5-for-13)
3. Josh Ludy, Baylor .357 (5-for-14)
4. Bo Altobelli, Texas Tech .353 (6-for-17)
5. Jacob Felts, Texas .346 (9-for-26)
– Kansas travels to Missouri State for its annual game with the Bears at Hammons Field. The Jayhawks are 3-3 in the Double-A home of the St. Louis Cardinals since the park opened in 2004.
– The game against Missouri State marks the second of six this season that KU is scheduled to play against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Jayhawks are 0-1 against MVC schools this year after a 2-1 loss to Indiana State on March 15. KU is 63-84 all-time against current league members.
– The Jayhawks’ 11-10 victory on March 21 marked KU’s first walk-off win since April 2, 2011 when a bases loaded walk in the 10th inning gave KU a 4-3 win over then-No. 19 Baylor.
– Kansas overcame a 6-1 deficit in Sunday’s loss to Baylor. It marked the second time this season that KU has rallied to tie or take the lead in a game it trailed by four runs or more.
– KU collected 19 hits in the 11-inning win over Southern Utah, which represented the most by the team since recording 20 hits at Oklahoma State on April 30, 2010.
– Kansas skipper Ritch Price coached his 1,000th game at the Division I level on March 6 against North Dakota. Price has a .520 winning percentage (526 wins, three ties) in 17-plus seasons at Cal Poly and Kansas.
– The Jayhawks rank 26th in the country in fielding percentage .978 and have committed just 20 errors in 23 games this season.
– Senior 1B/DH Chris Manship ranks 27th among NCAA Division I athletes in triples (three).
– The Jayhawks have out-hit 13 of their 23 opponents this season. KU has a 9-4 record when it collects more base hits than its opponent.
– KU scored a season-high 10 runs in the first inning of a game against Mississippi Valley State on Feb. 26. It was the most runs scored in a single frame by a Jayhawk team since an 11-run inning against Tabor in 2007.
– Of the Jayhawks’ 12 home runs this season, eight have been hit by freshmen. KU’s freshman class has outhomered both Baylor and Texas’ entire teams this season.
– Kansas has done a great job of starting innings. KU has had the leadoff man reach base in 38.5 percent (80-for-208) of its offensive innings in 2012.
– KU’s outfielders have recorded nine assists this season after collecting just 13 all of last season. Freshman Connor McKay and sophomore Tucker Tharp are tied for the team lead with three each, while senior Jason Brunansky, freshman Dakota Smith and freshman Michael Suiter have also thrown a baserunner out from the outfield.
– Senior C James Stanfield collected his fourth hit against left-handed pitching in the sixth inning of Sunday’s loss at Baylor. Stanfield is 4-for-10 against southpaws this season after going 5-for-22 (.227) against lefties in 2011.
– Junior C Alex DeLeon hit his first home run of the season in Sunday’s loss at Baylor. DeLeon has eight career home runs, with six of them coming at Hogland Ballpark.
– Redshirt-junior 1B Jake Marasco is tied for the team lead with six infield hits this season.
– Sophomore 2B Ka’iana Eldredge has enjoyed hitting at Hoglund Ballpark this year, going 7-for-13 (.538) in KU’s three home games.
– Junior SS Kevin Kuntz has reached base in 21 of his 23 starts this season and has reached base in each of his last eight games.
– After a slow start, junior IF Jordan Dreiling has started to turn things around. Dreiling snapped out of a 1-for-17 slump with two hits against Stony Brook on March 9 and is 7-for-17 with three multi-hit games in his last four starts.
– Senior IF Chris Manship has become a complete hitter this season. In previous years, Manship was very pull-happy, but six of his 15 base hits have been to the opposite field, while five more have been to center field.
– Senior 3B Zac Elgie is tied for the team lead with four bunt base hits this season, something you wouldn’t expect from a player who leads all active players with 15 career home runs.
– Freshman OF Connor McKay recorded his team-leading fourth multi-RBI game on March 21 and is tied for second on the team with 13 RBIs.
– Freshman OF Michael Suiter has done a tremendous job setting the table. Suiter has led off an inning 13 times this season and has reached base in eight of those opportunities (.615).
– Sophomore OF Tucker Tharp is also heating up, going 5-for-15 with three walks and a hit by pitch in his last three starts. Tharp collected two hits against Notre Dame on March 16 to snap a 1-for-18 slump.
– Freshman LHP Wes Benjamin has pitched well everywhere but Texas. In his three starts in the Lone Star State this year, Benjamin’s ERA is 9.39, allowing 16 runs in 15 1/3 innings. In his three starts in other ballparks, Benjamin has an 0.81 ERA with two runs allowed in 22 1/3 innings.
– Senior RHP Jordan Jakubov allowed his first base hit to a left-handed hitter in the Indiana State game on March 15. Lefties are just 2-for-23 against him (.083) this season.
– Freshman RHP Robert Kahana has been much more effective pitching out of the windup this year. Kahana is holding teams to a .192 batting average (10-for-52) with the bases empty, while teams are batting .278 (10-for-36) against him with men on base.
– Freshman RHP Drew Morovick has done a great job against leadoff men this season. In the 19 innings Morovick has started, just one man has reached base to open the inning (.053).
– Junior RHP Thomas Taylor has induced a team-high six double plays, including another one against Baylor on Saturday.
UP NEXT: Kansas returns to the friendly confines of Hoglund Ballpark for a Big 12 series with Texas Tech, beginning at 6 p.m., on Friday, March 30. The Jayhawks and Red Raiders will continue the series on Saturday, March 31 at 2 p.m., and complete the set on Sunday, April 1 at 1 p.m.