Jayhawks Travel to Springfield to Face Missouri State

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March 27, 2007

The University of Kansas baseball team play Tuesday at Hammonds Field in Springfield, Mo., against Missouri State. The Jayhawks and Bears will tangle at 7 p.m. in a non-conference contest. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Scouting the Bears

Missouri State, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, enters Tuesday’s game at 13-9, having taken two out of three from Northern Iowa over the weekend. The Bears are 7-3 at home this season, having defeated Middle Tennessee State (twice), Arkansas-Little Rock, South Dakota State (twice) and UNI (twice) at Hammonds Field.

The Bears’ offense is led by freshman first baseman Ben Carlson who is hitting .385 with four homers and 14 RBIs. Junior catcher Kyle Paul is tops on the team with nine doubles and 18 RBIs, while junior second baseman Matt Lawson has a team-high 27 hits and three triples.

On the mound, junior southpaw Ross Detwiler boasts a 3-1 record with a 1.45 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. Out of the bullpen, sophomore righty Matt Frevert has been the Bears’ most effective arm, posting an 0.64 ERA, a 2-1 record and three saves in nine appearances this season.

Head coach Keith Guttin is in his 25th season at Missouri State and has compiled a record of 854-510 (.626) at the school. His team returns 21 letterwinners and eight position starters from last year’s squad, which finished second in the MVC and 33-22 overall.

Missouri State leads the all-time series with Kansas 22-19, but lost last year’s meeting, 19-7 in Lawrence. Ritch Price is 4-3 against Missouri State in his five seasons at KU.

Last Time Out

The Jayhawks took one of three games from No. 14 Oklahoma State over the weekend, earning a victory in Saturday’s contest, 6-3. Junior John Allman led KU with a .444 batting average in the series and three RBIs, while junior Zach Ashwood scattered seven hits over six innings and just one earned run to grab the win.

Marky Marks

Sophomore lefty Andy Marks struck out 10 Oklahoma State hitters Sunday, becoming the first Jayhawk to strike out 10-plus in a conference game since Mike Zagurski fanned 12 against Missouri on May 14, 2005.

Marks leads the team and is second in the Big 12 with 50 strikeouts this season, including 18 in his two starts in the conference. The 6-foot junior is on pace to become just the fifth Jayhawk pitcher to record 100 K’s in a season and the first since Zagurski tallied 112 in 2005.

Ramblin’ Man

Junior John Allman hit in all three games against No. 14 Oklahoma State over the weekend, including a 2-for-3 effort in KU’s 6-3 victory on Saturday.

Allman, who had a 10-game hitting streak earlier this season, has gone hitless in a game just five times this season. The junior left fielder leads the team with a .408 batting average, 40 hits and is tied for the team lead with nine doubles.

Saving the Day

Sophomore closer Paul Smyth earned a multiple-inning decision for the second time in a week by pitching three innings for a save Saturday against Oklahoma State.

On March 17, Smyth pitched 4.1 innings at Texas A&M to earn his first victory of the season in exta innings. Against OSU, the 5-foot-10 righty allowed two men to reach base in the seventh, but retired the final eight hitters he faced for his fifth save of the season.

Smyth leads the team with 15 appearances and has an 0.82 ERA in 22 innings of work.

Pulling Rank

During the month of March, the University of Kansas has played one of the most grueling schedules in all of college baseball. The Jayhawks have seen nationally ranked opponents nearly every time on the field.

Since March 9, the Jayhawks have played 10 games against nationally ranked teams, including six against teams in the top ten at the time of the games, Arkansas (#10) and Texas A&M (#8).

The road doesn’t get any easier as this weekend’s opponent, Missouri, moved into the Top 25 after taking two of three from previously ranked Nebraska. KU’s next home series is against No. 7 Texas, April 4-6.

All Good Things Must End

Jayhawk third baseman Robby Price suffered his first hitless game since Feb. 10 last Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader against Northern Colorado. Price had hit safely in 16 straight games, which stands as the 14th longest hitting streak in Kansas history. His 16-game streak was also the longest by a freshman.

After going 0-for-3 in the first game of the twinbill, Price promptly singled in his first at-bat of game two.

Closing In

With his win over Oklahoma State Saturday, head coach Ritch Price moved to within six victories of third place in all time wins at the University of Kansas. Price is chasing former KU coach Bobby Randall, who had 166 career victories with the Jayhawks from 1996 to 2002. Floyd Temple holds the program record with 438 wins.

Around the Horn

– KU will travel to Hammons Field for the first time since 2005, Tuesday.

– The Jayhawks held Oklahoma State’s powerful offense to three runs for just the third time all season in Saturday’s victory.

– Sophomore Buck Afenir started all three games of the Oklahoma State series and collected hits Friday and Saturday.

– Sophomore Preston Land broke out of a prolonged slump with an RBI single in Saturday’s 6-3 triumph. Land went 2-for-5 against Oklahoma State and drove in a run.

– Junior Ryne Price is hitting .361 in home games, compared to .277 on the road.

– Junior Erik Morrison scored his 100th run in a Jayhawk uniform on his solo homer Sunday against Oklahoma State. The shortstop is the only active player with 100 career runs, and just one of five during Ritch Price’s tenure.

– Freshman Robby Price belted his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to right field in Friday’s loss to Oklahoma State.

– Junior John Allman collected his first outfield assist of the season in Sunday’s loss. Allman helped cut down a runner at second.

– Senior Kyle Murphy is hitting .360 with runners on base and advances runners 55 percent of the time he comes to the plate in that situation (32-for-58).

– Junior Brock Simpson reached 100 career hits in last Wednesday’s doubleheader against Northern Colorado. Simpson is one of four active players with 100 hits or more in a Jayhawk uniform.

– Sophomore Justin Ellrich had his fourth multi-hit game of the season, and doubled twice in the same game for the first time in his career Saturday.

– Junior lefty Zach Ashwood earned his first victory since March 4, pitching six innings against Oklahoma State Saturday. Ashwood scattered seven hits and allowed just one earned run in the win.

– Senior Ryotaro Hayakawa and freshman Wally Marciel each pitched a scoreless inning of relief in Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma State. Hayakawa had eight strikeouts in his two appearances last week.

– Sophomore Andy Marks leads the Big 12 with 11.74 K/9 IP ratio. He is second in the league with 50 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched this season.

– Former Jayhawk pitcher Tom Gorzelanny has earned a spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation according to a report in the Pittsburgh Gazette Monday. Gorzelanny pitched at KU during the 2002 season.

– Head coach Ritch Price and junior John Allman will be featured on MetroSport’s KU baseball segment during its spring sports show. Airtimes are not yet available.

Oh, What a Night

On March 17, Kansas and eighth-ranked Texas A&M competed in a baseball battle of epic proportions. The teams combined for 30 runs and 33 hits in 11 innings, that ended after KU’s Erik Morrison, Dylan Parzyk and Justin Ellrich drove in runs in the top of the 11th and Jayhawk reliever Paul Smyth retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning.

KU held a 10-2 lead after the top of the fifth, but surrendered eight runs in the bottom of the inning. The Jayhawks took the lead twice before extra innings, only to be equalized again in the next half-inning.

The Jayhawks’ top three in the batting order: Kyle Murphy, Robby Price and John Allman combined for nine hits, seven runs scored and seven RBIs.

Crowded House

KU’s game against No. 12 Wichita State drew the biggest home crowd of the season and the 10th largest crowd in Hoglund Ballpark history. The paid attendance of 1,757 was the fourth-largest crowd to see a game between the Shockers and the Jayhawks in Lawrence.

KU set the single-game record last season, drawing 2,324 fans to the annual game with its in-state rival.

Lights, Camera, Jayhawks

KU is scheduled to make three television appearances this season, including one national TV appearance. The Jayhawks’ game against in-state rival Kansas State on May 5 will be seen across the country on Fox Sports Net.

The Jayhawks will also be on TV April 3 in a non-conference game against K-State and April 20 at Texas Tech. Both of those games will be shown on Fox College Sports Central, a cable station available through various sports packages around the country.

Early to Rise

KU’s three-game series against South Dakota State was played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

The Jayhawks and Jackrabbits opened play on Saturday morning with a doubleheader at 1:30 a.m. The second game of the twinbill was suspended due to time constraints and completed Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m., prior to the third game of the series.

The unusual starting times for the three contests were due to the Hurricane Winter Invitational which was already scheduled in the dome that weekend. The invitational featured NCAA Division II and NAIA teams from neighboring states.

Major League Bloodlines

Several players on the 2007 Jayhawk baseball team have relatives who have played in the major leagues. They include:
– Buck Afenir’s uncle, Troy Afenir, played in four major league seasons for Houston, Oakland and Cincinnati.
– Brett Bochy’s father, Bruce Bochy, played in the major leagues from 1978-87 for Houston, San Diego and the New York Mets. He also managed the Padres from 1995-2006, and is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants.
– Casey Larson’s father, Dan Larson, played in the major leagues from 1967-82. He played for Houston, Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs.
– Joe Servais’ cousin, Scott Servais, played in the major leagues from 1991-2001 for Houston, Colorado, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs.

Oh, Brother

A handful of Jayhawks have also followed older siblings onto the KU baseball team. They include:
– Nick Czyz’ older brother Don pitched at KU from 2003-06. Don was drafted by the Florida Marlins after last season.
– Preston Land’s brother, Sean, pitched for the Jayhawks from 2004-06. Sean was drafted by the Minnesota Twins at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
– Ryne and Robby Price’s older brother, Ritchie, also played at KU from 2003-06. Ritchie was drafted by the New York Mets last season.

Up Next

The Jayhawks will renew their Border Showdown rivalry with Missouri in a three-game series in Columbia. Game times are 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This will mark the first meeting between the schools this season since KU eliminated Missouri, 4-3, at the Big 12 Tournament last season. The teams will meet again in a non-conference game on April 25 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Season Tickets On Sale

Kansas Baseball season tickets are still available for purchase. For more information, please call 800-34-HAWKS or log on to kuathletics.com.