Jayhawks Open Homestand with UALR/Missouri State

March 30, 2010


Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Kansas vs. UALR/Missouri State

After collecting the first series victory in team history at Baylor, the Kansas Jayhawks will return to Lawrence for a five-game homestand at Hoglund Ballpark. KU will take on non-conference foes Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday at 3 p.m., and Missouri State Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Radio station KLWN-AM (1320) will carry Wednesday’s contest against Missouri State with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick on the call. Fans can also tune-in via the internet at www.klwn.com.

Series with Arkansas-Little Rock

Kansas holds a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series with UALR, including a 3-0 mark under Ritch Price. KU swept a three-game series from the Trojans in 2004, outscoring the visitors by a 39-4 margin. This will be the first of two meetings between these teams this season.

Series with Missouri State

Wednesday’s game will be the 42nd meeting between the Jayhawks and Bears on the baseball diamond, with KU holding a 21-20 edge. The Jayhawks are 13-8 against MSU in games played in Lawrence, and 7-3 under Ritch Price.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas rebounded from a four-game losing streak by posting a 4-1 record last week. The Jayhawks defeated Creighton and Baker during midweek games and took two of three at Baylor over the weekend.

KU’s offense boasts a team batting average of .310 with a .412 on-base percentage. The Jayhawks are averaging 7.6 runs per game. Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters leads the team with a .364 batting average, four homers and 26 RBIs.

On the mound, KU has a team ERA of 4.67 with 187 strikeouts in 210 innings. Junior closer Brett Bochy has been dominant out of the bullpen, posting a 2-0 record with four saves.

Scouting the Trojans

Arkansas-Little Rock took two of three from Florida International over the weekend, and has won 16 of 26 overall. The Trojans won 10 of their first 12 games this season, but have since cooled, playing .500-ball since March 6.

UALR has been a dangerous offensive team this season, batting .284 with 63 doubles, 17 homers and 46 stolen bases. The Trojans are averaging 8.3 runs per game. Junior infielder Jason Houston leads the team with a .358 batting average, a team-best six homers and 27 RBIs. Senior first baseman Tyson Parks ranks among the nation’s leaders with 14 doubles this season, and a team-best .452 on-base percentage.

The Trojans sport a team ERA of 6.02, and have allowed opposing hitters to bat .299 against them. KU will likely see senior Anthony Pryor in Tuesday’s game. Pryor is a 6-foot-1 righty with a 1-1 record and a 9.18 ERA in three starts this season.

UALR was picked to finish 11th in the Sun Belt Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Scouting the Bears

Missouri State’s three-game winning streak was snapped Friday as it dropped two of three games at Evansville over the weekend. The Bears have played one of the toughest schedules in Division I baseball this spring.

MSU’s offense ranks eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a .262 batting average. The Bears are averaging 4.5 runs per game this season. Sophomore infielder Kevin Madrano leads the team with a .375 batting average in 2010, while freshman catcher Luke Voit has a team-best seven doubles, three homers and 22 RBIs.

The Bears’ pitching staff has a team ERA of 5.01 and is allowing opponents to bat .298 against them. KU will likely face right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson on Wednesday. Johnson is 1-0 this season with a 5.21 ERA in 19 innings.

Missouri State was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference this season behind conference-favorite, Wichita State.

Last Time Out

Senior second baseman Robby Price collected three hits and a career-high six RBIs, while junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy tossed six hitless innings of relief as Kansas earned its first-ever series win at Baylor, taking the rubber game 12-6 in 14 innings Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.

Bochy, Price Earn Big 12 Weekly Awards

For the second time in three weeks, Kansas baseball had two players honored with Big 12 weekly awards. Senior second baseman Robby Price and junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy were named conference Player and co-Pitcher of the Week, respectively, Monday afternoon by the league office. Bochy shares the award with Nebraska’s Tom Lemke.

This marks the second time this season that Bochy has been named league pitcher of the week, also receiving the honor on March 15. Price is recognized by the Big 12 for the first time in his career.

Bochy Ball

Junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy put together a dominant week, earning two wins and a save in three appearances against Baylor and Creighton. The junior allowed one run on four hits over 9 1/3 innings, including a six-inning performance at Baylor Sunday, which saw the closer retire 18 of 18 hitters.

Not only was Bochy dominant in his six innings of relief, he was also efficient. After throwing 38 pitches in a two-inning save on Friday afternoon, the Kansas junior needed just 61 pitches to retire 18 batters Sunday. Bochy recorded five outs on the first pitch of the at bat, and went to a full count just three times – collecting strikeouts in each case.

This season, the junior is 2-0 with a team-best four saves and a 0.83 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He also has 33 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings pitched.

The Price is Right

Senior second baseman Robby Price provided the offense in KU’s series win at Baylor over the weekend. Batting from the No. 2 spot in the order, Price went 6-for-13 (.462) with a double, triple and a homer with nine RBIs.

Price has saved his best performances for Big 12 play during his career. During his career, the senior has played in 81 conference games and is batting .323 in those games with 12 doubles, three triples, six homers and 49 RBIs. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact that he has walked (54) over twice as many times as he has struck out (22) against league pitching.

Home Sweet Home

Kansas will look to continue its winning ways at Hoglund Ballpark this week, with five straight home games. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, KU has gone 51-11 (.823) at home, including 32-2 against non-conference foes.

This season, the Jayhawks have produced a 7-1 record at home and have outscored their six opponents by a 80-21 margin. As a team, KU is batting .354 at home, while allowing opponents a .231 batting average.

Senior Brett Lisher has been the team’s top hitter in home contests, batting .500 (11-for-22) this season.

Around the Horn

– Kansas will meet Arkansas-Little Rock and Missouri State in non-conference games this week. KU has gone 15-9 all-time against Sun Belt Conference teams, and 75-81 against current Missouri Valley Conference members in its history.

– The Jayhawks earned their first-ever series victory at Baylor last weekend, taking two of three in Waco. Prior to Friday’s win, KU was 1-20 all-time against the Bears in Waco.

– Sunday’s win over Baylor was a classic. The teams played 14 innings, which was the longest Big 12 game in KU history. The Jayhawk bullpen held the Bears without a base hit over the final 11 innings, and did not allow a baserunner after the bottom of the eighth.

– Kansas recorded its first walk-off win of the season March 23 against Creighton as Brandon Macias’ RBI single in the bottom of the ninth broke a 4-4 tie.

– 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 74-21 in the first three innings of a game this year, including 29-5 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.

– KU has done a great job of limiting its strikeouts this season. Through 24 games, KU has struck out a total of 133 times (5.5 per game). In the same time period, the Jayhawks have scored 182 runs, giving them a plus-49 in its runs/strikeouts ratio. Last year, KU was just plus-one in the same ratio.

– Sophomore Jason Brunansky scored a career-high four runs against Baker on March 24, going 1-for-1 with two walks and a hit by pitch. Brunansky is reaching base at a .512 clip this season after a .386 on-base percentage last year.

– Freshman Alex DeLeon recorded a hit and an RBI in KU’s win over Baker. All three of his hits have come at home this season.

– Freshman Jordan Dreiling subbed for Tony Thompson in Sunday’s game at Baylor, and collected three hits in Thompson’s place in the lineup, including a two-run single to break the game open in the top of the 14th inning.

– Sophomore Zac Elgie hit his first home run of the season March 24 against Baker. The second-year player started slow this season, but has hit safely in three of his last five starts.

– Center fielder Brian Heere has done his best work in the clutch. The junior outfielder is batting 50 points higher with men on base (.383 to .333), including a .520 average (13-for-25) with men in scoring position.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher is among the team leaders in RBIs this season for good reason. The senior is batting .364 (12-for-33) with runners in scoring position.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle tied a school record Sunday, being hit by pitch three times in the game against Baylor. Lytle is the fifth Jayhawk player to wear three pitches in the same game. He has been hit 13 times already this season, just six shy of the school record of 19, held by Ryne Price.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias has turned his season around. Since a two-hit game against Saint Mary on March 9, Macias has raised his batting average by over 100 points, hitting .341 (15-for-44) in the team’s last 14 games.

– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has hit safely in five of his last six games. The second-year backstop has shown the ability to hit even when behind in the count, collecting nine two-strike hits this year.

– Kansas redshirt freshman Jake Marasco impressed in his first start in a conference game. The KU designated hitter recorded a two-hit game against Baylor Sunday – his fourth multi-hit contest of the season.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price has been swinging a hot bat recently. The senior is batting a team-best .385 in the Jayhawks’ last 10 games (15-for-39) with 13 RBIs and 13 runs scored.

– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield’s offense has been a difference for the Jayhawks this season. In KU’s 15 wins, Stanfield is batting .326 (14-for-43), while in the team’s nine losses, the second-year player is hitting just .200.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson returned to form last weekend against Baylor, collecting six hits in 10 at bats against the Bears, including two doubles and a homer. In 10 career games against the Bears, Thompson is batting .487 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .949 slugging percentage.

– Junior left fielder Jimmy Waters hit his team-leading fourth home run of the season Saturday at Baylor. The third-year player is tied for ninth in the Big 12 with four round-trippers this season.

– Senior relief pitcher Travis Blankenship made his 14th appearance of the spring on Saturday at Baylor, and worked out of a jam. Blankeship ranks third in the Big 12 in appearances (14).

– Junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy has allowed just three extra base hits (two doubles and a homer) since April 26 of last season, spanning 36 2/3 innings. During that time, Bochy’s ERA is 1.23.

– Redshirt sophomore relief pitcher Jordan Jakubov pitched a scoreless inning of relief March 24 against Baker. After a rough start to the season, Jakubov has recorded back-to-back scoreless appearances.

– Junior relief pitcher Matt Kohorst has been a stopper out of the bullpen, retiring 12 of the 14 men he has faced this season.

– Junior left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel recorded his seventh scoreless appearance of the season Sunday against Baylor. The junior lefty has allowed just four hits in 19 at bats (.211) with men on base this year.

– Sophomore Colton Murray has bounced back from a rough start to the season. After allowing eight runs in his first two appearances of the season, Murray has held oppnents to just two earned runs in his last eight games – including a pair of scoreless appearances at Baylor last weekend.

– Freshman Tanner Poppe tossed one of the best long relief stints in KU history on Sunday. The first-year righty held Baylor hitless over 3 1/3 innings to allow Kansas to rally and tie the game in the sixth inning. Poppe has allowed just one earned run over his last five outings.

– Freshman Thomas Taylor earned his second victory of the year, allowing no runs and no hits over three innings against Baker March 24.

Up Next

Kansas will host No. 22 Texas A&M in a three-game Big 12 series beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark. Game two of the series will be Friday at 6 p.m., with the finale scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.