Jayhawks Hit the Road to Face Texas A&M
March 31, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas baseball team will take to the road for the first time in conference play this weekend as it travels to College Station, Texas, to battle No. 16 Texas A&M in a three-game series at Olsen Field.
The Jayhawks enter the series with a 21-10 overall mark this season and captured a game from No. 7 Nebraska in the team’s Big 12 opening series last weekend to post a 1-2 mark in league play.
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Junior centerfielder Gus Milner provided his second walk-off hit of the season in the team’s conference opening game as they Jayhawks handed the Cornhuskers a 7-6 defeat, snapping Nebraska’s 11-game winning streak. Milner also tallied the game-winning hit on March 19, as the Jayhawks downed Western Illinois 6-5.
A year ago, when the Jayhawks hosted the Aggies at Hoglund Ballpark, junior shortstop Ritchie Price batted .444 (4 for 9) with three RBI against Aggie pitching. This season Ritchie is tied for fourth on the team with a .333 batting average and has driven in 20 runs.
Freshman outfielder John Allman has been hot at the plate in his last 10 games, hitting .500 (15-for-30) to increase his overall batting average this season to a team-leading .391.
On the hill, senior Mike Zagurski and junior Kodiak Quick have anchored an improved Jayhawk pitching staff this season. Zagurksi entered the week leading the Big 12 in strikeouts, while Quick tops the league with seven wins.
Texas A&M comes into the series with a 20-9 overall record and a 2-4 mark in Big 12 play after dropping its first two conference series to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. The Aggies return 19 letterwinners and six starters from last season’s team which complied a 44-22 record on its way to a fifth place finish in the Big 12 and an NCAA Regional appearance.
Kansas Jayhawks (21-10; 1-2 Big 12)
Texas A&M Aggies (20-9; 2-4 Big 12)
Site: Olsen Field (7,053) — College Station, Texas
Game Time (CST): Friday (April 1) 7 p.m.; Saturday (April 2) 7 p.m.; Sunday (April 3) 1 p.m.
Rankings: Kansas enters the series unranked, while Texas A&M is ranked in all four major polls — 16th (Baseball America), 19th (Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches), 24th (Collegiate Baseball) and 20th (NCBWA).
Coaches: Kansas head coach Ritch Price is 87-69-1 in his third year at KU and 304-297-1 in his 11th overall year of coaching at the Division 1 level. Texas A&M’s Mark Johnson enters the series with a 865-415-2 career record in 21 seasons at Texas A&M.
Series Record: Texas A&M leads 33-9
First Game: A&M 8, KU 1 during the 1906 season
Last Series: Texas A&M took two of three games from KU in Lawrence last season
In Lawrence: Texas A&M leads 11-3
In College Station: Texas A&M leads 18-3
Neutral Sites: Texas A&M leads 4-3
Price vs. Texas A&M: 1-5
Audio: KLWN (1320 AM)
Live Stats: www.kuathletics.com
Kansas’ Projected Pitching Rotation
Day No. Throws Name (Class) W-L ERA
Fri. 37 LHP Mike Zagurski (Sr.) 4-2 4.21
Sat. 20 RHP Clint Schambach (Sr.) 2-2 4.36
Sun. 21 RHP Kodiak Quick (Jr.) 7-2 3.29
A Closer Look at Texas A&M
The Aggies defeated Lamar, 7-6, on Tuesday at Olsen Field to with their 20th game of the season and improve their overall record this season to 20-9. Texas A&M enters this weekend’s series looking to capture its first Big 12 series as it has dropped two-of-three on the road in its first two leagues series against Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
The strength of the Aggies lies in their deep pitching staff which has complied a team ERA of 3.26 this season and boosts six players who have pitched at least 19 innings this season and hold ERA’s under 4.00. Sophomore Jason Meyer, a sophomore left-handed pitcher from Abilene, Texas, has been impressive this spring, leading the Aggies with a 5-1 record and posting a 3.35 ERA. Meyer earn the win in the Friday night contest of the schools’ match-up last season.
At the plate, the Aggies are hitting .278 as a team and are led by their preseason All-Big 12 shortstop Cliff Pennington, who is batting .398 with five home runs and 25 RBI this season. Senior outfielder Andrew Baldwin connected on a pair of home runs in the Aggies victory over Lamar on Tuesday night.
Head coach Mark Johnson is in his 21st season of coaching at the Division I level, all of which have come at the helm of the Texas A&M program. Johnson has compiled an 866-417-2 (.674) record and led the Aggies to 13 NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure in College Station.
Texas A&M’s Projected Pitching Rotation
Day No. Throws Name (Class) W-L ERA
Fri. 11 LHP Jason Meyer (So.) 5-1 3.35
Sat. 34 RHP Kyle Marlatt (Sr.) 3-2 1.60
Sun. 23 RHP Chance Corgan (Fr.) 2-0 2.39
Kansas Baseball Notes
Jayhawks’ Rematch with SMS Postponed Due to Rain
The Jayhawks will have to wait until May 11 to avenge an early season loss to SMS as the game between the two schools scheduled for March 23 was postponed due to heavy rainfall in the Springfield, Mo., area.
The game was rescheduled for May 11 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.
Freshmen Come Alive at the Plate
There are many things expected of the Jayhawks’ freshman class this season and in the weeks leading up to Big 12 play, four in the group showed why by posting breakout performances.
Rookie third baseman Erik Morrison provided the biggest offensive performance by a Jayhawk this season in March 18’s 13-7 win over Western Illinois. The Arroyo Grande, Calif., native was 3-for-5 at the plate and connected on the first two home runs of his collegiate career en route to driving in seven runs, the most by a Jayhawk this season.
During the North Dakota State series, the Bison could not keep second baseman Ryne Price off the bases as the freshman reeled off an impressive .818 batting average during the series. Price also slammed his second home run of the season and tied for the team-lead in the series with five RBI.
In addition to Price’s performance during the series, fellow freshmen Brock Simpson and John Allman also posted a strong series. Simpson entered the game in the fifth inning of the March 13th contest and responded with a 3-for-3 performance, which included the first home run of his collegiate career. Simpson just missed becoming the first KU player since 1993 to hit for the cycle, needing only a single to accomplish the feat. Allman filled in for Matt Baty at the top of the KU batting order for the NDSU series and the Baker game. The St. Louis, Mo., native was more than adequate, setting the table at the top of the line-up, batting .385 during the four games.
Price Passes Coaching Milestones
Head coach Ritch Price collected his 300th career win at the Division I level on March 16 as Kansas pounded Baker, 16-6, at Hoglund Ballpark.
The win gave Price a 300-293-1 record in 11 seasons at the Division I level, which includes stints at Kansas and Cal Poly. In KU’s 17-2 victory over North Dakota State on March13, Price also passed a milestone as he earned his 700th career coaching victory at all levels. The win over Baker gave Price a 701-516-1 record in 27 years at the Division I, junior college and high school levels.
“I’m really excited to get to 300 wins at the Division I level and to earn my 700th career win on Sunday,” said Price. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with some great young men. My biggest goal is to become the winningest coach in Kansas baseball history. Floyd Temple has 437 career wins, so I have a ways to go.”