Kansas Baseball Hosts No. 7 Baylor This Weekend

April 2, 2009

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Kansas vs. Baylor

Following a two-game sweep of Northern Colorado during the week, the Kansas baseball team will host No. 7 Baylor at Hoglund Ballpark this weekend. The Jayhawks and Bears will square off at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Audio and video from the Friday and Sunday games will be available through Jayhawk All-Access on kuathletics.com. Fans can also tune in to KLWN-AM (1320) for play-by-play of the series opener on Friday as well as the finale on Sunday as Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick call the action.

Series History

Baylor leads the all-time series with Kansas, 33-5, including 14-4 in games played at Hoglund Ballpark. Kansas has won just one series (April, 1997) since the schools both joined the Big 12. Baylor has won four straight, including a three-game sweep in Waco last season.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas has won 14 straight at home, the third-longest streak in school history.

As a team, the Jayhawks are batting .288 with 57 doubles and 15 homers. KU is averaging 6.6 runs per game and 9.7 hits. Sophomore Tony Thompson is leading the team with a .367 batting average.

On the mound, KU has a 3.46 ERA and has allowed an opponent’s batting average of .239. Junior Shaeffer Hall leads the team with a 2.27 ERA while three Kansas pitchers share the team-lead with three wins.

Scouting the Bears

Baylor enters the weekend series having split its midweek games, and have won consecutive Big 12 series (at Texas Tech, vs. Kansas State). The Bears are ranked seventh in the latest Baseball America poll, and will mark the third Top 10 opponent the Jayhawks have faced in the last month.

Freshman infielder Joey Hainsfurther leads the team with a .387 batting average and has reached base at a .466 clip. Junior Shaver Hansen leads the team in home runs (eight) and is tied for the team lead with 22 RBIs this season. As a team, Baylor is batting .302.

The Jayhawks will face the one-two punch of junior Kendal Volz and freshman Logan Verrett this weekend. Verrett is tied for the lead in the Big 12 with seven victories this season and has a 2.25 ERA and a WHIP of 1.28. Volz was coached by KU skipper Ritch Price on Team USA this offseason and sports a 2-2 record with a 3.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.26.

Baylor returns 19 letterwinners and eight position starters from last year’s squad, which finished 32-26 overall and tied for sixth in the Big 12.

Last Time Out

Kansas senior Buck Afenir went 2-for-2 and matched a career high with five RBIs, while sophomore Greg Herbst collected three hits and three runs scored as Kansas ambushed Northern Colorado, 15-6 in a non-conference baseball game Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

Start Me Up

Junior shortstop David Narodowski has hit safely in 11 straight games and is third on the team with a .346 batting average. Narodowski’s rise in production seems to have coincided with his accention in the batting order.

Narodowski opened the season hitting in the middle of the lineup, but struggled early. During his hitting streak, Narodowski is batting .429 with three doubles, a triple and 10 runs scored. He has recorded multiple hits in each of his last four games, and has extra base hits in four of the last five games.

Home, Sweet Home

Kansas has won all 14 of its home games this season, and has put up some amazing numbers in the process.

In KU’s 14 home wins, the Jayhawks are batting .310 with 31 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs. In the team’s away games, the Jayhawks batting average drops to .264 with just three homers. The Jayhawk pitching staff allows two earned runs fewer per game (2.57/4.47), and a batting average of nearly 50 points less (.215/.264) during home games.

KU’s best hitter at Hoglund Ballpark is David Narodowski, who has hit .472, while Lee Ridenhour is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 16 strikeouts in KU’s home games.

The Jayhawks’ 14 straight-home wins is the longest winning streak at Hoglund Ballpark since 2002.

In the Nick of Time

Kansas senior Nick Faunce hit a game-ending home run Tuesday to complete a stirring comeback in an 8-6 win over Northern Colorado. Faunce’s walk-off homer was the first by a Kansas player since Ryne Price clinched a win over Baylor with a home run April 15, 2007.

Faunce actually started KU’s rally with a double in the eighth inning. His hit snapped the senior out of an 0-for-12 slump. Faunce has been a tremendous hitter in the clutch this season, batting .366 with men on base and .367 with two outs.

Around the Horn

– The Jayhawks host No. 7 Baylor in a three-game series this weekend. The series marks the fourth consecutive weekend that Kansas will be facing a team ranked in the top 15.

– The Jayhawks are 5-6 this season against ranked teams, including 3-0 at home.

– Kansas rallied from three runs down in the eighth and two behind in the ninth Tuesday against Northern Colorado. The Jayhawks have come back from multiple run deficits in the last three innings of a game six times this season.

– Kansas collected five doubles in Wednesday’s win over Northern Colorado, marking the third time this season that that Jayhawks have had at least five two-base hits.

– KU has been impressive at home in Ritch Price’s tenure. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Jayhawks are 32-7 at Hoglund Ballpark, including 14-0 this season.

– Kansas swept then-No. 1 Texas March 20-22, which was the Jayhawks’ first ever sweep of the Longhorns and first sweep of a No. 1 ranked team. The win over UT on March 20 was KU’s first over a top-ranked team since 1993.

– With the win March 3 against UND, Kansas extended its winning streak in home openers to 10 straight years, including all seven under head coach Ritch Price.

Senior catcher Buck Afenir matched a career high with five RBIs in Wednesday’s win over Northern Colorado. Afenir’s performance came on the heels of an 0-for-5 game Tuesday, and a rough series at Texas A&M.

– Sophomore transfer Joe Lincoln had a couple of hits in the mid-week series with Western Illinois March 24-25. Lincoln had been sidelined with an injury since the March 10 game against Missouri Valley.

– Catcher Chris Manship made a pinch hitting appearance in his home state of Arizona in KU’s 9-4 loss to Arizona State on March 13.

– Senior first baseman Preston Land collected a key base hit in the ninth inning Tuesday against Northern Colorado, which plated the tying run. Land has hit .321 over the Jayhawks’ last 10 games, including a .381 average in Big 12 contests.

– Freshman Zac Elgie went 1-for-3 in Tuesday’s game against Northern Colorado. Elgie has reached base in five straight starts, and has at least one hit in four of those games.

– Junior second baseman Robby Price has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. Price hit in the No. 2 spot in the order last weekend, and is hitting .357 (10-for-28) from that spot this season.

– Freshman infielder James Stanfield collected a base hit in Wednesday’s rout of Northern Colorado. Stanfield has now played three of the four infield positions this season, seeing time at second, short and third base.

– Junior shortstop David Narodowski has done a tremendous job when leading off this year. Narodowski has reached base at a .422 clip (19-for-45) when he is the first to hit in an inning.

– Sophomore Tony Thompson collected four RBIs in Wednesday’s win over Northern Colorado. Thompson leads the team with 29 RBIs this year and is batting .469 with runners in scoring position.

– Senior Nick Faunce doubled and homered in his last two at bats of Tuesday’s win over Northern Colorado. This season, Faunce is batting .296 (8-for-27) in at bats after the sixth inning with five doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs.

– Freshman Jason Brunansky made an amazing catch in center field March 27 at Texas A&M, robbing Luke Anders of an extra base hit. Brunansky has made a pair of highlight-reel catches the last few weeks, also crashing into the center field wall to make a catch against Arizona State.

– Sophomore Brian Heere has been on a terror over his last 12 games. Since the beginning of the San Diego State series, Heere is batting .370 with four doubles, nine runs scored and a .483 on-base percentage.

– Sophomore Casey Lytle has been solid in the clutch for KU this season. Lytle is batting .364 with men on base and .357 with runners in scoring position. He is also 5-for-15 with two outs in an inning.

– Sophomore Jimmy Waters came off the bench in Tuesday’s game and singled in a run in the ninth inning. It was the sophomore’s second pinch hit of the season in seven tries.

– Junior transfer Brett Lisher went 1-for-2 in Wednesday’s game after entering as a defensive replacement in the fifth inning. Lisher is 4-for-10 in games at Hoglund Ballpark this year.

– Junior transfer Travis Blankenship snapped a string of nine straight relief appearances without allowing a run in the March 28 loss to Texas A&M. The left-handed reliever did bounce back to retire the side in order in the eighth inning the next day.

– Sophomore Brett Bochy struck out a career high seven in three innings of relief March 22 at Texas A&M. Bochy has now struck out at least one hitter in 21 of his 26 career appearances.

– After a first-inning hiccup Wednesday, junior Brett Bollman pitched a solid six innings for his third victory of the season. The 5-foot-10 righty went six innings and scattered six hits, allowing one earned run and striking out seven. Bollman’s three wins match Travis Blankenship and Lee Ridenhour for the team lead.

– Freshman Kelson Boyer pitched a perfect inning of relief March 24 against Western Illinois, recording a pair of strikeouts. Boyer has allowed just one run and has not walked anybody in 7 1/3 innings this season.

– Freshman Kevin Burk recorded a pair of strikeouts in Tuesday’s win over Northern Colorado. Since a rough outing a Arizona State on March 13, Burk has made four straight scoreless appearances out of the bullpen, allowing just four hits over 5 2/3 innings with six K’s.

– Junior Shaeffer Hall earned his second victory of the season March 20 against Texas, and first since his no-hitter on opening day. Hall has done an excellent job this season of finishing innings. Teams are batting .095 (4-for-42) against the lefty with two outs.

– Junior Thomas Marcin pitched out of trouble in the ninth inning Wednesday against Northern Colorado. He has not been hit hard this year, with opponents batting just .222 against him.

– Freshman Colton Murray has been solid out of the Kansas bullpen this season. Following a rough trip through Arizona State and San Diego State, Murray has not allowed a run in his last six outings, allowing just five baserunners in that time.

– Freshman Lee Ridenhour allowed just four hits in his loss to Texas A&M on Sunday. The first-year righty has allowed five hits or less in five of his seven starts.

– Senior Paul Smyth converted three save opportunites in the weekend series against Texas March 20-22, and was named to the College Baseball Foundation’s National All-Star Lineup for the second time in his career.

– Sophomore T.J. Walz matched a career high with seven strikeouts Saturday against Texas A&M, but did not factor in the decision. Walz leads the team with 31 K’s in 30 innings pitched this year.

Up Next

Following the series with No. 7 Baylor, Kansas will hit the road for a midweek series at Iowa on April 7-8. Tuesday’s game will begin at 6 p.m., while Wednesday’s finale is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start in Iowa City, Iowa.

Both games will be carried on KLWN-AM (1320) in Lawrence with Tom Hedrick on the call.