Jayhawks Travel to Creighton Wednesday

April 7, 2010


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Kansas vs. Creighton

After going 3-1-1 in a recent homestand, the Kansas Jayhawks will hit the road for nine straight games, beginning with a showdown at Rosenblatt Stadium against Creighton. KU will face the Jays at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

National cable station CBS College Sports will televise the game. Fans with Sunflower Cable can tune in on channel 143 or channel 236 (HD).

Radio station KLWN-AM (1320) will also broadcast Wednesday night’s game with Tom Hedrick on the call. Fans can also listen via the internet at www.klwn.com.

Series with Creighton

Wednesday night’s game between KU and Creighton will be the 28th all-time meeting between the schools on the baseball diamond with CU leading the series 17-10. However, the Jayhawks have won four straight meetings, including a 5-4 triumph in Lawrence last month. KU is 2-7 all-time in games played in Omaha.

About the Jayhawks

Since dropping four straight in mid-March, KU has won eight of its last 11 games including five-straight midweek games. The Jayhawks have shown a flair for the dramatic, winning four games by one run.

The Jayhawk offense ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .307 batting average. KU is averaging 7.6 runs per game. Junior outfielder Brian Heere leads the team with a .391 batting average with nine doubles, two triples and two homers.

On the mound, KU has posted a 4.90 ERA, which ranks seventh in the Big 12. Junior Brett Bochy has been one of the premier closers in the country, posting a 0.78 ERA in 12 appearances with five saves and 34 strikeouts in 23 innings.

Scouting the Bluejays

Creighton has won back-to-back games heading into Wednesday’s showdown with KU. The Jays downed Big 12 foe Nebraska 13-5 on Tuesday evening.

Creighton’s offense has been prolific this year with a team batting average of .297. The Jays are averaging 7.3 runs per game. Junior Trevor Adams leads the team with a .379 batting average and is tied for the team lead with four homers and 24 RBIs. Senior T.J. Roemmich also has four homers and 24 runs batted in. The tandem combined for five of CU’s 12 hits against KU in the earlier meeting this season.

Kansas will likely face left-handed pitcher Greg Hellhake. Hellhake would be making his second start of the season after starting the March 7 game against Sam Houston State. Hellhake has no record this season.

Creighton was picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference, behind conference favorite Wichita State and Missouri State.

Last Time Out

Senior Robby Price and juniors Jimmy Waters and Brian Heere each had three hits, however Kansas could not get the clutch hit when it needed it. Due to travel schedules, KU’s rubber game with No. 22 Texas A&M ended in an 8-8 tie after 11 innings Saturday at Hoglund Ballpark.

Price Honored by Big 12 Again

For the second straight week, Kansas senior second baseman Robby Price has been named the Big 12 Player of the Week. This marks the first time in Jayhawk history that a player has been named conference player of the week in consecutive weeks.

Price, a senior from Lawrence, Kan., hit .550 in five games last week, helping Kansas go 3-1-1. He extended his season-best hitting streak to 13 games with multiple-hit games in four of KU’s five contests. The senior collected five doubles and one homer with eight runs scored and eight RBIs.

We’re Going Streaking

Senior second baseman Robby Price has hit safely in 13 consecutive games, dating back to a 1-for-3 effort at Tulane on March 17. During his hitting streak, Price has batted .460 with seven doubles, two triples, two homers, 20 runs scored and 20 RBIs.

Price’s 13-game streak is the longest by a Jayhawk this season, and the lengthiest since Tony Thompson’s 20-game hitting streak at the end of last season.

With the recent terror, Price has raised his season average by 75 points, and is among the Big 12 leaders in conference-only batting, with a .500 average (13-for-26).

Bochy Ball

Junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Big 12 this season. Bochy has posted an 0.78 ERA in 12 appearances this season, allowing just two earned runs in 23 innings.

Bochy’s headline performance came on March 28 at Baylor when the junior retired 18 of 18 hitters in six innings of relief to earn the win in 14 innings. It was Bochy’s second victory of the season to go along with five saves.

Perhaps most remarkable about the junior’s numbers this season is that he has allowed just three extra base hits since April 26 of last season.

Waters Runs Deep

Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters also enjoyed a productive weekend against Texas A&M, going 8-for-13 (.615) with four doubles and seven RBIs. Waters’ .517 batting average in conference play ranks him fifth in the Big 12.

Waters has benefitted from having Tony Thompson back in the lineup. Since Thompson’s return on March 23 against Creighton, the junior is hitting .410 with 13 RBIs and six extra base hits in 10 games. Waters has also reached base at a .500 clip.

Cardiac Kids

Kansas has had a flair for the dramatic in recent weeks, winning four games by a single run, including three games where the Jayhawks had to rally from a multi-run deficit. KU trailed by two runs in the fifth inning against Creighton (March 23), four runs in the fifth at Baylor (March 26), two runs in the sixth at Baylor (March 28) and by four runs in the seventh inning on March 30 against Arkansas-Little Rock.

KU also rallied twice to stave off defeat in Saturday’s 8-8 tie with No. 22 Texas A&M. In the ninth, Robby Price delivered the clutch base hit to knot the game at seven, while junior Brian Heere had the game-tying hit in the bottom of the 11th.

Each time, KU found a way to collect the key base hit and produce a big inning. In its last seven games, Kansas had produced seven innings in which the team scored three runs or more. Four of those big innings happened when the Jayhawks were either tied or trailed in the game.

Around the Horn

– Kansas will take on Creighton in a midweek game which is being televised on CBS College Sports. KU is 9-6 in televised games since 2005.

– The Jayhawks downed Creighton earlier this year in Lawrence, 5-4 on March 23. The game was a back-and-forth affair with a pair of lead changes and a walk-off hit by Brandon Macias.

– Kansas played to an 8-8 with No. 22 Texas A&M on April 3. KU rallied to tie the score twice in the final three innings. The game was declared a tie because Texas A&M had a 5 p.m. flight to catch out of Kansas City, and the teams had passed the agreed-upon 2:15 p.m. cutoff time for starting a new inning.

– The Jayhawks earned their first-ever series victory at Baylor March 26-28, taking two of three in Waco. Prior to the win on March 26, KU was 1-20 all-time against the Bears in Waco.

– The March 28 win over Baylor was a classic. The teams played 14 innings, which is 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.

– 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.

– Kansas will likely be facing another left-handed starting pitcher Wednesday in Greg Hellhake. So far this season, KU has dominated lefties going 6-1 against southpaws with a team batting average of .350.

– KU has done a great job of limiting its strikeouts this season. Through 29 games, KU has struck out a total of 166 times (5.7 per game). In the same time period, the Jayhawks have scored 219 runs, giving them a plus-53 in its runs/strikeouts ratio. Last year, KU was just plus-one in the same ratio.

– The Jayhawks have done a good job of knocking starting pitchers out of the game early. In the last 13 games, opposing starting pitchers have averaged just under four innings per game with nobody recording a quality start against KU since a March 16 game against Tulane. This season, opposing starting pitchers have compiled an ERA of 8.30 against KU.

– Sophomore Jason Brunansky continued to swing a hot bat in home games, going 2-for-3 with two walks against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 30. Brunansky is batting .500 (8-for-16) at home, compared to .250 (4-for-16) away from Hoglund Ballpark.

– Freshman Jordan Dreiling subbed for Tony Thompson in the March 28 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 collected a pinch hit single to start the bottom of the 11th in the Saturday tie with Texas A&M. Elgie has hit safely in five of his last six games, including a two-hit game against Missouri State on March 31.

– Center fielder Brian Heere is among the Big 12 leaders in RBIs (31) with good reason. Heere is batting .419 (26-for-62) with men on base, including a .538 average (20-for-39) with men in scoring position.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher is batting .388 in non-conference games this season with six doubles and 20 RBIs.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle tied a school record March 28, 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 14 times already this season, just five shy of the school record of 19, held by Ryne Price.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias collected doubles in back-to-back games with Texas A&M last weekend. Since a 2-for-4 effort at LSU on March 13, Macias has raised his batting average by 60 points.

– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has been extremely successful in the clutch. The sophomore catcher is batting .436 (17-for-36) with men on base, including .444 with men in scoring position.

– 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 March 28 – his fourth multi-hit contest of the season. The redshirt freshman has hit safely in 10 of his 12 starts this season.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price has hit .500 against Big 12 pitching this season with six extra base hits in six games. Price’s plate discipline has been outstanding, fanning just twice in his last 59 plate appearances.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson hopes that returning to the road will get him going. Thompson has gone 6-for-10 in his three road starts this season with his only home run coming at Baylor on March 26. Last season, Thompson hit .420 with 12 homers away from Hoglund Ballpark.

– Junior left fielder Jimmy Waters leads the team with 13 multi-hit games this season, including four against Big 12 foes.

– Senior relief pitcher Travis Blankenship made his 16th appearance of the spring on Saturday against Texas A&M. Blankenship’s 16 appearances rank fourth in the Big 12 this season.

– Junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy allowed just his second earned run of the spring on Thursday against Texas A&M. Since April 7 of last year, Bochy has a 6-0 record with a 1.34 ERA and five saves.

– Junior relief pitcher Matt Kohorst earned wins in back-to-back relief appearances last week. The junior righty is holding opposing hitters to a .115 batting average this year, including just one hit (1-for-10) with men on base.

– Junior left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel made his first start in almost two years on March 31 against Missouri State. Marciel, who missed the entire 2009 season following Tommy John surgery, held the Bears scoreless over the first two innings on only one hit.

– 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 opponents to just three earned runs in his last 11 games – including a scoreless ninth against Arkansas-Little Rock March 30.

– Freshman Tanner Poppe tossed one of the best long relief stints in KU history on March 28. 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.

– Junior T.J. Walz bounced back from a pair of rough outings, earning his fifth victory of the season on Thursday against No. 22 Texas A&M. Of his 17 career victories, six have come at the expense of ranked opponents.

Up Next

Following Wednesday’s game with Creighton, Kansas will return to conference play traveling to Austin, Texas to face the No. 6 Longhorns in a three-game series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The teams will open the set Friday at 6:05 p.m., while the final two games will be matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.