Kansas Hosts Nebraska in Key Big 12 Series at Hoglund Ballpark
April 7, 2011
Nebraska (20-11, 2-4) at Kansas (13-16, 4-5)
Friday-Sunday, April 8-10 – 6 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
Hoglund Ballpark (2,500) – Lawrence, Kan.
Friday, April 8
– Live Video
Saturday, April 9
– Live Video
Sunday, April 10
– Live Video
Kansas baseball opens a three-game series with Nebraska at Hoglund Ballpark in the schools’ final regular season games as Big 12 foes. The Jayhawks and Cornhuskers open the set Friday at 6 p.m., and will meet again Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Lawrence radio station KLWN (1320 AM) will broadcast all three games with Brian Hanni, Tom Hedrick and Kyle West calling the action. All three games against Nebraska will also feature live video for a subscription fee at www.kuathletics.com.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Kansas, 141-99 with one tie. However, the Jayhawks have won five of the last seven games, including series wins each of the last two years. The Jayhawks are 45-58 against the Huskers in games played in Lawrence and 11-15 against Nebraska under head coach Ritch Price.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas downed Border Showdown rival Missouri in a non-conference game at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday night. The Jayhawks have gone 10-6 at home this season, but just 1-7 on the road. KU’s psuedo-RPI ranking is No. 62 heading into the weekend.
KU’s offense has produced a .243 batting average and is averaging 3.2 runs per game. Junior catcher James Stanfield leads the team with a .368 batting average with a .474 slugging percentage. The Jayhawks’ pitching staff ranks sixth in the league with a 3.66 team ERA. Senior T.J. Walz is the ace of the staff with a 3.86 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings.
Scouting the Cornhuskers
Nebraska enters the weekend with a 20-11 record after downing Creighton, 8-5, on Tuesday night. The Huskers are looking to turn things around on the road after going 1-5 in true road games.
Nebraska’s offense ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a .293 batting average and is scoring 6.6 runs per game. Sophomore outfielder Kash Kalkowski leads the Huskers with a .384 batting average with four homers and 26 RBIs. Junior third baseman Cody Asche leads the Big 12 with 17 doubles and 31 runs scored and is batting .341 overall.
The Huskers’ pitching staff ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a 3.71 ERA and is holding its opponents to a .249 average. KU will face senior righty Matt Freeman on Friday night and freshman righty Jon Keller Saturday. Freeman is 4-2 with a 3.65 ERA and has recorded 32 strikeouts in 37 innings this year. Senior closer Casey Hauptman has won five games out of the bullpen and has two saves in 13 appearances.
Nebraska head coach Mike Anderson is in his ninth season with the Huskers and has an overall record of 327-182-2. Nebraska has a psuedo-RPI ranking of No. 81 heading into the weekend.
Last Time Out
Sophomore Thomas Taylor posted a career-high nine strikeouts, and the Kansas pitching staff retired the last 16 Missouri hitters consecutively to claim a 7-1 victory over the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday night.
– Kansas has two Nebraska natives on the squad in senior T.J. Walz (Omaha) and freshman Jaydee Jurgensen (Lincoln).
– Kansas outfielder Jimmy Waters grew up in near-by Council Bluffs, Iowa and was recruited to wrestle at the University of Nebraska.
– Nebraska junior catcher Samuel Stucky is a native of McPherson, Kan., while sophomore pitcher Tyler Lansangan is from Kansas City, Mo., and played at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College last season.
– Nebraska assistant coach Dave Bingham was the head coach at Kansas from 1988-95.
Stanny the Man
KU catcher James Stanfield has come back from an early-season injury and been one of the hottest hitters in the Jayhawk lineup. Stanfield is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak after collecting a single and a run scored against Missouri Wednesday.
Stanfield is batting .452 (14-for-31) during the streak with a double and two triples. His biggest key has been his ability to put the ball in play this season. The junior has struck out just six times in 62 plate appearances.
Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz has found his groove over his last four starts. Since March 11, Walz has posted a 2.48 ERA, allowing just eight earned runs over 29 innings. The senior righty has also struck out 37 and walked just seven during this timeframe.
Walz is the Jayhawks’ all-time leader in strikeouts (274) and ranks in the top 10 in several other categories. He is tied for second in wins (23), eighth in strikeouts per 9 IP (8.67), tied for second in games started (43) and is sixth in innings pitched (284.1).
Kansas pitchers Thomas Taylor, Frank Duncan and Colton Murray combined to throw the 21st one-hitter in team history Wednesday night against Missouri. Taylor allowed a leadoff single to Blake Brown in the first and then the Tigers were held hitless over the final nine frames.
The trio retired the final 17 Tigers they faced and combined for 13 strikeouts in a dominating performance. It was the first combined one-hitter by KU pitchers since 2008 when Andres Esquibel and Hiarali Garcia one-hit Texas Tech.
Junior first baseman Zac Elgie is swinging a hot bat in recent games, hitting .370 (17-for-46) with five doubles and a homer since the start of conference play on March 18. Elgie has raised his batting average by 72 points since mid-March and collected six multi-hit contests.
Elgie’s key has been his ability to hit with two strikes in the count. The junior is 9-for-19 (.474) when he faces a two-strike count this season.
– Kansas and Nebraska will meet for the final time in the regular season as conference foes this weekend. The Jayhawks and Huskers have been in the same baseball leagues since 1929, when both schools joined the Big Six Conference. KU and Nebraska had also previously been members of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1922-25.
– Kansas is looking for its third-straight conference series win at home. The Jayhawks have only done this once (2006) since joining the league in 1997.
– The Jayhawks defeated Missouri at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night to improve to 8-4 all-time in major league parks with four wins at Kauffman Stadium in as many years.
– KU earned a series win over then-No. 19 Baylor last weekend, giving the Jayhawks a 3-8 record against Top 25 opponents this season. KU’s 11 games against ranked teams are tied for the most in the Big 12.
– The grueling schedule has helped KU maintain a good RPI, despite a 13-16 record. Following action this weekend, the Jayhawks are ranked 62nd in psuedo RPI according to BoydsWorld.com.
– KU has been tough to beat (or tie) at home. The Jayhawks are 10-6 at Hoglund Ballpark and 68-25-1 (.729) at home over the last three-plus seasons, including 27-18-1 in Big 12 games.
– KU has hit and pitched better at Hoglund Ballpark this year. The Jayhawks are batting .277 at home, compared to just .196 on the road. The pitching staff’s ERA is 3.35 in Lawrence and 5.05 in away games.
– KU has been stellar with two outs since the start of conference play. Since March 18, the Jayhawks have collected 23 two-out RBIs in 12 games and are batting .318 (47-for-148) with two outs in an inning.
– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 12-2 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-14 when scoring three runs or less.
– With a lack of offensive production, the Jayhawks have been forced to run more than in the past. KU has stolen 30 bases in 45 attempts this season. Kansas stole 29 bases in 35 attempts all of last year.
– The NCAA released its third statistics report on Tuesday, and KU ranks in the top 100 in a handful of categories: The Jayhawks were 94th in the country in triples (7), 70th in times hit by pitch (33), 81st in ERA (3.78) and 95th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.9).
– Several players rank in the top 100 in Division I baseball individually: senior Brandon Macias ranks 62nd in times hit by pitch (8), senior Wally Marciel ranks 88th in wins (4), junior Colton Murray is 39th in saves (5), while senior T.J. Walz is 62nd in strikeouts per nine innings (10.02) and 29th in strikeouts (52).
– KU has played much better in conference games this season, batting 50 points higher against the Big 12 compared to non-conference games (.277 to .227).
Missouri Game Leftovers
– The Jayhawks defeated Missouri at Kauffman Stadium for the fourth time in as many years Wednesday night, 7-1. Since the teams started playing at the home of the Kansas City Royals annually, KU has outscored Mizzou, 18-4.
– Starting pitchers Thomas Taylor, Frank Duncan and Colton Murray combined on a one-hitter, which marked KU’s first one-hitter since 2008.
– The three KU pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts, which marked the second time in April that the Jayhawk pitching staff has tallied double-digit K’s in a game.
– Sophomore Thomas Taylor earned his second win in as many years at Kauffman Stadium and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts Wednesday. In two starts at Kauffman, Taylor is 2-0, and has allowed one run on three hits in 11 2/3 innings with three walks and fanned 17.
– Kansas catcher James Stanfield went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a career-best eight-straight games.
– Sophomore Jordan Dreiling went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to record his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game of the season. Dreiling made his first career outfield start Wednesday.
– The win was KU’s fifth-straight overall against the Tigers dating back to last season. Five consecutive wins over Missouri is KU’s longest streak in the series since the Jayhawks won 10-straight from 1922-25.
game series at Hoglund Ballpark, while last season KU took two-of-three from then-No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
The Jayhawks will hit the road for the first of four-straight contests away from Hoglund Ballpark Tuesday at Iowa. KU and the Hawkeyes will meet for the second time this season at 6:05 p.m. in Iowa City.