Jayhawks Travel to Iowa for Tuesday Night Showdown

April 11, 2011

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Kansas (15-17) at Iowa (12-17)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 – 6:05 p.m.

Duane Banks Field (3,000) – Iowa City, Iowa


– Gametracker

Kansas baseball will travel to Iowa City, Iowa on Tuesday for a midweek game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Duane Banks Field. The Jayhawks and Hawkeyes will be meeting for the second time this season after KU took a 5-2 win from Iowa on Feb. 28 in Lawrence.

Tuesday’s game will feature Gametracker at www.kuathletics.com. Fans can also listen to Iowa’s broadcast for a subscription fee at the school’s official web site www.hawkeyesports.com.

Series History

Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa, 12-7, including 2-0 in games played in Iowa City. The Jayhawks swept a two-game midweek series from the Hawkeyes in 2009 and have won six of seven meetings over the last four seasons.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas took 2-of-3 from Nebraska over the weekend to improve its record to 15-17 overall and and 6-6 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks scored a season-high 11 runs on Sunday. KU is looking to get on track in away games this week, having gone 1-7 in its true road contests. The Jayhawks’ pseudo RPI ranking is No. 61.

The Jayhawks’ offense is batting .248 with nine homers and averaging 3.5 runs per game. Sophomore third baseman Jake Marasco leads the team with a .293 batting average, while junior Zac Elgie leads the club with 18 RBIs. KU’s pitching staff ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a 3.57 ERA and is holding opponents to a .249 batting average. Senior T.J. Walz leads the staff with a 3.59 ERA and a 4-3 record with 58 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

Scouting the Hawkeyes

Iowa enters the midweek series at 13-16 overall after taking 1-of-3 at Illinois over the weekend. The Hawkeyes have won three of their last five and are 3-5 at Duane Banks Field this season.

Iowa’s offense ranks seventh in the Big Ten with a .266 batting average. The Hawkeyes have hit five homers and are averaging 5.2 runs per game. Junior infielder Mike McQuillan leads the team with a .319 batting average and has driven in 18 runs this season. Junior Chett Zeise leads the team with two homers and is batting .313 with a .402 on-base percentage.

On the mound, the Hawkeyes sport a 4.45 ERA, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten. Iowa has not announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game, but a likely candidate would be junior right-handed pitcher Nick Brown. Brown is 3-2 with a 2.85 ERA in six starts this season. He pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief against KU in Lawrence and allowed two runs on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts.

Iowa head coach Jack Dahm is in his eighth season with the Hawkeyes and has an overall mark of 183-232. Iowa’s pseudo-RPI ranking is No. 150 according to BoydsWorld.com.

Last Time Out

Senior Jimmy Waters and junior Jason Brunansky each homered and combined for six RBIs as Kansas scored a season high 11 runs to pummel Nebraska, 11-5, in the rubber game of a three-game Big 12 series at Hoglund Ballpark Sunday afternoon.

Kansas-Iowa Connections

– Kansas senior outfielder Jimmy Waters is a native of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Waters graduated from Lewis Central High School.

– Iowa’s roster does not feature any players from Kansas.

– Iowa head coach Jack Dahm coached at Creighton for nine years before moving on to Iowa in 2003. Dahm is 7-9 in his career against Kansas at both institutions.

Bruno Comes Up Big

Kansas center fielder Jason Brunansky enjoyed one of his finest series at the plate last weekend against Nebraska. The junior from Poway, Calif., batted .583 (7-for-12) against the Huskers with a double, a homer and six runs scored. Brunansky also reached base successfully eight times in 13 plate appearances in the series.

Brunansky hit second in the order in all three games against Nebraska and flourished in that role. His ability to get on base in front of the middle of the order allowed the Jayhawks to score 18 runs in the series, including a season-best 11 in Sunday’s finale.

Turning the Corner

Kansas sophomore pitcher Thomas Taylor seemed to find his groove in last week’s start at Kauffman Stadium. After allowing a run in the second inning on a walk, two stolen bases and a sacrifice fly, the right-handed pitcher dominated Missouri. Taylor allowed just one base runner after the second inning and recorded five of his career-high nine strikeouts in innings 3-6.

Taylor was one of KU’s best pitchers during the month of April last season, sporting a 2-1 record with a 1.93 ERA and 24 strikeouts in four starts during the month in 2010, compared to a 6.07 ERA in the games before and after April.

Freshman Stopper

Kansas relief pitcher Frank Duncan was called on to protect leads in all three of KU’s wins last week, and responded with flying colors. Duncan pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief last week, including a career-best three innings in Sunday’s win over Nebraska.

The freshman righty has been a big reason for KU’s success in holding leads late in games. Duncan has allowed just two earned runs in his team-high 14 appearances and recorded 23 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. He has collected a hold in three of closer Colton Murray’s six saves this season.

Diamond Notes

– The Jayhawks will travel to Iowa City to meet the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Tuesday evening contest at Jack Dahm Stadium. This will mark KU’s third game in Iowa City after playing a two-game series there in 2009.

– KU earned a series win over then-No. 19 Baylor April 1-3, giving the Jayhawks a 3-8 record against Top 25 opponents this season. KU’s 11 games against ranked teams are third-most in the Big 12.

– The grueling schedule has helped KU maintain a good RPI, despite a 15-17 record. Following action this weekend, the Jayhawks are ranked 61st in psuedo RPI according to BoydsWorld.com.

– KU has been stellar with two outs since the start of conference play. Since March 18, the Jayhawks have collected 24 two-out RBIs in 15 games and are batting .306 (55-for-180) with two outs in an inning.

– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 14-2 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-15 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 47 attempts this season. Kansas stole 29 bases in 35 attempts all of last year.

– KU’s pitching has been tremendous at protecting leads this season. The Jayhawks are 14-1 this season when the team leads after six innings, while KU has recorded eight saves in nine chances this year.

– Several Jayhawks ranks in the Big 12’s top 10 in offensive and pitching categories: junior Zac Elgie is tied for seventh in doubles (10), while senior T.J. Walz is sixth in innings pitched (52.2), tied for second in strikeouts (58) and ninth in opponent’s batting average (.213). Junior Colton Murray ranks fourth in the league in saves (six).

Nebraska Series Leftovers

– Kansas earned its third-straight Big 12 series win in a row at home last weekend, defeating Nebraska twice in three games. This marks the first time that KU has accomplished this feat since joining the Big 12 in 1997.

– KU recorded series wins over Nebraska in the teams’ final three Big 12 series. Prior to the current streak, the Jayhawks had just one series win over the Huskers since 1997.

– KU senior Jimmy Waters homered in Sunday’s game and drove in six runs in the series. In seven career games against Nebraska, Waters has hit five home runs and collected 13 RBIs.

– Omaha, Neb. native T.J. Walz picked up his third victory in four starts against the Big Red on Friday night. In his career, Walz has gone 3-1 with a 4.56 ERA against the team from his home state.

– Junior Jason Brunansky had a productive series, going 7-for-12 with a walk, a double and his first home run of the season. Prior to the weekend set, Brunansky was hitting just .141 with four extra base hits.

– Freshman pitcher Frank Duncan recorded his 11th and 12th scoreless relief appearances of the season. Duncan has been sent in to protect a lead seven times this season and been successful every time.

– Junior Colton Murray recorded his sixth save of the season Friday night in seven chances. Murray has also held opponents scoreless in 10 of his 12 relief appearances.

– As a whole, KU’s bullpen held Nebraska without a run over 9 2/3 innings during the series. The group of Duncan, Murray, Scott Heitshusen and Wally Marciel combined to allow no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts over the weekend.

– The Jayhawks scored a season-high 11 runs in Sunday’s finale and collected six extra-base hits in the game, which matched a season high.

– In Friday night’s win, KU collected nine hits – all singles – and scored five runs. This matched KU’s season-high run total in a game that it did not produce an extra-base hit. The Jayhawks also scored five runs against Iowa on Feb. 28 when they recorded six singles.

– Freshman Alex Cox picked up his first collegiate victory in Sunday’s win over Nebraska. Cox allowed five runs over five innings, but held the Huskers to just one hit before the top of the fifth.

– Nebraska scored all of its runs in the series in the third and fifth innings.

Up Next

The Jayhawks will travel to Columbia, Mo., this weekend to battle Border Showdown rival Missouri at Simmons Field, beginning Friday, April 15. KU and the Tigers will tangle at 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and wrap up the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.