Kansas Looks to Get Back on Track at Missouri State Tuesday

April 12, 2010


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Kansas vs. Missouri State

After being swept in a three-game Big 12 series for the first time since March 2009, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to bounce back with a non-conference game Tuesday against Missouri State. The Jayhawks and Bears will meet for the second time this season – this time at Hammonds Field in Springfield, Mo. – at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

Tuesday’s game will be carried on KLWN radio (1320 AM). Fans can also tune in via the internet at www.klwn.com.

Series with Missouri State

Tuesday’s game between KU and Missouri State will be the 43rd all-time meeting on the baseball diamond. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 22-20 and have won four in a row dating back to an 11-7 triumph in Lawrence in 2007. MSU holds a 12-8 edge in games played in Springfield. The Bears’ last win in the series came on March 27, 2007.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas was on the wrong end of a couple of late-inning rallies in the Texas series and was swept for the first time this season. The Jayhawks had gone 8-2-1 prior to the series in Austin against the sixth-ranked Longhorns.

KU’s offense ranks ninth in the Big 12 with a .299 batting average and a .401 on-base percentage. The Jayhawks are averaging 7.0 runs per game this season and rank third in the league with 77 doubles. Center fielder Brian Heere leads the team with a .381 batting average with 10 doubles and 31 RBIs, while senior Robby Price is in the midst of a 17-game hitting streak with a .369 average and a .488 on-base percentage.

On the mound, KU has posted a 4.77 team ERA, which ranks seventh in the Big 12. Junior right-handed pitcher T.J. Walz leads the team with five victories and 50 strikeouts.

Scouting the Bears

Like Kansas, Missouri State was swept in a three-game conference series on the road – dropping three-straight to Bradley over the weekend. The Bears have been up and down this season. Prior to being swept by the Braves, MSU had won four in a row, sweeping a three-game series from Oral Roberts and downing Oklahoma State in a midweek game.

Missouri State is batting .275 as a team with a .364 on-base percentage and is averaging 5.2 runs per game. Sophomore infielder Kevin Medrano leads the Missouri Valley Conference with a .430 batting average with 10 doubles and 21 RBIs, while freshman catcher Luke Voit is hitting .286 with four homers and a team-high 27 RBIs.

On the mound, the Bears sport a team ERA of 4.74 and are holding opposing teams to a .295 batting average. Missouri State has not announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday, however, freshman right-handed pitcher Clay Murphy started last week’s game against Oklahoma State. Murphy is 1-0 this season with a 2.87 ERA in three starts with 28 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings.

Missouri State is currently 12-19 overall and 1-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Last Time Out

Texas veterans Kevin Lusson and Kevin Keyes both homered Sunday as the sixth-ranked Longhorns swept the three-game Big 12 series with a 10-4 triumph in front of 6,415 fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

We’re Going Streaking

Senior second baseman Robby Price went 4-for-13 in the Texas series to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17-straight games. During his streak, Price is hitting .426 with nine doubles, two triples, two homers and 22 RBIs. He also has nine multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI contests in the last 17 games.

His streak is tied for the ninth-longest in KU history, and is tied for the second-longest in the Big 12 this year. It’s KU’s longest streak since teammate Tony Thompson hit safely in 23 games during the 2009 season.

Rising Up the Charts

Junior Tony Thompson hit his 28th career home run in the sixth inning of Sunday’s loss at No. 6 Texas to move him into a fifth-place tie in career home runs at KU. Thompson has hit both of his home runs this season against Big 12 foes on the road.

Last season, the junior third baseman slugged a school-record 21 round-trippers, including 10 in Big 12 games. Thompson is hoping to get back into form this week after missing the first seven weeks of the season with a knee injury. In his first weekend back, the junior went 6-for-10 in a series at Baylor with two doubles and a solo home run.

Bochy to Miss Remainder of 2010 Season

Kansas junior relief pitcher Brett Bochy will miss the remainder of the 2010 season after undergoing successful Tommy John surgery last week in Pensacola, Fla. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews.

Bochy, a redshirt junior from Poway, Calif., was 2-0 for the Jayhawks in 12 relief appearances this season. The junior had posted a 0.78 ERA, allowing just two earned runs in 23 innings and collecting a team-high five saves. Bochy recorded saves in KU’s series win at then-No. 1 LSU in March, and recently collected a win and a save in the Jayhawks’ series win at Baylor.

Cardiac Kids

Kansas has had a flair for the dramatic in recent weeks, winning five 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 the 8-8 tie with No. 22 Texas A&M on April 2. 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.

The win over Creighton on April 7 saw the Jayhawks push a run across in the ninth against Bluejay closer Jack VanLeur with three consecutive hits.

Around the Horn

– Kansas travels to Missouri State Tuesday for a midweek game against the Bears. KU has gone 3-0 against Missouri Valley Conference opponents this season, including a pair of wins over Creighton.

– The Jayhawks will be looking to improve their road standing this week. KU enters the week 5-10 in true road games, including a three-game sweep at No. 6 Texas this past weekend. KU is batting just .286 away from Hoglund Ballpark, while the team has a 6.11 ERA in true road games.

– Kansas played to an 8-8 tie 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. Officially the series went down as a 1-1-1 split.

– 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.

– KU has done a great job of limiting its strikeouts this season. Through 33 games, KU has struck out a total of 194 times (5.9 per game). In the same time period, the Jayhawks have scored 231 runs, giving them a plus-37 in its runs/strikeouts ratio. Last year, KU was just plus-one in the same ratio.

– The Jayhawks are second in the Big 12 in walks (155) and rank in the top 20 nationally in that category. As a team, KU has a .401 on-base percentage, which is over 100 points higher than the team’s batting average.

– Kansas has collected 77 doubles already this season, which ranks third among Big 12 teams. Only Texas Tech (95) and Oklahoma State (81) have collected more two-base hits than the Jayhawks.

– Sophomore Jason Brunansky doubled in his first at bat at Rosenblatt Stadium on April 7. Brunansky has dominated left-handed pitching this season, going 7-for-12 against southpaws.

– 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 April 3 tie with Texas A&M. Elgie has hit safely in five of his last seven games, including a two-hit game against Missouri State on March 31.

– Center fielder Brian Heere collected his team-leading 15th multi-hit game in Friday’s loss at No. 6 Texas. Of his 15 multi-hit games, he has three hits in eight of them.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher got back on track at Texas over the weekend, batting .417 (5-for-12) against the Longhorns with a solo home run and two runs scored.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle was hit by a pitch in Sunday’s game giving him 14 for the season. Lytle is five away from tying Ryne Price’s mark when he was hit by a pitch 19 times during the 2007 season.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias collected two hits in Sunday’s loss to Texas. The junior shortstop is hitting .353 in Big 12 play with 12 hits in 35 at bats against conference pitching. He also has three multi-hit games in the Big 12.

– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has been extremely successful in the clutch. The sophomore catcher is batting .439 (18-for-41) with men on base, including .421 with men in scoring position.

– Kansas redshirt freshman Jake Marasco has had a knack for collecting two-base hits this season. Of his 18 hits this season, eight of them have been doubles, including a fifth-inning double against Creighton on April 7.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price leads the team in two-strike base hits with 17 this season. Price collected two more hits with two strikes this weekend at No. 6 Texas.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson recorded a pair of RBIs in Sunday’s loss at No. 6 Texas. The two-RBI game was Thompson’s third multi-RBI contest since returning from injury on March 23.

– Junior left fielder Jimmy Waters enjoyed a breakout series against Texas A&M April 1-3, going 8-for-13 at the plate with four doubles and seven RBIs against the Aggies. Waters has a .366 batting average and 12 RBIs in Big 12 games this season.

– Junior relief pitcher Matt Kohorst earned wins in back-to-back relief appearances on March 30 and 31. 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 looked sharp in the April 7 game at Creighton. The third-year southpaw allowed just one walk and one run in 2 1/3 innings on the mound.

– Sophomore Colton Murray fanned a pair of Texas hitters in the ninth inning on April 9 to get out of a bases loaded jam and force extra innings. After struggling early in the season, Murray has been lights out, holding opponents to just three runs on six hits over his last seven appearances, spanning nine innings.

– Senior Cameron Selik recorded the team’s first complete game this season, in a losing effort Saturday at Texas. Selik held the Longhorns to three runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over eight innings.

– Junior T.J. Walz pitched well in a no-decision Friday night at No. 6 Texas. The junior held the Longhorns to just one earned run on seven hits with seven strikouts in 8 1/3 innings. Against the Big 12 conference, Walz is 2-0 with a 4.84 ERA in three starts.

Up Next

Kansas will hit the road for the second weekend in a row, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a three-game Big 12 series April 16-18.