Kansas Baseball to Host No. 12 Baylor in Big 12 Match-Up
April 14, 2005
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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas baseball team will resume conference play this weekend as it entertains No. 12 Baylor in a three-game series at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Bears enter the weekend third in the race for the Big 12 regular season title with a 9-3 league mark. Baylor holds a 22-13 overall record this season and has posted victories in five of its last six conference games.
Kansas is led offensively by the reining co-Big 12 Player of the Week, junior outfielder Gus Milner. The Olathe, Kan., native pounded three home runs with 10 RBI a week ago to become the third Jayhawk to capture conference Player of the Week honors. Fellow KU outfielders Matt Baty and A.J. Van Slyke have each received the accolade this season, making the KU outfield one of the most potent in the country.
On the hill, junior pitcher Kodiak Quick leads the Big 12 with eight victories this season and is currently tied for the national lead heading into the weekend. The Belton, Mo., native will start Sunday’s contest for the Jayhawks. Entering the weekend, Quick holds an 8-3 record with a 3.51 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings pitched this season.
Baylor entered the season ranked 11th by Baseball America and made national headlines as it swept three games from top-ranked Texas in the first weekend of Big 12 play on March 18-20. The Bears dropped two of three games to Oklahoma State in their only road conference this season and have dropped five of their last six games away from Waco making them 7-6 on the road this season.
No. 12 Baylor Bears (22-13; 9-3 Big 12)
Kansas Jayhawks (24-15; 3-6 Big 12)
Site: Hoglund Ballpark (7,851) — Lawrence, Kan.
Game Time (CST) — Pitching Match-Up
Fri. (April 15) 7 p.m. — Taylor (3-3, 3.88) vs. Zagurski (4-3, 4.22)
Sat. (April 16) 6 p.m. — McCormick (4-2, 3.02) vs. Land (3-3, 5.20)
Sun. (April 17) 1 p.m. — Van Allen (6-2, 3.63) vs. Quick (8-3, 3.51)
Rankings: Kansas is receiving votes in the NCBWA poll, while Baylor is ranked in all four major college baseball polls — Baseball America (12th), Collegiate Baseball (16th), Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches (16th) and NCBWA (23rd).
Coaches: Kansas head coach Ritch Price is 90-74-1 in his third year at KU and 307-302-1 in his 11th overall year of coaching at the Division 1 level. Baylor’s Steve Smith is 384-247-1 in his 11th season at Baylor.
Baylor leads 25-3
Audio: KLWN (1320 AM)
The Ritch Price Show airs weekly on Mondays from 6:00-6:30 p.m. on KLWN (1320 AM). The show is broadcast live from the Salty Iguana restaurant.
A Closer Look at Baylor
The Bears are currently second in the Big 12 with a 9-3 conference record. They trail only Missouri, who leads the conference with an 8-1 league mark.
The Baylor pitching staff has been impressive this season, collecting a 3.31 team ERA. Junior Mark McCormick, who has drawn national praise for his efforts this season, will toe the rubber for Baylor on Saturday. This season, McCormick holds a 4-2 record with a 3.02 ERA and has collected 52 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Cory VanAllen, who leads the BU staff with six wins, will be the starter for Sunday’s series finale.
At the plate, the Bears are hitting only .264 as a team, but have outscored their opponents this season 181-149. Junior designated hitter Zach Dillon is pacing Baylor with a .322 average at the plate, while senior catcher Josh Ford leads the team with 25 runs driven in.
Series Record: Baylor leads 25-3
In Lawrence: Baylor leads 9-3
In Waco: Baylor leads 15-0
at Neutral Sties: Baylor leads 1-0
First Game: Baylor 8, Kansas 1 during the 1957 season
Last Meeting: Baylor swept two games from KU in Waco last season
Price vs. Baylor: 1-4
Kansas Baseball Notes
Kansas Outfield Continues to Draw National Attention
The Jayhawks’ trio of starting outfielders came into the season as a source of strength for the team and have not disappointed as the team drove for its goal of a record-tying third-consecutive 30-win season.
Juniors Matt Baty, Gus Milner and A.J. Van Slyke have all been impressive at the plate this season. Milner and Van Slyke enter Wednesday’s game with Wichita State leading the team with six home runs apiece while Baty continues his strong play at the top of the KU batting order.
Already this season each member of the starting outfield has been honored as the Big 12 Player of the Week — Baty on Feb. 15, Van Slyke on March 1 and Milner on April 12.
Milner Honored as Co-Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior outfielder Gus Milner was honored as the Big 12’s Co-Player of the Week on April12 after he turned in an outstanding week at the plate helping the University of Kansas down in-state rival Wichita State and post a victory in its series finale at Oklahoma.
Milner shared the weekly honor with infielder Cameron Blair of Texas Tech while Pitcher of the Week honors went to J. Brent Cox of the University of Texas.
In April 6’s contest against the Shockers, Milner blasted a pair of home runs with six RBI in a 4-for-5 performance at the plate. Milner added a double and a single in the game to fall only a triple short of hitting for the cycle. The two-home run performance was the second of the season for Milner, who also slammed a pair of long-balls against Stanford on Feb. 12.
Although he missed out on the cycle, Milner would place his name in the KU record books during the week as he completed another rarity in baseball — an inside-the-park home run. With the Jayhawks needing a rally against the Sooners on Saturday, Milner stepped to the plate with a pair of runners on base and blasted a ball off the wall in center field that eluded the outfielder. Milner came around to score KU’s first inside-the-park round-tripper since Ryan Baty’s against Texas Tech on April 13, 2003.