Jayhawks Travel to Missouri for Border Showdown Series This Weekend
April 14, 2011
Kansas (16-17, 6-6) at Missouri (13-20, 1-7)
Friday-Sunday, April 15-17 – 6 p.m., 4 p.m., 1 p.m.
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium (3,031) – Columbia, Mo.
Friday, April 15
Saturday, April 16
Sunday, April 17
Kansas baseball takes on Border Showdown rival Missouri in a three-game Big 12 series at Simmons Field this weekend. The Jayhawks will tangle with the Tigers at 6 p.m. Friday evening and play the second game Saturday at 4 p.m., before Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale.
All three games from the Border Showdown series will be carried on Lawrence radio station KLWN (1320 AM), with Tom Hedrick and Kyle West calling the action. Fans can also watch live video of the games for a subscription fee at Missouri’s athletics web site: www.mutigers.com.
Missouri leads the all-time series with Kansas, 195-129 with two ties. However, the Jayhawks have won five-straight games from Missouri, including a 7-1 triumph at Kauffman Stadium on April 6. The Jayhawks are 16-14 against the Tigers under head coach Ritch Price. KU is looking for its first series win in Columbia since 1983.
About the Jayhawks
The Jayhawks have won four of five with the offense producing 37 runs in those five games. KU has won back-to-back conference series against Baylor and Nebraska the last two weekends.
KU is batting .250 with 12 homers and averaging 3.7 runs per game. Sophomore Jake Marasco leads the team with a .303 batting average with two homers and 11 RBIs. On the mound, the Jayhawks rank fifth in the Big 12 with a 3.61 ERA. Senior T.J. Walz is the ace of the KU staff with a 4-3 record and a 3.59 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.
Scouting the Tigers
Missouri enters the weekend series having lost eight-straight, including six consecutive losses in Big 12 play. The Tigers are 11-7 at Simmons Field this season.
Missouri ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a .257 batting average with nine homers and is averaging 4.5 runs per game. Senior outfielder Jonah Schmidt leads the team with a .314 batting average with four homers and 19 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Blake Brown is batting .268 and leads the team with 13 stolen bases and has 16 RBIs.
On the mound, the Tigers sport a 4.78 team ERA with opponents batting .287 against the pitching staff. Freshman left-hander Rob Zastryzny leads the team with a 2-2 record and a 3.08 ERA. Zastryzny has 14 walks and 43 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. Senior lefty Phil McCormick leads the Big 12 with 21 appearances out of the bullpen and has a 3-2 record with a 3.34 ERA and two saves.
Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson is in his 17th season with the Tigers and has a record of 557-402-2 at the school. MU’s pseudo RPI ranking is No. 118 according to Boyd’s World.
Last Time Out
Three Jayhawks blasted home runs and 10 different KU hitters reached base, while sophomore Thomas Taylor pitched a season-high seven shutout innings in Kansas’ 12-5 victory over Iowa at Duane Banks Field Tuesday night.
– Jayhawk outfielder Jordan Brown (Blue Springs, Mo.) is the only KU student-athlete who grew up in the state of Missouri.
– The Tigers also feature players from the Kansas City area: Sal Belfonte (Kansas City, Mo.) and Jeff Lusardi (Blue Springs, Mo.).
– Kansas left-handed pitcher Tyler Smith and Missouri infielder C.J. Jarvis are both from the Houston area. Smith graduated from Tomball High School, while Jarvis attended Houston Christian High School.
– Kansas senior outfielder Casey Lytle, first baseman Chris Manship and Missouri left-handed pitcher Brian Carr all grew up in the Phoenix, Ariz. area.
Border Showdown Update
The Kansas-Missouri baseball series is one of the last head-to-head competitions for this year’s Border Showdown series. The Tigers currently lead the competition, 16-12. Each game of the three-game series is worth one point in the competition.
Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz has found his groove over his last five starts. Since March 11, Walz has posted a 2.31 ERA, allowing just nine earned runs over 35 innings. The senior righty has also struck out 43 and walked just eight during this timeframe.
Walz is the Jayhawks’ all-time leader in strikeouts (280) and ranks in the top 10 in several other categories. He is second in wins (24), eighth in strikeouts per 9 IP (8.68), second in games started (44) and fourth in innings pitched (290.1).
With the temperatures warming up in the month of April, KU’s bats have been hot as well. Since the team was shutout at Missouri State on March 30, Kansas is hitting .292 as a team with 16 doubles, eight homers and has scored 52 runs.
The difference has been KU’s ability to hit for power. The Jayhawks have a .430 slugging percentage (25 extra base hits) over their last nine games, compared to a .308 slugging percentage in their first 24 games of the year.
Waters Runs Deep
KU senior Jimmy Watershas illustrated the team’s recent power surge better than anybody. Waters has homered in each of the team’s last two games and is batting .324 during the month of April with a .618 slugging percentage.
The senior outfielder is the fifth-leading hitter in the Big 12 in conference games at .378 with two doubles, a triple and two homers and ranks third in the league with 13 RBIs in Big 12 contests. Waters’ ability to make contact has been his key, having struck out just nine times in 139 plate appearances.
– Winning games in Columbia, Mo., has been a tough task for KU throughout the years. The Jayhawks are 29-90-1 all-time against the Tigers in Columbia and have not won a series there since 1983.
– Kansas center fielder Jason Brunansky was named Big 12 Player of the Week on April 11. Brunansky became the first Jayhawk to earn that distinction this year after going 7-for-12 (.538) with six runs scored and three RBIs in a three-game series against Nebraska.
– 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 16-17 record. Following action this week, the Jayhawks are ranked 57th in psuedo RPI according to BoydsWorld.com.
– The Jayhawks have experienced a power surge the last two games. KU has scored 23 runs and hit five home runs in its last two games, compared to seven homers and 100 runs in its first 31 games.
– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 15-2 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-15 when scoring three runs or less.
– The Jayhawks have 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.
– The Jayhawks’ starting pitching has been very good as well. KU’s starters have an ERA of 3.60 and 19 quality starts, while holding opposing hitters to a .254 batting average.
– The NCAA released its fourth set of national stats on Tuesday. Through games on April 10, KU ranks 63rd in the country in ERA (3.57), 56th in hits allowed per 9 IP (8.32) and 79th in times hit by pitch (37).
– Individual players ranked in the top 100 of the national Division I stats include: Colton Murray ranks 36th in saves (six), T.J. Walz is 32nd in strikeouts (58) and 62nd strikeouts per 9 IP (9.92), while Brandon Macias ranks 62nd in times hit by pitch (nine).
– Several KU players rank in the top 10 in Big 12 statistics. Junior Zac Elgie is tied for seventh in the league in doubles (10), senior T.J. Walz is sixth in innings pitched (52.2), tied for second in strikeouts (58) and eighth in opponents’ batting average (.213), while junior Colton Murray ranks fourth in saves (six).
Iowa Game Leftovers
– Kansas scored a season-high 12 runs and hit a season-best three homers Tuesday night.
– KU picked up its second road win of the year Tuesday night, improving to 2-7. However, the game at Iowa City marked just the team’s third true away game against an unranked opponent.
– Sophomore starting pitcher Thomas Taylor pitched a career-high seven innings against the Hawkeyes and allowed no runs on six hits. Over his last two starts, Taylor has allowed one run on seven hits in 13 innings.
– Junior Chris Manship went 3-for-3, marking his second three-hit game of the season. Manship also had three hits this season against Eastern Michigan on March 13.
– Senior Jimmy Waters hit a home run in his second consecutive game Tuesday. The last Jayhawk to homer in back-to-back games was Brian Heere, who homered against Kansas State on May 16 and at Arkansas-Little Rock on May 18 last year.
– Sophomore Jake Marasco has found his way out of a mid-season slump. Marasco went 2-for-3 Tuesday, which marked his team-best 11th multi-hit game of the year and second in the last three games.
– Senior Casey Lytle recorded an extra base hit in his third-straight game, going 2-for-4 with a double.
– Sophomore Kevin Kuntz recorded two RBIs for his first multi-RBI game of the year and second of his career.
– Sophomore Jordan Dreiling played three different positions in Tuesday’s win. Dreiling started the game in left field, moved to third base in the sixth inning and finished the game at second base.
KU Sends Nebraska Packing
Kansas closed out its final Big 12 series with long-time conference rival Nebraska in style, with an 11-5 series-clinching win at Hoglund Ballpark. The series win was KU’s third-straight over the Huskers, after going the previous 11 years without taking a three-game set from NU.
The series win was also KU’s third-straight at home to open Big 12 play, marking the first time since joining the league in 1997 that the Jayhawks have accomplished this feat.
KU will face Saint Mary at 6 p.m., Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark. The game is a makeup for one of KU’s rain outs earlier in the year.