Kansas Travels to Nebraska for Weekend Set

April 15, 2010


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Kansas vs. Nebraska

After a midweek win at Missouri State Tuesday night, the Kansas Jayhawks will wrap up their eight-game road trip with a Big 12 series at Nebraska this weekend. The Jayhawks and Huskers will meet Friday evening at 6:35 p.m., Saturday at 4:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Sunday’s game will be televised by national cable station CBS College Sports (Channel 142 and 236 on Sunflower Cable). Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala will call the game for CBS College Sports.

The three-game series will also be carried on KLWN Radio (1320 AM) in Lawrence. Fans can also get the live broadcast at www.klwn.com. Veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick will call the action on KLWN.

Series with Nebraska

The Cornhuskers lead the all-time series with Kansas, 140-97 and there has been one tie. Nebraska also leads the series 69-35 in Lincoln, dating back to 1929. KU hasn’t won a series in Lincoln since the 1996 season – the last year both schools were members of the Big Eight Conference.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas travels to Lincoln, Neb., looking to get back on track. After winning six of seven to end the month of March, KU is just 3-4-1 in the month of April thus far.

KU’s offense ranks ninth in the Big 12 with a .297 batting average and a .399 on-base percentage. Junior center fielder Brian Heere leads the team with a .380 batting average with 11 doubles, while Robby Price has hit safely in 18-straight games and has a team-best .485 on-base percentage.

KU has a team ERA of 4.71, which ranks seventh in the conference. Junior right-handed pitcher T.J. Walz has been the Jayhawks’ ace, posting a 5-2 record and 50 strikeouts.

Scouting the Huskers

Nebraska routed Wichita State Tuesday to improve to 17-16 overall. The Huskers will be looking for their first Big 12 series win this weekend after taking one of three against Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

Nebraska ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a .310 batting average and a .404 on-base percentage. The Huskers average 7.2 runs per game. Senior outfielder Adam Bailey ranks second in the Big 12 with a .421 batting average and a league-best 14 homers. Fellow senior D.J. Belfonte is second on the team with a .389 average and has 10 stolen bases this season.

On the mound, Nebraska has a 5.37 team ERA, which ranks ninth in the Big 12. Freshman Tom Lemke has been the team’s top starting pitcher, posting a 4-3 record with a 4.76 ERA while holding opposing teams to a .254 batting average.

Nebraska was picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll.

Last Time Out

Freshman Thomas Taylor struck out a career-high eight men, and held Missouri State to just one hit over five innings, while senior Robby Price went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs as Kansas swept the season series from Missouri State with a 6-4 triumph Tuesday evening at Hammonds Field.

We’re Going Streaking

Senior second baseman Robby Price went 2-for-5 against Missouri State Tuesday to extend his career-best hitting streak to 18-straight games. During his streak, Price is hitting .425 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers and 25 RBIs. He is also reaching base at a .511 clip during his streak, and has 10 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI contests in the last 18 games.

His streak is tied for the seventh-longest in KU history, and is the second-longest in the Big 12 this year. After Kansas State’s Nick Martini went 0-for-2 Tuesday at BYU, Price’s is the longest active streak in the Big 12.

Wonder Walz

Junior starting pitcher T.J. Walz seems to have found his groove again after a rough stretch in the middle of March. The third-year righty has allowed five earned runs over his last 20 1/3 innings (2.21 ERA) with four walks and 17 strikeouts during that span.

Walz has historically pitched well against Nebraska – sporting a 2-0 record with a 2.93 ERA in two starts against the school from his home state. Walz posted his first career 10-strikeout performance against the Huskers last season in Lawrence.

He has also gone 10-2 against the Big 12 in 18 career conference starts, with an ERA of 4.76 and 103 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings.

Lytle Honored by Community of Champions

Kansas junior right fielder Casey Lytle has been selected as a Big 12 Conference Chick-Fil-A Community of Champions honoree for the 2010 spring season. The conference recognizes one athlete from each institution, regardless of sport, based on academics, community service and leadership/sportsmanship.

Lytle, a junior outfielder from Phoenix, Ariz., was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2009 while majoring in business. He was an active member in KU’s student-athletes’ service projects.

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 two 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 Lincoln, Neb., to meet Nebraska this weekend. The Jayhawks will be looking for their first series win at Haymarket Park, which opened in 2002.

– The Jayhawks will be looking to improve their road standing this week. KU enters the week 6-10 in true road games, but won 6-4 at Missouri State on Tuesday. KU is batting just .282 away from Hoglund Ballpark, while the team has a 5.91 ERA in true road games.

– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 102 runs in the first three innings of games, including 40 in the second inning alone. KU has also taken the first lead of the game 23 times this season in 34 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 34 games, KU has struck out a total of 199 times (5.9 per game). In the same time period, the Jayhawks have scored 237 runs, giving them a plus-38 in its runs/strikeouts ratio. Last year, KU was just plus-one in the same ratio.

– The Jayhawks are tied for the Big 12 lead in walks (158) and rank in the top 20 nationally in that category. As a team, KU has a .399 on-base percentage, which is over 100 points higher than the team’s batting average.

– Kansas has collected 78 doubles already this season, which ranks third among Big 12 teams. Only Texas Tech (95) and Oklahoma State (84) 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 gone 1-for-3 as a pinch hitter this season.

– Center fielder Brian Heere collected his team-leading 15th multi-hit game in the April 9 loss at No. 6 Texas. Of his 15 multi-hit games, five of them have come at the expense of Big 12 Conference opponents.

– After going hitless in his first five Big 12 games, senior first baseman Brett Lisher got back on track at Texas last weekend, batting .417 (5-for-12) against the Longhorns with a solo home run and two runs scored.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle has shown signs of coming out of his slump, going 3-for-8 with two runs scored and two RBIs in his last last two contests. Lytle has also been hit by pitch 15 times this season, tied for sixth most in team history.

– 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.

– 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 last weekend at No. 6 Texas.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson hit his 28th career home run in the April 11 loss at No. 6 Texas. Thompson is tied for fifth in career round-trippers at KU with Ryan Baty (2000-04).

– 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 continued to look sharp Tuesday at Missouri State. Marciel has allowed just one earned run over his last five appearances, which spans nine innings (1.00 ERA).

– Sophomore Colton Murray has taken over the closer’s role from the injured Brett Bochy and run with it. Tuesday at Missouri State, Murray worked out of a bases loaded jam for the second straight appearance. Murray has recorded 11 strikeouts in his last four relief outings (6 2/3 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 this year, and 10-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 18 conference starts in his career.

Up Next

Kansas will play host to Benedictine in a non-Division I game on Tuesday, April 20 at 6 p.m. Fans can enter Hoglund Ballpark free of charge for the contest.