Jayhawks travel to Wichita to face No. 10 Shockers
April 17, 2007
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The Kansas baseball team faces in-state rival Wichita State Wednesday in a non-conference game at Eck Stadium. The Jayhawks and Shockers will square off in a rematch of a March 14 contest at 7 p.m.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Scouting the Shockers
Wichita State enters Wednesday’s tilt with Kansas as the 10th-ranked team in the country according to Baseball America. The Shockers swept a three-game series at Southern Illinois and had won six straight heading into a Tuesday game with Oral Roberts.
Junior infielder Damon Sublett leads the team with a .387 batting average, 60 hits and a .455 on-base percentage. Junior outfielder Matt Brown is tops on the team with six home runs, while third baseman Connor Gillaspie has a team-high .580 slugging percentage.
On the mound, junior righty Travis Banwart is the team’s best starting pitcher with a 6-2 record and a 1.91 ERA in 61.1 innings. Out of the bullpen, senior Noah Krol is 0-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a team-high eight saves. Krol has 18 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
Head coach Gene Stephenson is in his 30th season at WSU and has an overall record of 1,582-519-3. Stephenson has the best winning percentage (.753) among active Division I coaches. His team returns 21 letterwinners and seven position starters from last year’s squad, which finished 46-22 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Shockers lead the all-time series with Kansas, 40-21, including a 6-5 advantage over the last five years. WSU defeated KU, 18-3, in the team’s earlier matchup this season.
Last Time Out
Once again, the Jayhawks won the middle game of a three-game Big 12 series. This time Ryne Price’s walk-off homer lifted KU to a 4-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday over Baylor. The Bears won the first and third games of the series by 6-2 scores. Freshman Robby Price led the offensive attack, going 6-for-12, while junior starting pitcher Zach Ashwood pitched 5.1 strong innings, allowing just two runs in KU’s win.
Get Your Radio On
KU’s game against No. 10 Wichita State will be broadcast on KLWN (1320 AM) as well as on kuathletics.com.
KLWN Sports Director Brian Hanni will call the action along with former Jayhawk Jake Kauzlarich, who played at KU from 2003-05.
The Price is Right
Freshman third baseman Robby Price has been KU’s hottest hitter. Since the calendar turned from March to April, Price has posted a .457 batting average with seven runs scored and seven RBIs.
Price has also been the team’s most consistent hitter, collecting 16 hits. He has been on base more than any other Jayhawk in the month as well, reaching base at a .548 clip. The freshman has recorded seven multiple hit games in the month, including three, three-hit contests.
Freshman Wally Marciel has also been sucessful in the month of April. The lefty has made four appearances this month, and has allowed just one unearned run and eight hits in 11.1 innings.
Most important, Marciel has been his ability to get ahead in the count and avoid walks. During April, Marciel has walked one and struck out nine. The freshman is scheduled to make his first start in a Big 12 game on Sunday against Texas Tech.
Sophomore Andy Marks struck out eight Baylor Bears on Sunday to move back into a tie for first in the Big 12 with 68 strikeouts this season, and first in the conference with 11.13 strikeouts/9 IP.
The second-year lefty needs to average 6.4 strikeouts in his final five starts to become just the fifth Jayhawk to amass 100 k’s in a single-season. Marks fanned a season-high 10 Oklahoma State hitters on March 25.
Kansas players have shown a knack not only for getting hits, but also getting hit this season. So far, the Jayhawks have been hit by pitch 66 times in the team’s first 41 games, averaging 1.61 hit batsman/game. The team record for most times hit by pitch in a season is 91, set by the 2005 Kansas squad.
Juniors John Allman and Ryne Price are also challenging Ritchie Price’s school record of 18 times hit in a single-season. Ryne Price has been hit 14 times this season, while Allman has been plunked 13 times.
With KU’s triumph over Baylor, head coach Ritch Price moved to within two victories of third place in all-time wins at the University of Kansas. Price is chasing former KU coach Bobby Randall, who had 166 career wins with the Jayhawks from 1996 to 2002. Floyd Temple holds the program record with 438 wins.
Around the Horn
– The Jayhawks have struggled in mid-week games this season. The team is just 5-5 against non-conference opponents on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this year.
– KU won the second game of its Big 12 series, but dropped first and third games for the fourth time this season.
– Sophomore catcher Buck Afenir went 2-for-4 in the first game of the Baylor series, marking his 10th multi-hit game of the season.
– Senior Dylan Parzyk went 1-for-2 in the third game of the Baylor series to up his batting average to .263. Last season, Parzyk batted just .161.
– Junior Ryne Price became the first Jayhawk since A.J. Van Slyke to hit a walk-off home run in Sunday’s win over Baylor. Five of Price’s eight home runs have come after the seventh inning this year, including three ninth-inning round-trippers.
– Junior Erik Morrison is batting .311 with runners in scoring position (19-for-61) and .309 with two outs (17-for-55).
– Freshman Robby Price has held his own against Big 12 opponents this season, batting .350 against the conference with a .437 on-base percentage.
– Junior John Allman hit his second home run in as many weekends in Sunday’s win over Baylor. Allman is one of 12 Jayhawks with a home run this season.
– Center fielder Kyle Murphy went 2-for-4 in the finale against Baylor for his team-leading 14th multiple hit game of the season. Last year, Murphy had just four games with two hits or more.
– Junior right fielder Brock Simpson went 3-for-4 in Sunday’s win over Baylor out of the No. 9 spot in the order. This season, Simpson is batting .619 (13-for-21) when he hits in one of the bottom three spots in the order, and .197 (24-for-122) when he hits out of the top six spots.
– Junior outfielder Casey Larson is batting .353 with two men out and is .318 with men on base this season.
– Sophomore lefty Nick Czyz struck out four Baylor hitters in his start on Saturday to give him 100 career strikeouts at KU. Czyz is currently second on the team and 10th in the conference with 55 k’s this season.
– Kansas is 6-4 in games started by Zach Ashwood this season, including 4-1 in Big 12 games started by the junior southpaw.
– Sophomore lefty Andy Marks leads the Big 12 with an 11.13 K/9IP ratio. He also has a 3.4 strikeouts to walks ratio, with 68 k’s and 20 walks this season.
– Sophomore Paul Smyth earned his third victory in relief Sunday against Baylor. Smyth leads the bullpen with three victories in relief this season and five saves.
– Former Jayhawk, and current Pittsburgh Pirate, Tom Gorzelanny earned his second victory of the season with a win Tuesday afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals. Gorzelanny pitched 8.1 innings, allowing just one run and scattering four hits. The former Jayhawk is 2-0 this season with a 1.33 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.
– Former Jayhawk Travis Metcalf homered twice in the first 10 games this season with the Frisco RoughRiders, the AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Jayhawks Add a Game
Due to the cancellation of last Tuesday’s game with Oral Roberts, the Jayhawks have added a game to the Chicago State series. KU will now face the Cougars in a four game series, with single games on May 11 and May 13 and a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.
Save for any more rainouts, the doubleheader would be the fifth for the Jayhawks during the 2007 season.
Oh, What a Night
On March 17, Kansas and eighth-ranked Texas A&M competed in a baseball battle of epic proportions. The teams combined for 30 runs and 33 hits in 11 innings, that ended after KU’s Erik Morrison, Dylan Parzyk and Justin Ellrich drove in runs in the top of the 11th and Jayhawk reliever Paul Smyth retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning.
KU held a 10-2 lead after the top of the fifth, but surrendered eight runs in the bottom of the inning. The Jayhawks took the lead twice before extra innings, only to be equalized again in the next half-inning.
The Jayhawks’ top three in the batting order: Kyle Murphy, Robby Price and John Allman combined for nine hits, seven runs scored and seven RBIs.
Lights, Camera, Jayhawks
KU is scheduled to make three television appearances this season, including one national TV appearance. The Jayhawks’ game against in-state rival Kansas State on May 5 will be seen across the country on Fox Sports Net.
The Jayhawks appeared on Fox College Sports Central in a non-conference game against K-State last Tuesday. The same cable channel will broadcast the team’s April 20 showdown at Texas Tech.
Up All Night
KU’s three-game series against South Dakota State was played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Jayhawks and Jackrabbits opened play on Saturday morning with a doubleheader at 1:30 a.m. The second game of the twinbill was suspended due to time constraints and completed Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m., prior to the third game of the series.
The unusual starting times for the three contests were due to the Hurricane Winter Invitational which was already scheduled in the dome that weekend. The invitational featured NCAA Division II and NAIA teams from neighboring states.
Major League Bloodlines
Several players on the 2007 Jayhawk baseball team have relatives who have played in the major leagues. They include:
– Buck Afenir’s uncle, Troy Afenir, played in four major league seasons for Houston, Oakland and Cincinnati.
– Brett Bochy’s father, Bruce Bochy, played in the major leagues from 1978-87 for Houston, San Diego and the New York Mets. He also managed the Padres from 1995-2006, and is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants.
– Casey Larson’s father, Dan Larson, played in the major leagues from 1967-82. He played for Houston, Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs.
– Joe Servais’ cousin, Scott Servais, played in the major leagues from 1991-2001 for Houston, Colorado, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs.
A handful of Jayhawks have also followed older siblings onto the KU baseball team. They include:
– Nick Czyz’ older brother Don pitched at KU from 2003-06. Don was drafted by the Florida Marlins after last season.
– Preston Land’s brother, Sean, pitched for the Jayhawks from 2004-06. Sean was drafted by the Minnesota Twins at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
– Ryne and Robby Price’s older brother, Ritchie, also played at KU from 2003-06. Ritchie was drafted by the New York Mets last season.
Kansas will travel to Lubbock, Texas for a three-game series at Texas Tech beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. Friday’s game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports Central (Channel 145 in Lawrence).