Kansas Takes On Red Raiders in Lubbock
April 19, 2007
The Kansas baseball team travels to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech in a three-game Big 12 series at Dan Law Field, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s game will begin at 2 p.m., while the series finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch Sunday. Friday’s game will be televised on Fox College Sports Central (Channel 145 on Sunflower Broadband). Both teams will wear orange and maroon batting practice tops on Friday to remember the victims of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Scouting the Red Raiders
Texas Tech enters the weekend series having lost three straight at No. 6 Texas last weekend. The Red Raiders’ mid-week game with the College of the Southwest was postponed due to wet playing conditions. TTU brings a 22-16 overall record into the series with a 5-9 mark in the Big 12.
Sophomore outfielder Roger Kieschnick is the team’s top hitter at .329 with 19 doubles, 10 homers and a team-high 39 runs scored. Junior catcher Matt Smith leads the squad in RBIs (37) and is tied for the team lead in homers (10).
On the mound, the Red Raiders’ top starting pitcher is sophomore righty A.J. Ramos, who is 7-2 with a 4.48 ERA and has 63 strikeouts in 11 starts this season. Ramos ranks fourth in the Big 12 in wins (seven), fourth in strikeouts (63) and ninth in innings pitched (62.1). TTU’s bullpen features a pair of righties in junior Collin Auten and freshman Paul Gonzalez. Auten is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and five saves in 17 appearances, while Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 4.26 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 17 appearances.
Head coach Larry Hays is in his 20th season at TTU and has a record of 783-438-3 (.641) at the school. Hays’ team returns 16 letterwinners and five position starters from last year’s squad, which finished eighth in the Big 12 at 31-26-1.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series 22-10, but is just 5-6 against the Jayhawks since 2003. Kansas took two of three from the Red Raiders last season in Lawrence.
Last Time Out
Kansas dropped a heart-breaker at No. 10 Wichita State on Wednesday, 2-1. Junior Brock Simpson scored KU’s only run in the fifth inning after a double, a stolen base and a wild pitch. However, the Shockers came back with single runs in the seventh and eighth to sweep the season series with KU. Junior Andres Esquibel and freshman Wally Marciel each pitched three scoreless innings.
Get Your Radio On
KU’s three-game series at Texas Tech 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 Matt Baty, who played at KU from 2003-06.
Lights, Camera, Jayhawks
KU will make its second national TV appearance of the year when the Jayhawks travel to Texas Tech on Friday. The game can be seen on Fox College Sports Central (Channel 145 on Sunflower Broadband).
Drew Dougherty will call the game for Fox College Sports Central, while Matt Miller will serve as the color analyst.
Junior right fielder Brock Simpson has hit out of six different spots in the batting order this season, but seems to have found a home near the bottom of the order.
Simpson is batting .583 (14-for-24) with two doubles and two triples when he bats in the final three spots in the order, compared to just .198 (24-for-122) when he hits in one of the top six spots of the batting order.
Despite batting just .260 this season, Simpson leads the team with 33 RBIs and is tied for fourth with 28 runs scored.
Freshman Wally Marciel has found a groove in the month of April. The lefty has made five appearances this month, and has allowed just one unearned run and nine hits in 14.1 innings.
Most importantly, Marciel has shown an ability to get ahead in the count and avoid walks. During April, Marciel has walked only two and struck out 12.
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 and 20th in the country 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.
No April Fools
Freshman third baseman Robby Price has been KU’s hottest hitter in the month of April. Since the calendar changed, Price has posted a .432 batting average with seven runs scored and seven RBIs.
Price has been on base more than any other Jayhawk in the month as well, reaching base at a .543 clip. The freshman has recorded seven multiple hit games in the month, including three, three-hit contests.
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 67 times in the team’s first 42 games, averaging 1.59 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 hit well against teams from the state of Texas, going 88-for-318 (.277) and have averaged eight runs per game against Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M this season. However, those offensive numbers have produced just three wins in nine games.
– KU has been stuck in the middle during the Big 12 season this year. So far, the Jayhawks are 4-1 in the middle game of their three-game series, but just 1-9 in the first and third games of the sets.
– Sophomore catcher Buck Afenir singled to lead off the ninth inning Wednesday against WSU lefty Noah Booth. Afenir is batting .324 against southpaws this 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 .306 with runners in scoring position (19-for-62) and .298 with two outs (17-for-57).
– 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. Both of his home runs have come against opponents from the state of Texas.
– 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 is batting .313 (15-for-48) with runners in scoring position, including .625 (5-for-8) with the bases loaded.
– Junior outfielder Casey Larson is batting .353 with two outs (6-for-17) and .313 (7-for-22) with men on base.
– 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 11.12 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 sixth 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.
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 on April 3. The same cable channel will broadcast the team’s Friday 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 take on Border Showdown rival Missouri for a fourth time this season in a non-conference game at Kauffman Stadium. The Jayhawks will look to even the season series with Mizzou at the home of the Kansas City Royals. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, in Kansas City, Mo.