Jayhawks Travel to the Lone Star State to Battle Texas Tech
April 21, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
LAWRENCE, Kan. —The University of Kansas baseball team jumps back into conference play this weekend as its travels to Lubbock, Texas, to battle Texas Tech in a three-game Big 12 series at Dan Law Field.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks enter the series having been on the short side of the outcome in their last five contests. Kansas enters the weekend with a 24-19 overall record and a 3-9 mark in league play.
Junior outfielder Gus Milner has been one of KU’s most consistent hitters this season holding a .336 batting average with 34 RBI and a team-high eight home runs this season. The Olathe, Kan., native has connected on five home runs and drove in 14 runs in his last nine games. Fellow outfielder A.J. Van Slyke has also been impressive at the plate for the Jayhawks, leading the team in RBI with 38 and following closely behind Milner with seven long balls this season. Both Milner and Van Slyke slammed a two-run home run in the Jayhawks’ contest against Wichita State on Wednesday.
On the mound Friday, Kansas will be led by starter Kodiak Quick, who entered the week tied for the league lead in wins with eight. Freshman Tyson Corley will make the first start of his career in Saturday’s game. So far this season, Corley has compiled an 0-0 record and a 5.02 ERA in nine appearances. Senior Mike Zagurski moves from Friday night to Sunday starter this weekend as Kansas shakes up its weekend rotation.
Texas Tech enters the series in sixth place in the Big 12 with a 6-8 league record and a 24-13 overall mark.
Kansas Jayhawks (24-15; 3-6 Big 12)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (24-13; 6-8 Big 12)
Site: Dan Law Field (5,050) — Lubbock, Texas
Game Time (CST) — Pitching Match-Up
Fri. (April 22) 6:30 p.m. — Quick (8-4, 3.43) vs. Wyatt (4-3, 4.50)
Sat. (April 23) 2 p.m. — Corley (0-0, 5.02) vs. Lawford (2-4, 4.81)
Sun (APril 24) 1 p.m. — Zagurksi (4-4, 4.78) vs. TBA
Rankings: Both teams enter this weekend’s series unranked.
Coaches: Kansas head coach Ritch Price is 90-78-1 in his third year at KU and 307-306-1 in his 11th overall year of coaching at the Division 1 level. Texas Tech’s Larry Hays enters the weekend with a 720-384-2 record in his 19th season at Tech and is 1,414-765-3 in 35 years of coaching.
Series Information: Texas Tech leads 20-7
Audio: KLWN (1320 AM)
Texas Tech is powered this season by its impressive offense, which is among the best in the nation. The Red Raiders are hitting .318 as a team but have only connected on 29 team home runs. Shortstop Cameron Blair is one of the country’s best hitters, holding a .391 batting average with 12 home runs and 44 RBI.
In addition to Tech’s abilities at the plate, the Red Raiders are also very aggressive on the base paths. As a team, Tech has stolen 87 bases in 105 attempts this season and boasts four players who have at least 11 steals.
Kansas Baseball Notes
Czyz Approaches School Record for Appearances
Junior closer Don Czyz has been a work horse for head coach Ritch Price in his three season at KU and he enters the Texas Tech series on the verge of becoming KU’s all-time leader in pitching appearances.
Czyz’s appearance on April 20 against Wichita State was the 77th of his career and moves him only two appearances shy of Jimmy Walker’s school record of 79.
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 Wednesday’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.
Jayhawks’ Rematch with SMS Postponed Due to Rain
The Jayhawks will have to wait until May 11 to avenge an early season loss to SMS as the game between the two schools scheduled for March 23 was postponed due to heavy rainfall in the Springfield, Mo., area.
The game was rescheduled for May 11 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.