Jayhawks-Tigers Square Off at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday
April 21, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas vs. Missouri
After taking two of three at Nebraska and a midweek win from Benedictine, the Kansas Jayhawks will face Border Showdown rival Missouri in a non-conference game at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday. The Jayhawks and Tigers will take the field at 6:30 p.m. at the home of the Kansas City Royals.
Wednesday’s showdown at Kauffman Stadium can be heard in the Lawrence area on KLWN-AM (1320), or around the country at www.klwn.com. Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick will call the action from Kansas City.
Series with Missouri
The Tigers lead the all-time series with KU, 195-124 and there have been two ties. However, KU has won both meetings at Kauffman Stadium, including a 7-3 victory in last season’s game. The teams have split eight neutral site contests, 4-4.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas snapped out of a recent slide, winning four of its last five games – including three on the road. Like it did last season, KU has played well in midweek games, winning seven-straight dating back to March 17.
KU’s offense ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a .295 batting average and a .393 on-base percentage. Senior second baseman Robby Price has hit safely in 22 games this season, and has a .378 batting average with 15 doubles. Junior Jimmy Waters has a team-high eight homers and 44 RBIs.
Kansas has pitched better in recent weeks, dropping its team ERA to 4.60, which ranks sixth in the Big 12. Opponents are batting .268 against the Jayhawk staff. Freshman Thomas Taylor will start Wednesday, sporting a 3-0 record with a 3.72 ERA in eight starts this season.
Scouting the Tigers
Missouri enters Wednesday night’s game with a 19-16 record. The Tigers opened the season strong, but have struggled lately, going 7-10 since conference play started. MU dropped two of three at home to Oklahoma State last weekend.
The Tigers rank sixth in the Big 12 with a .300 batting average and a .399 on-base percentage. MU averages 7.8 runs per game. Senior first baseman/outfielder Aaron Senne leads the Big 12 with a .449 batting average with 16 doubles, 10 homers and a .787 slugging percentage. Junior Brett Nicholas leads the team with 42 RBIs and is batting .380 with a .458 on-base percentage.
On the mound, Missouri has a 4.64 team ERA, which ranks seventh in the Big 12. KU will face right-handed pitcher Eric Anderson Wednesday. Anderson has been MU’s Saturday pitcher, but went just 3 1/3 innings against Oklahoma State on April 17. He is 1-3 this season with a 5.80 ERA.
Missouri was picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 coaches’ preseason poll.
Last Time Out
Sophomore Zac Elgie hit a pair of home runs and collected four RBIs, while junior Brian Heere recorded three hits to lead Kansas past Benedictine, 11-2 in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
We’re Going Streaking
Senior second baseman Robby Price collected an eighth-inning double Tuesday to extend his streak to 22-straight games with a base hit. During his streak, which began on March 17 at Tulane, Price is batting .433 (39-for-90) with 11 doubles, three triples, four homers and 28 RBIs. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Price has hit safely in 33 of 38 games this season, and has reached base in all but three contests.
Price’s streak is the second-longest in the Big 12 this season, just four behind Kansas State’s Nick Martini’s 26-game streak. Price’s streak also ranks as the third-longest in KU history.
Sophomore Zac Elgie became the second Jayhawk in as many games to record a multi-homer game when he collected a pair of round-trippers in Tuesday’s win over Benedictine College. It marked the sophomore’s first career multi-homer game, and the second by a Jayhawk this season (Jimmy Waters – April 18 vs. Nebraska).
Since getting off to a slow start, Elgie has found his stroke in recent weeks, going 10-for-28 with three homers and eight RBIs since March 20. His four homers rank as the second-most by a KU player this season.
Junior left fielder Jimmy Waters enjoyed quite a weekend in Nebraska, collecting four hits in the three-game series – all of which left the ballpark. Waters snapped out of an 0-for-18 on Friday night with a two-run homer. He added a solo homer in Saturday’s game and a pair of round-trippers Sunday.
Waters’ four-homer weekend in Lincoln, Neb., had to be especially sweet for the Kansas junior. Waters grew up in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa and was actually offered a wresting scholarship at the University of Nebraska.
Waters has been KU’s top power source this season, recording eight homers and a team-best .615 slugging percentage.
Taylor Takes Over
Kansas freshman Thomas Taylor has hit his stride in recent weeks. The rookie right-handed pitcher has not allowed a run in his last three outings, including his last two midweek starts.
Taylor pitched five scoreless innings on April 13 at Missouri State, recording a career-high eight strikeouts to pick up his third victory of the season. The freshman also tossed 2 2/3 innings at Creighton on April 7 and 2/3 of an inning at Nebraska last Saturday without allowing a run. During this three-game run, Taylor has not given up a walk and allowed just five hits.
Around the Horn
– Kansas faces Missouri at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday night. It will mark KU’s fourth game all-time at the home of the Kansas City Royals, and its 12th at a major league stadium all-time.
– The Jayhawks have cleaned up in midweek games this season, collecting a 10-4 record in contests played on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 111 runs in the first three innings of games, including 43 in the second inning alone. KU has also taken the first lead of the game 25 times this season in 38 games.
– KU’s bullpen has done an exceptional job of protecting leads late in the game this season. Heading into Wednesday, the Jayhawks are 20-1-1 in games where they’ve held a lead after six innings. KU’s relievers have posted a 4.15 ERA and are holding opponents to a .246 batting average this season.
– The Jayhawks earned their first series win in Lincoln, Neb., since 1996 last weekend. Junior Jimmy Waters powered KU with four home runs, while senior Cameron Selik and freshman Tanner Poppe each earned victories on the mound.
– 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.
– The Jayhawks have been solid in the field this season, recording a .975 fielding percentage – which is tied for the third-best in the Big 12, and have committed the fourth-fewest errors in the conference (35). KU also ranks third in the league in double plays turned (33).
– Sophomore Jason Brunansky scored a pair of runs in Tuesday’s win over Benedictine without the benefit of a base hit. Brunansky has done a great job of reaching base this season, recording a .482 on-base percentage.
– Freshman catcher Alex DeLeon recorded a base hit in Tuesday’s game against Benedictine. The first-year catcher is hitting .235 in home games this season.
– 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 homered twice Tuesday, passing his home run total from a year ago in 13 fewer games. This season, Elgie is averaging a home run every 16.75 at bats.
– Center fielder Brian Heere has worked his way out of a recent slump, collecting five hits in KU’s last two games. Prior to Sunday’s win at Nebraska, Heere had gone 2-for-18. However, the junior outfielder has now collected five hits in his last eight at bats.
– After going hitless in his first five Big 12 games, senior first baseman Brett Lisher got back on track at Texas April 9-11, batting .417 (5-for-12) against the Longhorns with a solo home run and two runs scored.
– Right fielder Casey Lytle has done a tremendous job as the team’s leadoff hitter. The junior has reached base at a .410 clip overall, but that number jumps to .475 when he leads off an inning.
– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias recorded his first Kansas home run in Saturday’s win over Nebraska, and also singled. In 12 games against Big 12 foes, Macias is batting .318.
– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has been successful in the clutch this season, batting .439 with men in base in front of him, and .370 with two outs in the inning.
– Redshirt freshman Jake Marasco collected a pair of base hits in Tuesday’s win over Benedictine. It was Marasco’s first multi-hit game since a two-hit game against Baylor March 28.
– Senior second baseman Robby Price leads the team in two-strike base hits with 19 this season. Price extended his hitting streak Tuesday with a double in a 2-2 count.
– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson missed the first seven weeks of the season with a knee injury, but is coming back into form. Thompson has hit safely in seven of his last nine games.
– Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters has shown good plate discipline this season, drawing 23 walks, which are the second-most on the team. Waters OPS (on-base plus slugging) ranks second on the team (1.062) behind only Robby Price (1.077).
– Senior lefty Travis Blankenship showed signs of returning to form last weekend. The senior southpaw made a pair of scoreless relief appearances including 1 2/3 innings of dominance Sunday when he struck out three of the five Huskers he faced.
– Junior Scott Heitshusen pitched a pair of scoreless innings Tuesday against Benedictine, giving him five scoreless innings in three appearances this season.
– Junior Matt Kohorst has been difficult to hit this season, allowing just four hits in 11 2/3 innings of relief work. Kohorst has also allowed just one extra base hit in nine appearances.
– Junior left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel has been one of KU’s most reliable arms out of the bullpen. The junior has allowed just two earned runs in the month of April, while making six relief appearances (1.74 ERA).
– Sophomore Colton Murray has excelled in bases loaded situations this season. Murray has faced nine batters with the bases loaded and allowed just one hit, while recording six strikeouts.
– Freshman Tanner Poppe recorded his first Big 12 win Sunday, holding Nebraska to one run on five hits despite throwing first-pitch strikes to just six of the 22 batters he faced.
– Senior Cameron Selik has bounced back from a rocky start in the Big 12. In Selik’s first two starts (at Baylor and vs. Texas A&M), he allowed 12 runs on 18 hits over 10 1/3 innings. In his last two outings, he has held Texas and Nebraska to three earned runs on nine hits over 15 innings.
Kansas will host Texas Tech in a three-game Big 12 series beginning Friday, April 23 at 7 p.m. Game two of the series will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, while Sunday’s finale is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch.