Jayhawks Face In-State Rival Wichita State Tuesday

April 26, 2010


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Kansas vs. Wichita State

After dropping a pair of games Sunday to Texas Tech, the Kansas Jayhawks will travel south to face their in-state rival Wichita State in a Tuesday night game at Eck Stadium. KU and the Shockers will take the field at 7 p.m.

The game will be televised by Kansas 22, and also carried on MetroSports (Channel 37 in Lawrence). KLWN radio will broadcast the game on 1320 AM with Tom Hedrick calling the action.

Series with Wichita State

The Shockers lead the all-time series 41-24, including 20-11 in games played in Wichita. However, the Jayhawks swept the season series from WSU last year, winning 8-0 in Lawrence on March 11 and 8-3 in Wichita on May 6. The teams were scheduled to meet on Feb. 23 this season in Lawrence, however, the game was cancelled due to snow.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas dropped its second Big 12 series of the season over the weekend, falling 11-8 in the completion of a suspended game and 21-10 Sunday to Texas Tech. It was the first weekend series the team has dropped at home since April 4-6, 2009, against Baylor.

KU’s offense ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a .295 batting average and a .393 on-base percentage. Junior Brian Heere leads the team with a .394 batting average and 11 doubles, two triples and three homers. Senior Robby Price is hitting .360 after snapping a 22-game hitting streak on April 21.

Kansas struggled Sunday against Texas Tech, raising its team ERA to 4.88, which ranks seventh in the conference. Freshman Thomas Taylor, who will start Tuesday in Wichita, is 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in nine starts this season. Taylor broke a streak of 16 2/3 innings without allowing a walk or run in a relief appearance Sunday against Tech.

Scouting the Shockers

Wichita State won two of three from San Jose State over the weekend in a series that featured three one-run games. The Shockers have won four of their last six and are 10 games above .500.

The Shockers offense ranks sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a .289 batting average and a .386 on-base percentage. WSU averages 7.2 runs per game. Senior catcher Cody Lassley leads the team with a .349 batting average with eight homers and a .603 slugging percentage, while senior outfielder Ryan Jones has seven homers and a team-high 42 RBIs.

Wichita State’s pitching staff is among the best in The Valley with a 4.66 ERA, while holding opponents to a .278 batting average. KU will face Tobin Mateychick on Tuesday. The 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher will be making his sixth start of the season, and has a 2-0 record with a 4.50 ERA. Mateychick is holding opposing hitters to a .213 batting average.

Wichita State was picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference by the league coaches at the beginning of the season.

Last Time Out

Junior Brandon Macias hit his first collegiate grand slam, while Brian Heere and Tony Thompson each had two hits, but it was not nearly enough. Texas Tech collected 24 hits and tied a Big 12 record with 12 doubles as the Red Raiders earned the series victory with a 21-10 triumph over the Jayhawks Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

Taylor Made

Freshman right-handed pitcher Thomas Taylor has been sharp in his past three starts. The redshirt-freshman, who missed the entire 2009 season following Tommy John surgery, has held Creighton, Missouri State and Missouri scoreless in three consecutive starts during the month of April.

However, perhaps most impressive about Taylor’s past three starts has been the fact that he hasn’t surrendered a walk, and struck out 12 in those starts. Taylor averaged 2.3 walks per game in his first six starts of the season.

Power Surge

Junior shortstop Brandon Macias hit a pair of home runs in the Texas Tech series to give him three over KU’s past seven games. Prior to a three-run shot against Nebraska on April 17, Macias had just eight extra base hits in his first 31 games.

The junior shortstop seems to have figured things out lately, batting .276 in Big 12 games this season with 13 of his 21 RBIs this season coming against conference opponents.

Thompson’s Thunder

Kansas third baseman Tony Thompson got back on track this past weekend against Texas Tech, going 5-for-9 with a double and a home run – raising his season average by nearly 30 points.

It has been tough sledding for Thompson since returning from a knee injury, which sidelined him for the first seven weeks of the regular season. The junior struggled to a .231 batting average in his first 15 games back, but has hit safely in each of his last eight contests with seven RBIs in the last seven days.

Thompson also showed some power, blasting his first home run since the Texas series Sunday, to tie the game at eight.

Around the Horn

– Kansas travels to in-state rival Wichita State Tuesday night. This marks the first time since 1957 that there has been just one regular season meeting between the schools. The Jayhawks and Shockers were scheduled to play in Lawrence earlier in the season, however, the game was cancelled due to snow.

– The Jayhawks swept the season series from WSU for the first time since 2000 last year, winning 8-0 in Lawrence on March 11 and 8-3 in Wichita on May 6.

– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 122 runs in the first three innings of games, including 44 in the second inning alone. KU has also taken the first lead of the game 27 times this season in 42 games.

– KU’s bullpen has done an exceptional job of protecting leads late in the game this season. The Jayhawks are 21-2-1 in games where they’ve held a lead after six innings. KU’s relievers have posted a 4.51 ERA and are holding opponents to a .250 batting average this season.

– The 1-0 win over Missouri April 21 was the first by a KU team since 1983 when it topped Oklahoma by a 1-0 score on March 27. To put that in perspective, the Jayhawks have played 1,559 games since then and had lost six games by a 1-0 score more recently.

– The Jayhawks earned their first series win in Lincoln, Neb., since 1996 April 16-18. 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 .973 fielding percentage – which is fifth-best in the Big 12.

– Kansas has been plunked 67 times this season, which ranked as the 27th-most in Division I baseball as of last Wednesday. Junior Casey Lytle leads the team with 18 HBPs, which is just one away from the school record (Ryne Price, 19).

– Sophomore Jason Brunansky scored a pair of runs in the April 20 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 the April 20 game. 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 on April 20 to give him four for the season, and pass 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 seems to have worked himself out of a mini-slump, batting .441 (15-for-34) over the last nine games.

– 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 great job of setting the table for the rest of the lineup. Lytle is reaching base at a .484 clip when he leads off an inning and has scored 40 runs – which leads the team.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias hit his first collegiate grand slam in Sunday’s loss to Texas Tech. Macias became the first Jayhawk to record a slam since Jimmy Waters turned the trick against Tabor on March 10.

– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has been successful in the clutch this season, batting .422 with men on base in front of him, and .370 with two outs in the inning.

– Redshirt freshman Jake Marasco collected a pair of base hits in the series against Texas Tech, including a two-run double in the second game of the series. Marasco is fourth on the team with nine doubles this season.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price leads the Jayhawks with a .415 batting average in games against Big 12 opponents. In his career, Price is hitting .335 in conference games with 58 RBIs and 76 runs scored.

– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield collected RBIs in all three games of the Texas Tech series and has driven in at least one run in each of his last four games. Stanfield had been on an RBI drought, going over four weeks without driving in a run before tallying the only RBI of the 1-0 win on April 21.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson is batting .368 in road contests this season going 15-for-38 away from Hoglund Ballpark. Thompson enjoyed his best series of the year at Baylor March 26-28, going 6-for-10 with two doubles and a home run.

– Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters has shown good plate discipline this season, drawing 27 walks, which are the second-most on the team. Waters’ OPS (on-base plus slugging) ranks second on the team (1.027), behind only Robby Price (1.034).

– Senior lefty Travis Blankenship showed signs of returning to form recently. The senior southpaw recorded a two-inning save on April 21, protecting a one-run lead against Missouri.

– Junior Scott Heitshusen pitched a pair of scoreless innings April 20 against Benedictine, giving him five scoreless innings in three appearances this season.

– Junior Matt Kohorst has been difficult to hit this season, allowing just six hits in 13 innings of relief work, holding opponents to a .146 batting average. Kohorst has also allowed just two extra base hits in 10 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 three earned runs in the month of April, while making eight relief appearances (1.98 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 April 18, holding Nebraska to one run on five hits despite throwing first-pitch strikes to just six of the 22 batters he faced.

Up Next

Kansas will continue its week away from home with a three-game series at Oklahoma State beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday’s game will begin at 2 p.m., and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, while Sunday’s first pitch is set for 1 p.m.