Jayhawks-Tigers Renew Border Showdown Rivalry Tuesday

April 28, 2008

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The Jayhawks will look to score a non-conference win over their Border Showdown rival, No. 14 Missouri, in a Tuesday evening game at Kauffman Stadium – home of the Kansas City Royals. KU and MU will meet in a game that will not count toward the Big 12 standings at 7 p.m. Missouri will be the home team in this neutral site affair.

Tuesday’s game can be heard live on KLWN Radio (1320 AM) as well as on KJHK (90.7 FM) in the Lawrence area. KLWN’s broadcast with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick on the call can also be heard at www.kuathletics.com.

The Series vs. Missouri

This will be the first neutral site meeting during the regular season since 1983, when the teams played a game in Edinburg, Texas. Missouri leads the all-time series on the baseball diamond, 191-120 with two ties. The Tigers took a three-game series from Kansas last year, scoring a 10-9, walk-off win in the series finale in Columbia. Last year the teams were scheduled to play a game at Kauffman Stadium that was rained out.

Scouting the Tigers

Like Kansas, Missouri was swept in its weekend Big 12 series to fall to fourth-place in the conference standings. MU started the season 20-3 and were ranked as high as No. 2 in the Baseball America national poll. However, since winning the opening game of a series at Texas Tech on March 27, the Tigers are just 9-11. MU is 20-5 in non-conference games this season and 5-1 in neutral site contests.

Freshman Andrew Thigpen is Missouri’s leading hitter with a .382 batting average and a .462 on-base percentage in 19 games this season. Senior outfielder Jacob Priday is the team’s top power source with 13 homers, 51 RBIs and a .333 batting average this season.

Missouri is planning to start junior Ian Berger Tuesday against the Jayhawks. Berger is 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA and a 45-12 strikeouts to walks ratio. He pitched six innings on April 23 against SIU, and did not factor into the decision. Three different Tigers have multiple saves for MU with freshman righty Nick Tepesch leading the way with a 4.66 ERA and four saves in 15 appearances.

Head coach Tim Jamieson is in his 14th season at MU and has a record of 470-322-2 at the school. Jamieson’s team returns 16 lettermen and six position starters from last year’s squad, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Last Time Out

Senior Casey Larson and freshman Tony Thompson each had two hits, but it was not enough to avoid a sweep in Stillwater. Oklahoma State scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a one-run deficit and earn a series sweep of Kansas, 8-3, Sunday afternoon at Reynolds Stadium.

Noting the Jayhawks

– Kansas will play Missouri in a non-conference game Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. The contest will not count toward either team’s Big 12 standing because it is in addition to the three-game conference series which takes place in Lawrence, May 9-11.

– Last season, the teams were scheduled to meet in a non-conference game at Kauffman Stadium, but the contest was rained out. This will be KU’s first non-conference, regular-season match up with Missouri since 1983.

– The Jayhawks’ meeting with No. 14 Missouri will mark the eighth straight contest against an opponent ranked in the Top 15; none of which have been at home. KU has traveled to No. 9 Nebraska (April 18-20), No. 7 Wichita State (April 22) and No. 13 Oklahoma State (April 25-27) over the past 10 days.

– KU pitchers have proven to be very good at erasing base runners. The Jayhawks have picked 11 men off base, including two each by Shaeffer Hall, Sam Freeman and T.J. Walz.

– Kansas became the second visiting team, and first Big 12 team, to win at Hawks Field this season. Prior to the April 20 triumph over the No. 9 Huskers, Nebraska had been unbeaten in 11- straight home contests, dating back to a March 19 meeting with Arkansas.

– Junior catcher Buck Afenir hit his seventh home run of the season Saturday at No. 13 Oklahoma State. Afenir has hit home runs against four of KU’s six Big 12 opponents this season.

– Senior John Allman drove in a pair of runs Sunday to give the Jayhawks a 3-2 lead at Oklahoma State. Allman has been a clutch perfomer all season, going 34-for-88 (.386) with men on base and 25-for-63 (.397) with runners in scoring position.

– Utility infielder Matt Berner enjoyed a career game April 15 against Baker. The senior went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in as KU scored an 11-6 triumph. The three hits and three RBIs were both career highs for Berner.

– Senior Justin Ellrich became the first Jayhawk to collect a pinch hit homer this season with a seventh inning round-tripper against Baylor, on April 5. KU’s last pinch hit home run came on March 21, 2007, by Eric Snowden against Northern Colorado.

– Junior Nick Faunce doubled and scored a run in the third inning Friday evening against No. 13 Oklahoma State. It was the center fielder’s first two-base hit since March 21 against Ohio State.

– Freshman Brian Heere earned his second career start April 15 against Baker and scored KU’s first run of the game after drawing a leadoff walk.

– Junior Preston Land collected a pair of doubles at Oklahoma State this weekend and is now tied for third in the Big 12 with 16 two-base hits this season.

– Senior Casey Larson recorded his eighth multiple-hit game of the season Sunday at Oklahoma State. Larson collects his hits in bunches. He has hit safely in 19 games this season and has eight multiple-hit games, including a four-hit effort on March 20 against Dartmouth. Larson also has a .417 batting average in neutral site games this season.

– Senior Erik Morrison went 3-for-5 Saturday against Oklahoma State. It was the senior’s 14th multi-hit game this season and third game with three hits.

– Sophomore Robby Price collected two hits Saturday at Oklahoma State for his 13th multiple-hit game of the season. Nine of his 13 multi-hit games have come on the road this year.

– Senior Ryne Price continues to surpass his career bests. After Sunday’s game with Oklahoma State, Price is batting 60 points higher than his career average and has broken his previous career highs in hits (57 this year/50 previous career high), doubles (14/12), RBIs (54/40) and total bases (100/99). Not only that, he is dangerously close to breaking career highs in: runs (38/47), triples (1/4), homers (9/10), times hit by pitch (13/19) and stolen bases (7/8).

– Senior Joe Southers recorded a hit and two RBIs on April 15 against Baker. It was the senior catcher’s second multi-RBI game of the season and first since March 9.

– Freshman Tony Thompson collected a pair of singles Sunday at Oklahoma State for his eighth multi-hit game of the season. Five of his multi-hit contests have come against Big 12 foes, including a 3-for-4 effort at Baylor on April 5.

– Freshman Jimmy Waters recorded two hits in the Oklahoma State series this past weekend. Waters has been much improved since the first month of the season. Since March 25, Waters is 6-for-23 (.261) with a pair of home runs.

– Freshman Brett Bochy pitched 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief against Oklahoma State on Sunday. Since a rough outing against Ohio State March 21, Bochy has allowed just two runs and five hits over his last six appearances.

– Sophomore Brett Bollman did not record a strikeout in his Sunday appearance at Oklahoma State, marking just the third time this has happened this year. In all three of his appearances without a K, he has pitched less than one inning.

– Junior Nick Czyz has been a solid Friday night starter against Big 12 competition. Czyz’ overall numbers aren’t very impressive, however he has a 4.01 ERA, 29 strikeouts and just 15 earned runs allowed in 33 2/3 innings against conference opponents.

– Senior Andres Esquibel tossed eight innings of one-hit ball against Texas Tech on April 12, and did not allow a base hit until the fourth inning of his April 19 start at No. 9 Nebraska.

– Senior Hiarali Garcia was dominant pitching in relief of Shaeffer Hall at No. 7 Wichita State April 22. The 6-foot-1 righty retired 10 of the 11 Shockers he faced, allowing just one walk over 3 1/3 innings of relief. The righty allowed a two-run homer Saturday, breaking a string of 10 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.

– Sophomore Shaeffer Hall pitched a scoreless inning of relief Saturday at Oklahoma State and will start Tuesday against Missouri. Hall has not allowed a run in the first inning this season.

– Junior Daniel Manos made a scoreless appearance April 15 against Baker. Manos has allowed runs in just one of his six appearances this season.

– Sophomore Thomas Marcin had a pair of scoreless appearances last week at No. 7 Wichita State and No. 13 Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-3 sophomore has not allowed a run since March 21 against Ohio State and has given up just four hits in a five-inning span since then.

– Junior Paul Smyth made two appearances at Oklahoma State over the weekend and continues to lead the Big 12 with 26 appearances this season. Smyth recorded his seventh save of the season April 20, to match a career high.

– Freshman T.J. Walz pitched a career-high 7 2/3 innings on April 20 against No. 9 Nebraska. His outing was the longest by a freshman in the Ritch Price era at KU. Only Nick Czyz (7.0 IP vs. Creighton, 4/26/06) and Tyson Corley (7.0 IP at Texas Tech, 4/23/05) have pitched into the eighth inning as freshmen.

Getting the Pary Started

Senior Casey Larson became the first Kansas player to lead off a game with a home run in four years with his first inning round-tripper at No. 13 Oklahoma State on Sunday. Larson’s homer was the first lead off home run by a Jayhawk since Matt Baty opened an April 7 game at Wichita State with a home run in 2004.

Larson, who hit a pair of home runs last season against then-No. 8 Texas, has homered five times in his career with four of them coming against nationally ranked opponents.

Home Sweet Home

Kansas will play eight of its final 10 regular-season games at Hoglund Ballpark, where it has been extremely successful. The Jayhawks are 14-4 in home contests this year and are hitting .306 at Hoglund Ballpark this season, compared to .241 on the road.

The Jayhawks have also pitched better at home this year, posting a 3.89 ERA in home games and a 7.10 ERA on the road. KU’s starting rotation of Nick Czyz (2-0, 3.06 ERA), Andres Esquibel (2-1, 2.05 ERA) and T.J. Walz (1-0, 1.37 ERA) have a combined 5-1 record with a 2.12 ERA.

KU’s best hitter at Hoglund this season has been John Allman, who is batting .509 with seven doubles, three homers and 24 of his 39 RBIs in home games.

Walz Named to CBF National All-Star Lineup

Kansas freshman pitcher T.J. Walz has been named to the College Baseball Foundation’s National All-Star Lineup for the week of April 22.

Walz, a 6-foot freshman from Omaha, Neb., became the first Big 12 pitcher to beat Nebraska in Lincoln this season. The first-year righty pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings April 20 and held the No. 9 Huskers to three runs on six hits and struck out five. Making his performance even more remarkable was the fact that he was making just his second start in the Big 12 in his home state with 30-40 friends and family members in attendance.

He is the first Kansas player to be named to the CBF All-Star Lineup this season and was the only Big 12 player to be honored on the team this week.

Marciel Out for the Season

Kansas head baseball coach Ritch Price announced April 15 that sophomore left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel will miss the remainder of the 2008 season due to a torn ligament in his pitching elbow. Marciel, a 6-foot lefty from Kailua, Hawaii, had Tommy John surgery earlier this week.

Marciel ends his sophomore year with a 3-4 record and 22 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings pitched. The 6-foot sophomore earned victories in two of his first three starts of the year.

He is the second starting pitcher that Kansas has had to shut down this season. During the team’s week in Florida, it was determined that junior Andy Marks would not be fully recovered from a shoulder injury until later in the spring. Marks, who did not pitch this year, will receive a red-shirt for the 2008 season.

Up Next
Kansas will play host to Oklahoma in a key Big 12 series beginning Friday, May 2 at Hoglund Ballpark. Entering the week, Kansas trails OU by 1 1/2 games for seventh and Kansas State by one game for eighth in the Big 12 standings. The Jayhawks and Sooners will meet three times, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Season Tickets on Sale

Kansas baseball season tickets are on sale now. Fans can order tickets by calling the Jayhawk ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS or by logging on to kuathletics.com.