Jayhawks Travel to Lubbock for Big Series with Texas Tech
April 28, 2011
Kansas (20-21, 9-9) at Texas Tech (25-19, 6-12)
Friday-Sunday, April 29-May 1 – 6:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 1 p.m.
Dan Law Field (4,466) – Lubbock, Texas
Friday, April 29:
Saturday, April 30:
Sunday, May 1
Following a midweek loss to Creighton at T.D. Ameritrade Park, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to bounce back against Texas Tech with a three-game Big 12 series beginning Friday in Lubbock, Texas. KU and Tech will meet Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be televised live on Fox College Sports Central (Channel 141 on Lawrence Knology Cable). All three games will be carried by Lawrence radio station KLWN AM (1320) or online at www.klwn.com.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series with Kansas, 28-16, including 14-6 in games played in Lubbock, Texas. The Red Raiders have won three of the last four series from KU, including last season when TTU took two of three from the Jayhawks in Lawrence. KU hasn’t won a series in Lubbock since 2003. Jayhawk head coach Ritch Price is 11-12 in his career against Tech.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas is looking to get back on track after dropping three of its last four. The Jayhawks are 4-9 in true road games this year and 6-12 away from Hoglund Ballpark. KU had won three-straight Big 12 series before dropping two of three to No. 4 Texas last weekend.
KU is batting .249 as a team with 20 homers and is averaging 3.9 runs per game. Junior James Stanfield leads the team with a .329 batting average. On the mound, KU has posted a 3.75 team ERA and is holding opponents to a .257 batting average. Senior T.J. Walz leads the staff with a 5-4 record, a 3.76 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings.
Scouting the Red Raiders
Texas Tech enters the weekend series also looking to bounce back in conference play. After winning their first two Big 12 series, the Red Raiders have gone 2-10 in their last 12 conference games. TTU has gone 16-9 at Dan Law Field this season.
Texas Tech ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a .281 batting average. The Red Raiders have hit 17 home runs and averaged 5.8 runs per game this year. Junior infielder Reid Redman leads the team with a .329 batting average with 10 doubles and 29 RBIs. Sophomore second baseman Jamodrick McGruder is also batting .311 with a team-best four triples and 26 stolen bases. As a team, Tech is 80-for-97 in steals.
On the mound, Tech sports a 4.94 ERA and is allowing a .293 batting average. KU will face three right-handed pitchers, led by freshman David Paiz. The freshman is 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA and has 22 strikeouts in six starts. Star closer John Neely is tied for second in the Big 12 with eight wins and has six saves with a 2.36 ERA in 21 appearances.
Head coach Dan Spencer is in his third year at Tech and has a record of 78-80 at the school. The Red Raiders entered the week ranked 40th in RPI, which would put them in line for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
Last Time Out
Jordan Makovicka’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth broke a three-all tie and lifted Creighton to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over Kansas Tuesday night at T.D. Ameritrade Park.
Kansas-Texas Tech Connections
– Kansas has three players on its roster from the state of Texas: redshirt Alex Harris (Murphy), outfielder Taylor Hart (Jasper) and relief pitcher Tyler Smith (Cypress).
– Texas Tech has no Kansas natives on its roster, however, Tech left-handed pitcher Daniel Coulombe has connections with two Jayhawks. Coulombe attended Chapparal High School one year behind KU outfielder Casey Lytle. Coulombe also played at South Mountain Community College in Arizona and was teammates with KU shortstop Brandon Macias for a year.
– Kansas head coach Ritch Price and Texas Tech head coach Dan Spencer have met six times at their current schools. In addition, Spencer came to Tech from Oregon State, where he faced Price’s Jayhawks in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz has been one of the best pitchers in the Big 12 this season, posting a 5-2 record with a 2.90 ERA and 63 strikeouts since Feb. 28. Walz is tied for the lead in the Big 12 with 43 strikeouts in his six starts against the league.
Walz became the school’s all-time leader in strikeouts earlier this season (289) and is tied for the lead in games started (46). He ranks second in wins (25), innings pitched (302.1) and ninth in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (8.60).
Rare Blown Save
Kansas’ bullpen failed to protect a one-run lead in Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss at Creighton. It marked just the second time all season, and the first since Feb. 22, that KU has lost a game after leading through six innings.
Freshman Frank Duncan and junior Colton Murray have been a deadly 1-2 punch out of the Kansas bullpen for opposing offenses. The tandem has combined to allow just 10 earned runs in 31 2/3 innings in Big 12 play this season and converted all three save opportunities.
Offense Heating Up
With the temperatures warming up in the month of April, KU’s bats have been hot as well. Since April 1, the Jayhawks have clubbed 16 homers and have a .270 batting average with a .413 slugging percentage. KU is also averaging 5.1 runs per game in April, compared to just 3.0 runs per game the first six weeks of the year.
It hasn’t been just one or two players doing the damage as eight different Jayhawks have gone deep during the month of April, while five players are batting above .300 during the month.
– The Jayhawks will make their third trip to the state of Texas this weekend. KU has gone 1-5 in games played in Texas this season.
– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 19-2 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-19 when scoring three runs or less. The Jayhawks are also unbeaten when scoring more than five runs.
– Driving in runs in clutch situations has been paramount to KU’s success this season. The Jayhawks have 49 two-out RBIs, including 23 in the month of April. The Jayhawks are also batting .267 as a team with two outs in an inning.
– While KU’s bullpen has gotten a lot of noteriaty, the Jayhawks’ starting pitching has been very good as well. KU’s starters have an ERA of 3.70 and 20 quality starts, while holding opposing hitters to a .260 batting average.
– The Jayhawks have run more than in previous seasons. KU has swiped 36 bases in 57 attempts after stealing just 29 bases all of last season.
– While the Jayhawks have struggled offensively on the road this season, senior Casey Lytle has excelled. Lytle leads the team with a .347 (17-for-49) batting average in true road games.
– The NCAA released its sixth statistics report of the year on Tuesday and there are Jayhawks ranked among the leaders in Division I baseball in several categories. As a team, KU ranks 66th in ERA (3.69) and 70th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.67). Individually, senior Brandon Macias ranks 86th in times hit by pitch (10) and senior Jimmy Waters is 85th in most at bats per strikeout (12.3). Junior Colton Murray ranks 44th in saves (seven) and senior T.J. Walz ranks 49th in strikeouts (67).
– Several KU players rank in the top 10 in Big 12 statistics. Sophomore Alex DeLeon is tied for seventh in homers (five), while junior Zac Elgie ranks sixth in the league in doubles (13). On the mound, T.J. Walz ranks sixth in innings pitched (64.2) and fourth in strikeouts (67). Closer Colton Murray is fourth in the league with seven saves.
– Several KU players rank among the league leaders in conference-only stats: senior Casey Lytle ranks 14th in batting average (.328), Brandon Macias is tied for fourth in runs scored (14) while Jimmy Waters is tied for second in RBIs (15). Pitching-wise in conference-only stats, T.J. Walz is tied for seventh in wins (three), seventh in innings pitched (40.1), second in strikeouts (42) and ninth in opponents’ batting average (.214). Freshman Frank Duncan ranks fifth in appearances (10) and Colton Murray is tied for fifth in saves (three).
Creighton Game Leftovers
– Kansas fell to Creighton, 5-3, on Tuesday night, marking the first game since 2006 between the schools that has not been decided by one run.
– The loss to the Jays marked just the second time this season that KU has lost a game after holding a lead entering the seventh inning. The Jayhawks’ other loss also came to Creighton on Feb. 22.
– Senior left fielder Jimmy Waters recorded the only extra base hit for the Jayhawks Tuesday night with an RBI double in the fifth inning.
– Sophomore Thomas Taylor pitched three quality innings of relief Tuesday night. Taylor’s career ERA in the month of April is 1.96 (9 ER in 41 1/3 IP).
– The Jayhawks dropped to 1-19 on the season when scoring three runs or less.
Kansas will play a home-and-home series with in-state rival Wichita State beginning Tuesday night in Lawrence. The Jayhawks and Shockers will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark, before shifting the series to Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan., for a 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Tuesday night’s game will be televised by Metro Sports (Channel 37 on Lawrence’s Knology Cable).