Kansas Baseball Faces Oklahoma State in Stillwater

April 29, 2010


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Kansas vs. Oklahoma State

The Kansas Jayhawks will try to snap a three-game losing streak when they travel to Oklahoma State for a Big 12 series at Allie P. Reynolds Field beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The second game of the series will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, and can be seen around the country on Fox Sports Net, while Sunday’s finale is set for 1 p.m.

All three games of the series with Oklahoma State will be carried on KLWN radio (1320 AM). Fans can also listen to the games at www.klwn.com.

Series with Oklahoma State

The Cowboys lead the all-time series with Kansas by a 128-52 margin, inlcuding 69-13 in games played in Stillwater, Okla. However, the Jayhawks swept OSU in a three-game series at Hoglund Ballpark last season. KU has never won a series at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

About the Jayhawks

Following a five-game winning streak where KU held its opponents to a total of nine runs, the Jayhawks’ pitching has been battered in their last three losses.

KU’s offense ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a .296 batting average and a .394 on-base percentage. Junior Brian Heere leads the team with a .396 batting average with 11 doubles, two triples and three homers. Junior Jimmy Waters has been KU’s top power hitter with eight homers and 46 RBIs with a .322 average.

KU’s ERA has ballooned in the last three games to 5.23 overall, which ranks eighth in the conference. Starting pitchers T.J. Walz and Cameron Selik have anchored the Kansas pitching staff, combining for 11 wins and 111 strikeouts in 127.0 innings.

Scouting the Cowboys

Oklahoma State also dropped a midweek game at Wichita State this week, falling to the Shockers 13-7. OSU will be looking for its first Big 12 series victory since knocking off Nebraska, April 2-4.

The Cowboys enter the series with a .316 team batting average, which ranks second in the Big 12. Junior infielder Duran Davis leads the team with a .372 batting average and paces the conference with 28 stolen bases this season. Sophomore Mark Ginther has a team-best nine homers this season, and is batting .319 with a .584 slugging percentage.

Senior left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons leads the Cowboys pitching staff with a 3-3 record and a 4.93 ERA in nine starts. Lyons has held opponents to a .290 batting average and recorded 62 strikeouts to just 15 walks. Right-handed pitchers Brad Propst and Ian McCarthy are tied for the team lead with two saves a piece. As a team, OSU’s 5.22 ERA ranks seventh in the Big 12.

The Cowboys were picked to finish fifth in the league in the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll.

Last Time Out

Wichita State scored nine runs in the bottom of the fourth as well as the sixth inning against five Kansas pitchers en route to a 22-7 triumph over KU Tuesday night at Eck Stadium.

Bop from the Top

Junior shortstop Brandon Macias continues to produce from the top of the Jayhawks’ batting order. The shortstop collected three hits and three RBIs in KU’s loss at Wichita State Tuesday night.

Since being moved to the top of the order on April 21 against Missouri, the Kansas shortstop has collected six hits, including three for extra bases. Macias hit his second home run of the season against Texas Tech on April 23 and then added his first collegiate grand slam in Sunday’s game against the Red Raiders.

While batting leadoff doesn’t generally mean more RBI chances, Macias has collected eight runs batted in since moving to the top of the order.

Double Trouble

While it wasn’t a great trip for the team, redshirt freshman Jake Marasco enjoyed his return to Wichita, going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored at Wichita State Tuesday night.

Marasco, a redshirt freshman who grew up in Wichita and attended high school at Maize High, lost his mother earlier this year to a heart attack. He had several family members in the stands during the game.

Marasco’s two-double contest against the Shockers was his sixth multi-hit game of the season and his second where he collected multiple extra-base hits. He is currently tied for second on the team with 11 doubles.

Can You Heere Now?

Junior outfielder Brian Heere has quietly been on a hitting terror over the last 10 days. After slumping through the early part of the month, Heere has gotten things going as of late.

The Kansas junior has gone 15 for his last 27 (.556), including six multiple-hit games since the April 18 win at Nebraska. During this stretch, Heere has scored nine runs and raised his batting average to .396, which ranks third in the conference.

Heere is also tied for second in the league in hits (65), fourth in walks (29) and sixth in on-base percentage (.477).

Around the Horn

– Kansas travels to Oklahoma State this weekend for its final true road series in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks have gone 4-5 in conference road games this season, winning series at Baylor (March 26-28) and at Nebraska (April 16-18).

– The Jayhawks have yet to win a series in Stillwater, Okla. However, KU swept a three-game set from the Cowboys last season in Lawrence.

– Kansas fell to Wichita State 22-7 on Tuesday night in a game that was broadcast on Kansas 22/Metro Sports. This marked KU’s first loss in a televised game since the 2008 season. Dating back to the beginning of 2008, KU has gone 7-2 in televised games, including 3-0 on Fox Sports Net.

– Kansas pitching has been battered in its three most recent games, but prior to that had put together one of its best stretches of the season. Prior to the 11-8 loss to Texas Tech on April 24, the Jayhawks had allowed just six earned runs in five games (1.20 ERA), and 31 hits in 45 innings pitched.

– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 123 runs in the first three innings of games, including 47 in the second inning alone. KU has also taken the first lead of the game 28 times this season in 43 games.

– 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.

– Kansas has been plunked 69 times this season, which ranked as the 20th-most in Division I baseball as of Tuesday. 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 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 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 has been nearly even against right-handed and left-handed pitching. The junior outfielder is batting .362 (17-for-47) against lefties this year, and .410 (48-117) against righties.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher has been extremely solid in the field this season, committing just one error in 207 chances in the field for a .995 fielding percentage – best among KU infielders.

– 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 second Jayhawk to record a slam this season, joining Jimmy Waters, who turned the trick against Tabor on March 10.

– Kansas catcher Chris Manship has hit safely in a career-best six-straight games, and in nine of his last 10 contests. During that stretch he has collected six RBIs, including a two-RBI game against Texas Tech April 24.

– Redshirt freshman Jake Marasco has gone 6-for-13 in his last four games, which includes three doubles and four RBIs.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price leads the team with a .415 batting average in Big 12 games this season, which ranks fourth in the league. Throughout his career, Price has done the most damage in conference games, posting a career average of .335 in Big 12 games with a career .446 on-base percentage and a .463 slugging percentage.

– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield collected RBIs in all three games of the Texas Tech series and has driven in at least one run in four of his last five 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 against Missouri at Kauffman Stadium on April 21.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson is batting .357 in road contests this season going 15-for-42 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) is tied for second on the team (1.020), behind only Robby Price (1.022).

– 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. He also pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the April 23 win over Texas Tech.

– Junior Scott Heitshusen allowed his first earned run of the season on April 25 against Texas Tech. Prior to that, the Kansas junior had not allowed a run in his first three relief appearances. He has allowed just eight hits and a walk in nine innings this season.

– 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.

– Senior Cameron Selik pitched out of trouble for four innings on April 24 against Texas Tech. Despite allowing seven hits, Selik held the Red Raiders to just two runs. The Kansas senior has done a pretty good job of stranding runners this season, holding opponents to a .259 batting average with men on base and .246 average with two outs in the inning.

– Junior T.J. Walz recorded his fifth quality start of the season on April 23 against Texas Tech, which is tied for the team lead with Cameron Selik. Last season Walz led the Jayhawks with seven quality starts.

Up Next

After the brief stand away from Hoglund Ballpark, Kansas will return to the friendly confines for a three-game series against Border Showdown rival Missouri, May 8-10. The series will open with a 7 p.m. game on Friday, May 8, while the May 9 game begins at 6 p.m., with the May 10 finale at 1 p.m.