Jayhawks Battle Oklahoma This Weekend

May 1, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Kansas vs. Oklahoma<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The Jayhawks return to the friendly confines of Hoglund Ballpark for a critical Big 12 series against Oklahoma this weekend. Kansas will host the Sooners in a three-game set beginning Friday at 6 p.m., with Saturday’s game starting at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch. KU and OU are seperated by 1 1/2 games in the conference standings with nine regular-season Big 12 games remaining on both teams’ schedules.

All three games will be broadcast live on KLWN Radio (1320 AM) with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick on the call. Live audio and video will also be available at www.kuathletics.com.

Friday will be Hawaiian Night at Hoglund Ballpark with contests throughout the evening to reflect the Hawaiian theme. All fans can receive a root beer float at the concession stand free of charge.

The Series vs. Oklahoma

The Sooners lead the all-time series with Kansas, 141-82-1, which dates back to 1906. Oklahoma also has a 59-36 lead in games played in Lawrence. However, the Jayhawks shocked the Sooners, winning two of three games in Norman, last season. OU has not lost a series in Lawrence since 1994. Ritch Price is 7-9 all-time against the Sooners.

Scouting the Sooners

Oklahoma currently sits in seventh place in the Big 12 standings, but sits on rocky ground. OU leads eighth-place K-State by one-half game and 10th-place Kansas by 1 1/2 games. The Sooners would like to solidify their position in the standings with a series win. Oklahoma is 6-7-1 in road games this season and 6-11-1 in conference games.

Senior Mike Gosse leads the team with a .392 batting average, and a conference-best 20 doubles, along with five homers and 40 RBIs. Sophomore Aaron Baker has a team-high 44 RBIs with five homers and a .444 slugging percentage.

OU is planning to start right-handed pitchers Andrew Doyle (Friday), Jeremy Erben (Saturday) and Ryan Duke (Sunday). Doyle has been the staff ace all year, posting a 6-3 mark with a 3.84 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. Oklahoma’s bullpen is led by senior Jake McCarter, who leads the Big 12 with nine saves.

Head coach Sunny Golloway is in his fourth season at OU and has a record of 119-63-1 at the school, and an overall mark of 454-225-1 in nine-plus seasons as a Division I head coach. Golloway’s team returns 11 lettermen and four position starters from last year’s squad, which finished 34-24.

Last Time Out

Sophomore Shaeffer Hall and junior Paul Smyth combined on a six-hit shutout, while Ryne Price hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season as Kansas earned a 3-0 victory over Border Showdown rival Missouri Tuesday evening in a non-conference game played at Kauffman Stadium.

Noting the Jayhawks

– Kansas will play Oklahoma in a three-game series this weekend at Hoglund Ballpark. The games are crucial for Big 12 Championship qualification. With three weekends remaining in the regular season, Oklahoma (6-11-1) leads Kansas State (6-12) by one-half game, while Texas Tech (6-15) and Kansas (5-13) are looking to make up ground.

– Kansas head coach Ritch Price will be looking for his 200th victory with the Jayhawks this weekend. He would become just the third baseball coach to amass 200 wins at the school, joining Floyd Temple (438) and Dave Bingham (249). Price has averaged 34.6 wins per season in his five-plus years at KU.

– Kansas got a boost this week with a 3-0 win over No. 14 Missouri at Kauffman Stadium. The game with the Tigers was KU’s eighth-straight against a nationally ranked opponent, dating back to an April 18 meeting at then-No. 9 Nebraska.

– KU’s 3-0 shutout of 14th-ranked Missouri marked the program’s first blanking of a nationally ranked opponent in 20 years. The last time the Jayhawks held a nationally ranked team scoreless was on May 7, 1988 when KU shut out then-No. 16 Oklahoma, 3-0.

– 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 April 26 at No. 13 Oklahoma State. Afenir has hit four of his seven homers against conference opponents.

– Senior John Allman drove in a pair of runs Tuesday to stretch the Jayhawks’ lead to 3-0 against Missouri. Allman has been a clutch perfomer all season, going 35-for-89 (.393) with men on base and 26-for-64 (.406) 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 collected a bunt single as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning Tuesday against Missouri. It was the junior’s first hit in two at-bats as a pinch hitter.

– 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 last 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 April 27 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 sacrficed two runners into scoring position Tuesday against Missouri and now has 23 sacrifices to lead the nation.

– Senior Ryne Price hit a solo home run in the second inning against Missouri Tuesday. It marked the senior’s fifth career round-tripper against the Border Showdown rival Tigers.

– 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 April 27 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 doubled in the second inning Tuesday against Missouri. It was the freshman’s first two-base hit of the season.

– 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 enjoyed the best start of his Kansas career Tuesday against Missouri. The 6-foot-1 lefty held the 14th-ranked Tigers scoreless over seven innings, allowing five hits with four strikeouts.

– 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 bounced back from a pair of rough outings by picking up his eighth save of the season Tuesday against Missouri. Smyth allowed just a two-out double in the ninth inning, but retired the other six hitters he faced.

– 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.

In My 30 Years of Coaching…

Kansas head coach Ritch Price is nearing another milestone win at KU. Price is one win away from collecting his 200th victory as the Jayhawks head coach, which would make him just the third person to accomplish this feat in the 118th year of the program.

Price will achieve his 200th win in his sixth season at Kansas, faster than his predessors: Floyd Temple (441 games) and Dave Bingham (378 games). Ironically, both coaches picked up their 200th wins against conference opponents as Temple earned his with a 6-4 triumph over Kansas State, April 20, 1971, while Bingham achieved his with a 14-4 rout of Oklahoma on March 19, 1994.

Price has already collected landmark wins this season, posting his 400th win as a Division I head coach on March 12 at Missouri State, and his 800th career win at all levels on March 11 against Tabor College.

Hall of Famer

Sophomore lefty Shaeffer Hall pitched like a Hall of Famer in Tuesday’s midweek showdown with Missouri at Kauffman Stadium. Hall, a sophomore from Lee’s Summit, Mo., tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits to go with four strikeouts.

It marked the first time Hall has held an opponent scoreless in a start since a seven-inning outing against Xavier on March 1. Hall grew up cheering for the Kansas City Royals and attended several games at Kauffman Stadium before getting the opportunity to pitch there Tuesday.

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.

The Price is Right

Kansas senior Ryne Price continues to enjoy a career year at the plate, hitting his 10th home run of the season Tuesday against Missouri.

Price is batting nearly 60 points higher than his career average coming into this season and has already eclipsed his career bests in hits (58 this year/50 previous career high), doubles (15/12), RBIs (55/40) and total bases (105/99).

The senior matched a career high with his 10th home run of the season and is nearing his career bests in at bats (178/195), runs (39/47), triples (1/4), times hit by pitch (13/19) and stolen bases (7/8).

Up Next

Kansas will play host to another foe from the state of Oklahoma as Oral Roberts visits Hoglund Ballpark Wednesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. It will be the first match up between the Jayhawks and Golden Eagles in Lawrence since the 2004 season. The game will be carried on KLWN (1320 AM) with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick providing the play-by-play.

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.