Jayhawks Travel to Missouri to Continue Border Showdown
May 12, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After winning two of three games against No. 2 Texas in its last series, the University of Kansas baseball team resumes conference play this weekend as they travel to Columbia, Mo., to battle Border Showdown rival Missouri in a three-game series at Taylor Stadium-Simmons Field.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks have won nine of their last 11 contests to improve their overall record to 33-23 and 8-12 in conference action and climb to eighth place in the Big 12 standings. The top eight teams in the final conference standings qualify for the Big 12 Tournament, which will be held at Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Ballpark from May 25-29. Meanwhile, Missouri enters the weekend series with a 32-16 overall record and a 12-9 mark in league action.
At the plate, junior Jared Schweitzer used a fifth inning solo home run in Wednesday’s contest with SMS to extend his school-record hitting streak to 24 games. This season, Schweitzer leads the team with a .358 batting average and has also chipped in with seven home runs and 27 RBI. Junior A.J. Van Slyke has provided the pop in the KU lineup as he leads the team with 12 home runs and 54 RBI.
On the mound, junior closer Don Czyz has been outstanding in the last month collecting his ninth and 10th saves against Texas last weekend. For his efforts, the Overland Park, Kan., native was selected as the Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week. Czyz stands only one save away from the school record for saves in a single season, which was set by Jimmy Walker during the 1993 campaign.
Kansas Jayhawks (33-22; 8-12 Big 12)
Missouri Tigers (32-16; 12-9 Big 12))
Taylor Stadium (May 11)
Game Time (CST) — Pitching Match-Up
Fri. (May 13) 6:30 p.m. — LHP Sean Land (5-4) vs. Max Scherzer (7-2)
Sat. (May 14) 2 p.m. — LHP Mike Zagurski (6-4) vs. Nathan Culp (7-1)
Sun. (May 15) 1 p.m. — RHP Kodiak Quick (9-5) vs. TBA
Rankings: Kansas is receiving votes in the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Poll this week. Missouri enters the series ranked 20th in Baseball America Top 25 and 21st by the NCBWA.
Coaches: Kansas head coach Ritch Price is 99-82-1 in his third year at KU and 316-310-1 in his 11th overall year of coaching at the Division 1 level. Missouri’s Tim Jamieson is in his 11th season at the helm of the Tigers and has guided the program to a 356-255-2 record during that time.
Missouri leads 189-116
Audio: KLWN (1320 AM)
A Closer Look at Missouri
The Tigers, who were picked eighth in the preseason coaches poll, have surprised many Big 12 insiders as they have stayed at the top of the Big 12 standings all season. Missouri enters the weekend after dropping two of three games to Nebraska in Lincoln last weekend.
The strength of the Tigers is in their pitching staff, which has compiled a 2.78 team ERA this season. Highlighting the group is MU’s Friday starter sophomore Max Scherzer, who has compiled a 7-2 mark with a 1.32 ERA this season. Following Scherzer in the weekend rotation is sophomore lefty Nathan Clup. The Glan Carbon, Ill., native is 7-1 with a 3.19 ERA.
Kansas Baseball Notes
Czyz Named Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week
After collecting three saves in a trio of KU victories last week — including two against No. 2 Texas, junior closer Don Czyz was selected as the Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on May 10. Czyz became the first KU hurler to earn the accolade since Brandon Johnson was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on April 14, 2003.
The Overland Park, Kan., native enters the week in second place in the Big 12 with 10 saves, trailing only J. Brent Cox of Texas, who has tallied 12 this season.
Schweitzer Continues Streak at the Plate
Junior Jared Schweitzer continues to be one of KU’s most consistent players this season and has shown that consistency by setting a new school-record 24-game hitting streak, which is still active heading into this weekend’s series with Missouri.
The Sherwood Park, Alberta, native’s streak began on March 16 as he collected two hits in a win over Baker. The hitting tear is the longest this season by a Jayhawk and the longest in the Big 12 this season. The previous high in the league belonged to Nebraska’s Joe Simokaitis, who hit safely in 18 consecutive games earlier this season.
Ryan Baty was the KU record holder prior to Schweitzer’s run, as he hit safely in 21 consecutive games to close the 2004 season.
Ryne Price Posting Record-Breaking Freshman Campaign
In only his first season at KU, freshman second baseman Ryne Price is already leaving his mark on the Jayhawks’ record books.
In a career-high four RBI performance against Kansas State on April 30, Price raised his RBI total to 34, the most by a freshman in Kansas baseball history. The previous mark was held by Brian Gray who drove in 33 in 1978.
Price is also approaching several other freshman offensive records. He needs only two home runs and one double to equal the school record for a freshman in those categories.
Czyz Enjoying Record-Setting Season
Junior closer Don Czyz has been a work horse for head coach Ritch Price in his three seasons at KU and when he came out of the bullpen against New Mexico State on April 26, he became a part of the KU record books by breaking the school record for appearances on the mound for the Jayhawks.
Czyz’s appearance was the 80th of his career and moves him past Jimmy Walker, who had 79 appearances for the Jayhawks between 1990 and 1993.
The Overland Park, Kan., native has collected 10 saves this season, breaking Brandon Johnson’s mark for most saves by a junior. The 10 saves also places Czyz in second on the all-time KU single-season save list. Only Walker has collect more saves in a season, as he tallied 11 during the 1993 campaign.
Jayhawks Post School-Record Third Consecutive 30+ Win Season