Jayhawks Travel to Arkansas-Little Rock for Final Midweek Game

May 17, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

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Kansas vs. Arkansas-Little Rock

After dropping two of three to No. 24 Kansas State, Kansas will look to bounce back with a Tuesday night game against Arkansas-Little Rock. The Jayhawks will meet the Trojans at 7 p.m. at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock, Ark., which serves as the home of the Arkansas Travelers.

There will be no radio coverage of the game, but fans can follow the action on Gametracker at www.kuathletics.com.

Series with Arkansas-Little Rock

This will be the second meeting of the season between KU and UARL, with the Jayhawks claiming a 9-8 come-from-behind win on March 30. The Jayhawks are 6-2 all-time against the Trojans in a series that dates back to 1992. KU is 2-2 against the Trojans in games played in Little Rock.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas is looking to get back on track after dropping two of three to No. 24 Kansas State over the weekend. KU will try to end its non-conference schedule on a positive note after going 19-9 against non-Big 12 foes this season.

KU’s offense ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .303 batting average and a .397 on-base percentage. Junior Brian Heere leads the league with 84 hits, and is second with a .410 batting average and a .484 on-base average. Junior Tony Thompson has picked things up in recent weeks, with a .325 batting average, five homers and 35 RBIs.

KU’s pitching ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a 5.19 ERA. Tuesday’s starting pitcher Thomas Taylor is 4-1 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 starts this season.

Scouting the Trojans

Arkansas-Little Rock swept a three-game series from Louisiana-Monroe and have won five straight heading into Tuesday night’s game against KU.

UALR is batting .283 as a team, which ranks ninth in the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans average 7.24 runs per game. Senior catcher Landis Wilson leads the team with a .331 batting average with nine doubles and three homers, while junior infielder Jason Houston leads the team with 13 homers and 48 RBIs with a .559 slugging percentage.

The Trojans’ pitching staff ranks eighth in the Sun Belt league with a 6.01 team ERA and has allowed a .301 batting average against. Kansas will face junior right-handed pitcher Calvin Drinnen Tuesday night. Drinnen is 2-2 in seven starts with a 6.86 ERA. He has allowed a .313 batting average to his opponents and struck out 29 in 39 1/3 innings.

Last Time Out

Junior Brandon Macias went 3-for-4, while Brian Heere extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a pair of hits, but it was not enough. Kansas State third baseman Adam Muenster recorded three hits and two RBIs as the No. 24 Wildcats overcame an early deficit in an 8-5 victory over Kansas, Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.

We’re Going Streaking

Junior outfielder Brian Heere homered and singled in his first two at bats in Sunday’s loss to Kansas State to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games. Heere’s streak is the second-longest by a Jayhawk this season (Robby Price, 22) and the ninth-longest in the Big 12 this season.

Heere has hit safely in every game since the April 16 contest at Nebraska. During his streak, Heere is batting .500 (34-for-68) with three homers and 21 runs scored. In his 16 game hitting streak, 11 of them have been multi-hit games.

Moving on Up

Junior shortstop Brandon Macias has also swung a hot bat since moving to the top of the batting order. On April 21, Macias was batting .242, but since then the junior has raised his season average by 50 points and has hit .468 over the team’s last 10 games.

Macias has done his best hitting against the Big 12 Conference, posting a .350 average in league games, including a 5-for-13 effort in the recent series against Kansas State.

Cameron Crazy

Kansas senior right-handed pitcher Cameron Selik bounced back from a rough outing against Missouri with a gusty performance at K-State. With KU deseperate for a victory, Selik pitched eight strong innings allowing two runs on seven hits with a season-high eight strikeouts against the top hitting team in the Big 12.

Selik allowed a leadoff single to Adam Muenster and then retired the first hitter he faced in seven of the next eight innings, which controlled the Wildcats’ running game. The senior is tied for the team lead with seven quality starts this season.

Hit Parade

KU’s offense recorded 48 hits in the three-game series against Missouri, which ties for the most in a Big 12 series this year (Oklahoma, 48 vs. Texas Tech). KU’s previous high came in 2008, when the Jayhawks collected 45 hits in a series against Oklahoma and scored a team-record 39 runs against the Sooners.

Hit Me

Kansas right fielder Casey Lytle was hit by a pitch in Friday’s loss to Kansas State, giving him 22 for the season, which is the single-season record at KU. Lytle’s hit by pitch total ranks ninth in Division I baseball, and is just eight behind the nation’s leader – Vanderbilt’s Brian Harris.

As a team, KU has been plunked 80 times, which is already the third highest total in team history. The program record of 91 times being hit by a pitch came in 2005.

Around the Horn

– Kansas faces Arkansas-Little Rock in its final non-conference game of the regular season Tuesday. KU has gone 19-9 in non-league games this season, but just 9-8 in non-league contests away from home.

– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 140 runs in the first three innings of games, including 51 in the second inning alone. KU has also taken the first lead of the game 33 times this season in 52 games.

– Kansas has battered left-handed pitching this season, hitting .331 against southpaws. KU has gone 9-3-1 when facing a left-handed starting pitcher, compared to 21-18 against right-handed starting pitchers.

– KU earned a 7-3 win over No. 24 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., marking the team’s first win in the “Little Apple” since the 2006 season.

– Kansas swept a three-game series from Border Showdown rival Missouri May 7-9, marking KU’s first three-game sweep of the Tigers since 1994. The Jayhawks rallied from four runs down to win the second game of the series, and then rallied from a two-run deficit in the tenth inning in the finale.

– 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.

– 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.

– Sophomore Jason Brunansky scored the go-ahead run in the 11th inning as a pinch runner in the May 1 game at Oklahoma State. Brunansky’s .474 on-base percentage is up nearly 100 points from last year’s total.

– Freshman catcher Alex DeLeon drew a pair of walks, going 0-for-1 in Saturday’s win over Missouri. DeLeon entered the contest in the fourth inning, and started KU’s six-run rally with a base on balls with one out.

– 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 collected a single and scored a run in KU’s loss to Kansas State on May 16. Elgie got off to a slow start this season, but is batting .222 in Big 12 games.

– Center fielder Brian Heere shows tremendous patience at the plate. Heere is second on the team with 33 walks, and is the team leader with 30 hits when he has two strikes in the count.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher has picked up his offense in recent weeks. Over the last 10 games, Lisher is batting .378 with four doubles and two homers.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle homered in Sunday’s finale against Kansas State. Lytle has four career homers, with three of them coming on the road against Big 12 opponents.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias has hit safely in 11 straight games, marking the longest hitting streak of his career and the fourth-longest by a KU player this season.

– Infielder Jake Marasco has done a great job when leading off an inning. The redshirt freshman has reached base at a .500 clip (11-for-22) when he is the leadoff man in an inning.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price has been clutch all season, batting .387 with men on base, and .418 with runners in scoring position. He is also second on the team with 25 two-strike hits.

– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield has found a way to be a clutch contributor. The second-year catcher is batting .321 with men on base, and .333 with men in scoring position, nearly 100 points better than his season average.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson showed signs of returning to his 2009 form the last couple of weeks. In his last 10 games, Thompson is batting .400 (18-for-45) with three doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs.

– Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters has been nearly even against right-handed and left-handed pitchers. The junior is batting .308 against lefties and .319 against right-handed pitchers.

– Senior Travis Blankenship struck out a career high six men in his May 14 appearance against Kansas State. Over his last four appearances, Blankenship has recorded 16 k’s in 12 2/3 innings.

– Junior lefty Wally Marciel held Kansas State to just one hit in 1 2/3 innings of relief in the May 16 loss. Marciel has bounced back from a pair of rough outings with two straight scoreless appearances.

– Sophomore Colton Murray recorded perhaps his best relief appearance of his career, with 3 1/3 scoreless innings against Missouri on May 8 to earn his first win of the year.

– Junior T.J. Walz won his 20th career game in a Jayhawk uniform on May 7, which matches Pete Smart’s total – tying him for seventh in school history. Walz is one of eight Jayhawks to record 20 career wins, and is just six victories away from the school record of 26 career wins set by Jim Phillips.

Ritch Price Show Moved to Wednesday

Due to the Kansas baseball team’s travel schedule, the Ritch Price Show will be moved to Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. at the Salty Iguana Restaurant.

KLWN Sports Director Brian Hanni will be joined by Kansas head coach Ritch Price and a Jayhawk player guest for the show to recap KU’s Tuesday night contest at Arkansas-Little Rock and look ahead to the final Big 12 series of the season against No. 14 Oklahoma.

Up Next
Kansas will face No. 14 Oklahoma in the final Big 12 series of the year this weekend at Hoglund Ballpark. The Jayhawks and Sooners will face off at 7 p.m., Friday, May 21, 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 22 and at 1 p.m., on Sunday, May 23. All three games of the series will be broadcast live on KLWN radio (1320 AM).