Sunflower Showdown to Decide Final Spot in Big 12 Championship
May 19, 2011
Kansas (26-27, 9-15) vs. Kansas State (31-21, 9-14)
Friday, May 20 – 6:30 p.m.
Tointon Family Stadium (2,331) – Manhattan, Kan.
Sat.-Sun., May 21-22 – 6 p.m., 6 p.m.
Hoglund Ballpark (2,500) – Lawrence, Kan.
Friday, May 20:
Saturday, May 21:
– Live Video
Sunday, May 22:
– Live Video
Kansas will face Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State during the last weekend of the regular season with both schools looking to qualify for the Big 12 Baseball Championship. Both the Jayhawks and Wildcats need a series win to clinch a spot in the conference tournament. KU will travel to Manhattan for the series opener on Friday at 6:30 p.m., before shifting to Lawrence for the second and third games on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. KU will honor its six-member senior class prior to Sunday’s game.
Friday night’s game will be televised on MetroSports (Channel 37 on Knology Cable). All three games will be carried on KLWN radio (1320 AM) as well as online at www.klwn.com.
The Jayhawks lead the all-time series with Kansas State, 176-162, with one tie. However, the Wildcats have won 12 of the last 15 meetings between the schools, including a series win last season. KU is 86-64 against K-State in Lawrence and 70-89 in games played in Manhattan. The Jayhawks are 11-15 against the Wildcats during head coach Ritch Price’s tenure (since 2003).
About the Jayhawks
Kansas got back on track with four wins over non-conference foe Alabama A&M last weekend, which stopped a three-game losing streak. The Jayhawks outscored the Bulldogs 60-9 in the four-game series. KU is 19-9 at home this year.
KU’s offense ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .271 batting average. The Jayhawks have hit 34 homers and stolen 46 bases. On the mound, the Jayhawks rank fifth in the league with a 3.82 ERA and hold opponents to a .258 batting average.
Scouting the Wildcats
Kansas State enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 31-21 overall record after falling to Wichita State on Tuesday night. The Wildcats are 5-4 in the month of May and have gone 22-8 at home this season.
The Wildcats’ offense ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a .277 batting average, 30 homers and 111 stolen bases. K-State is averaging 5.8 runs per game. Junior outfielder Nick Martini leads the team with a .330 batting average with 11 doubles and a .438 on-base percentage. Junior Jason King and younger brother, freshman Jared King, have provided power in the middle of the order with a combined 17 homers and 87 RBIs.
On the mound, K-State’s staff ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a 4.05 ERA and has held opponents to a .258 batting average. Juniors Kyle Hunter and Matt Applegate anchor the Wildcats’ rotation. Hunter is 5-4 with a 3.57 ERA and has recorded 65 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. Applegate is 5-3 with a 4.23 ERA in 13 starts as well.
Kansas State head coach Brad Hill is in his eighth season with the Wildcats and has an overall record of 261-189-2. K-State’s RPI ranking is No. 55 heading into the weekend.
Last Time Out
Junior Colton Murray earned a win in his first collegiate start, while the Kansas offense matched a season-high 18 hits as the Jayhawks scored a 16-2 triumph over Alabama A&M in the finale of the four-game series at Hoglund Ballpark Sunday afternoon.
– The Jayhawks and Wildcats have a combined total of 17 Kansas natives on their rosters.
– Kansas pitchers Colton Murray and Thomas Taylor and K-State catcher Dan Klein are all natives of Overland Park, Kan.
– Kansas infielder Jake Marasco and Wildcat pitcher Matt Applegate are both natives of Wichita, Kan.
– The teams also have a combined eight players from the state of Arizona. KU has outfielder Casey Lytle (Phoenix), shortstop Brandon Macias (Flagstaff) and first baseman Chris Manship (Cave Creek). K-State has outfielder Ryan Moore (Chandler), catcher Adam Sonabend (Scottsdale) and pitchers Justin Lindsey (Chandler), Kayvon Bahramzadeh (Tucson) and Blake Freeman (Phoenix).
– Jayhawk infielder Tucker Tharp and Wildcat pitcher Jared Moore are both freshmen from Boulder, Colo.
– Kansas State head coach Brad Hill was an assistant coach at KU from 1991-94, while K-State Associate Head Coach John Szefc was an assistant with the Jayhawks from 2009-10.
Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz earned his 26th career victory on May 13 against Alabama A&M to match the school record for wins with Jim Phillips (1980-83). It marked the fourth KU career record that the senior righty has set or tied this year. Walz also owns the school record for career strikeouts (301), games started (49), innings pitched (322.1).
Walz became the first Jayhawk to record 300 strikeouts in his career and became the 10th pitcher to amass 300 K’s during the Big 12 era.
Kansas head coach Ritch Price will be looking for his second milestone victory of the season this weekend. Price is one win shy of reaching his 300th win at KU, which would make him the second Jayhawk skipper to reach the 300-win plateau at the school.
Earlier this season, Price captured his 500th victory at the Divsion I level, defeating Arkansas-Little Rock on March 22. Price currently has 516 Division I wins with 299 at Kansas and 217 at Cal Poly.
We’re Going Streaking
Kansas senior outfielder Jimmy Waters will take a career-best 11-game hitting streak into the weekend’s series against Kansas State. Waters’ hitting streak began on April 30 at Texas Tech.
During the streak, the senior has batted .371 (13-for-35) with four doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs. Waters has also reached base at a .477 clip during the streak, taking six walks in 41 plate appearances, after recording just 11 in the first 42 games of the season.
Eldredge Named Top Newcomer
Kansas freshman Ka’iana Eldredge was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the week of May 16. This marked the first time that Eldredge has been honored on the conference’s weekly awards.
The freshman from Honolulu, Hawaii enjoyed his best weekend as a collegiate athlete, going 8-for-11 in a four-game sweep of non-conference foe Alabama A&M. During the series, Eldredge raised his season average from .226 to .264 and hit his first collegiate home run.
– Kansas will meet in-state rival Kansas State to close out the regular season. This marks the 10th time in the Big 12 era that KU and K-State meet in the final conference series of the season. The teams have split those series, winning five apiece.
– In the Ritch Price era, KU has gone 7-4 against the Wildcats at Hoglund Ballpark. Conversely, the Jayhawks are just 4-9 at Tointon Family Stadium in that time period.
– Playing at home has been good in general for the Jayhawks in recent years. KU is 77-28-1 at Hoglund Ballpark since the start of the 2008 season, including a 19-9 mark this year.
– The Jayhawks’ numbers have been much better at home as well. As a team, KU is batting .294 with 18 homers at Hoglund Ballpark and averaging 6.0 runs per game. The pitching staff has posted a 3.45 ERA and held opponents to a .250 batting average as well.
– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 25-6 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-21 when scoring three runs or less.
– Driving in runs in clutch situations has been paramount to KU’s success this season. The Jayhawks have 85 two-out RBIs, including 59 since April 1. The Jayhawks are also batting .283 (165-for-583) as a team with two outs in an inning.
– Junior Zac Elgie leads the team with 15 two-out RBIs and has hit .315 (23-for-73) with two outs in an inning.
– While power numbers are down across college baseball, KU’s home run totals have soared since April 1. The Jayhawks have clubbed 30 home runs in the 29 games since April 1 after hitting four in the first 24 games of the season.
– The NCAA released its final statistics report of the 2011 regular season on Tuesday and the Jayhawks rank in the top 100 in several categories. KU ranks 76th in the country with 96 doubles, 68th in triples (15), 56th in homers (34) and 51st in times hit by pitch (63). Pitching-wise, the Jayhawks rank 65th in team ERA (3.84) and 63rd in hits allowed per nine innings (8.75).
– Individual players appearing among the NCAA statistical leaders include: Zac Elgie ranks 33rd in doubles (19), Brandon Macias ranks 69th in times hit by pitch (13), junior Colton Murray is 81st in saves (seven), while senior T.J. Walz ranks 65th in strikeouts (79).
– Several KU players rank in the top 10 in the Big 12 in individual statistics. Offensively, Zac Elgie is second in the league in doubles (19). On the mound, senior T.J. Walz is seventh in innings pitched (84.2), sixth in strikeouts (79) and 10th in opponents’ batting average (.236). Junior Colton Murray is tied for fifth in the league in saves (seven).
– Several KU players rank among the league leaders in conference-only stats: senior Casey Lytle ranks ninth in batting average (.341) and seventh in on-base percentage (.438), Brandon Macias is tied for sixth in runs scored (18) while Jimmy Waters is third in RBIs (20). Zac Elgie leads the league in doubles (10).
– Pitching-wise in conference-only stats, T.J. Walz is tied for 10th in wins (three), seventh in innings pitched (53.1), fifth in strikeouts (49) and ninth in opponents’ batting average (.224). Freshman Frank Duncan is tied for fourth in appearances (13) and Colton Murray is tied for seventh in saves (three).
Alabama A&M Series Leftovers
– Kansas outscored the Bulldogs, 60-9, in the four-game series, winnings all four contests by the 10-run rule.
– The Jayhawks hit seven home runs in the four-game series, including two by senior Jimmy Waters. Freshman Jordan Brown hit his first career home run in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
– KU matched a season high with 18 hits in the series finale with Alabama A&M.
– Kansas also scored a season high with 19 runs in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The 19 runs scored were the most by a KU team since it tallied 24 runs against Baker on March 7, 2007.
– In KU’s 19-3 win, Jordan Brown drove in a career high five runs, while sophomore Jake Marasco also recorded a career high with four RBIs.
– During the weekend series, KU senior pitchers T.J. Walz and Wally Marciel both collected their first career base hits. Fellow senior pitcher Scott Heitshusen also flew out in his first collegiate at bat.
Kansas is hoping to qualify for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship in Oklahoma City. The conference tournament gets underway on Wednesday, May 25 with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, May 29 at 1 p.m. at Redhawks Stadium.