Jayhawks Host No. 14 Oklahoma in Final Weekend of Regular Season

May 20, 2010


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Kansas vs. Oklahoma

The Kansas Jayhawks will conclude the 2010 regular season with a three-game series against No. 14 Oklahoma this weekend at Hoglund Ballpark. KU will meet the Sooners at 7 p.m. Friday evening, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

All three games from the KU-OU series will be broadcast by KLWN radio (1320 AM) with Brian Hanni and Tom Hedrick calling the action.

Series with Oklahoma

Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Kansas, 142-87 with one tie. However, the Jayhawks have taken eight of the last 10 meetings with OU dating back to the 2006 Big 12 Championship. KU took two of three from then-No. 9 Oklahoma last year in Norman, Okla., dropping the third game in extra innings. OU’s last series win came in Lawrence during the 2006 season.

About the Jayhawks

Kansas clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship with a win over Kansas State last weekend. KU currently sits in sixth-place in the league standings, but could move as high as third if things break right for it. A single win in the Oklahoma series would let the Jayhawks avoid the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament.

KU’s offense ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .304 batting average and a .397 on-base percentage. Junior Brian Heere leads the league with 86 base hits, and is second with a .413 batting average and a .490 on-base average.

KU’s pitching has bounced back in the month of May and ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a 5.21 ERA. Friday’s starting pitcher T.J. Walz leads the team with an 8-4 record and a 5.05 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings.

Scouting the Sooners

Oklahoma enters the weekend ranked 14th in the latest College Baseball Newspaper Poll. The Sooners defeated No. 17 Arkansas, 5-2, on Tuesday night and have won five of their last six. OU is currently fourth in the Big 12 standings.

Oklahoma’s offense ranks third in the league with a .315 batting average with a .402 on-base percentage. Sophomore infielder Garrett Buechelle leads the team with a .377 batting average with 12 homers and 54 RBIs, while freshman Max White and sophomore Cameron Seitzer are tied for the team lead with 13 homers. As a team, OU has hit a league-best 82 homers.

OU’s pitching staff sports a 3.75 ERA, which ranks third in the conference. Sooner staff ace Zach Neal is 7-2 this season with a 4.04 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. Closer Ryan Duke is among the league leaders with 11 saves in 20 appearances. Duke sports a 3.00 ERA and has held opponents to a .231 batting average. Opponents are batting .256 against the Sooner staff.

Last Time Out

Junior Brian Heere went 2-for-3 with a home run and four runs scored, while junior Wally Marciel recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief as Kansas knocked off Arkansas-Little Rock, 11-8 Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.

Can You Heere Now?

Junior Brian Heere extended his hitting streak to a career-best 17 games with a bunt single and a two-run homer against Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday. Heere’s streak is the second-longest by a Jayhawk this season (Robby Price, 22 games) and is tied for the sixth-longest in the Big 12 this season.

During his streak, Heere is batting .507 (36-for-71) with four homers, 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored. He has multi-hit games in 12 of the 17 contests in the streak.

Heere is currently batting .413, which is tied for the 11th-best single-season average in Big 12 history. Since the league’s inception, only 17 players have finished the season with a .400 batting average or better.

Cameron Crazy

Kansas senior right-handed pitcher Cameron Selik bounced back from a rough outing against Missouri with a gusty performance at K-State on May 15. 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 K-State’s 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.

Topping It Off

Junior shortstop Brandon Macias went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored against Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday night, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Macias has swung a hot bat since moving to the top of the batting order in mid-April, raising his batting average by 58 points to an even .300.

Macias has hit .468 (22-for-47) over the team’s last 10 games, and is batting .350 against the Big 12 this season.

Hit Me

Kansas right fielder Casey Lytle was hit by a pitch in the May 14 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 eighth in Division I baseball, and is just nine behind the nation’s leader – Vanderbilt’s Brian Harris.

As a team, KU has been plunked 81 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.

Honor Your Seniors

On Sunday, Kansas will honor seniors Travis Blankenship, Brett Bochy, Brett Bollman, Brett Lisher, Thomas Marcin, Robby Price and Cameron Selik with a short ceremony prior to first pitch.

The Kansas senior class has been a part of 128 victories in their four years, as well as two trips to the Big 12 Championship and last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance.

Around the Horn

– Kansas wraps up the regular season with a three-game series against No. 14 Oklahoma. The Jayhawks have gone 15-5-1 at home this season, and are 40-8-1 at Hoglund Ballpark over the last two years.

– The Jayhawks have been a strike-first offense this season, scoring 143 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 34 times this season in 53 games.

– Kansas has battered left-handed pitching this season, hitting .330 against southpaws. KU has gone 9-3-1 when facing a left-handed starting pitcher, compared to 22-18 against right-handed starting pitchers.

– Kansas recorded its first three-game sweep of the season, taking the brooms to Missouri May 7-9. During the weekend series, KU recorded a Big 12 series-best 48 hits. The 48 hits the Jayhawks collected in the three-game series are tied for the most by any team in a Big 12 series this year.

– 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.

– 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 .466 on-base percentage is up nearly 80 points from last year’s total.

– Freshman catcher Alex DeLeon hit his first collegiate home run on March 10 against Tabor College. DeLeon hit 10 home runs in his senior season at El Camino Real High School.

– 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 20.25 at bats.

– Center fielder Brian Heere leads the team with 13 drag bunt base hits this season, and has also collected 31 base hits with two strikes.

– Senior first baseman Brett Lisher snapped a six-game hitting streak in Tuesday’s win at Arkansas-Little Rock. During the month of May, Lisher is batting .344 with three doubles and two homers.

– Right fielder Casey Lytle went 6-for-13 in the three-game series against Missouri, including the walk-off double in the 10th inning in the series finale. Lytle recorded multiple hits in the games on May 8 and 9, marking the eighth time this season he has had back-to-back multi-hit games.

– Junior shortstop Brandon Macias has hit extremely well against Big 12 opponents, batting .350 in conference games with eight doubles, three homers and 24 runs scored.

– Catcher Chris Manship has torn up left-handed pitching this season, batting .522 (12-for-23) against southpaws.

– Infielder Jake Marasco has done a great job when leading off an inning. The redshirt freshman has reached base at a .478 clip (11-for-23) when he is the leadoff man in an inning.

– Senior second baseman Robby Price has shown surprising power this season, ranking seventh in the league in doubles (17) and second on the team in home runs (six). Price’s .543 slugging percentage is over 100 points higher than his career average.

– Sophomore catcher James Stanfield has found a way to be a clutch contributor. The second-year catcher is batting .329 with men on base, and .346 with men in scoring position, nearly 100 points better than his season average.

– Junior third baseman Tony Thompson hit his 31st career home run on May 15 at Kansas State. Thompson’s 31 career round-trippers are tied for second-most in Jayhawk history, and are just four behind Ryne Price’s program-leading total.

– Junior outfielder Jimmy Waters recorded two hits in three at bats Tuesday at Arkansas-Little Rock. It was the junior’s fourth multi-hit game in the month of May.

– 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 recorded his longest relief outing of his career, pitching 5 2/3 innings Tuesday at Arkansas-Little Rock, recording a career-high eight strikeouts. Marciel picked up his second victory of the season.

– Sophomore Colton Murray earned his fourth save Tuesday at Arkansas-Little Rock, recording two strikeouts and stopping the Trojans’ ninth-inning rally.

– Freshman Tanner Poppe has two quality starts in the Big 12 this season, against at Nebraska (April 18) and at Oklahoma State (May 2).

– Senior Cameron Selik earned his second victory of the season against a Top 25 team on May 15 with eight solid innings against No. 14 Kansas State. In March, Selik defeated then-No. 1 LSU.

– 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.

Seven Jayhawks Earn Academic Awards

Seven Kansas baseball players have been honored by the conference with selection to the Academic All-Big 12 Baseball Team, which was released Tuesday. Juniors Casey Lytle and T.J. Walz as well as redshirt-freshman Jake Marasco were named to the first team, while seniors Brett Lisher and Robby Price, junior Brett Bochy and sophomore Colton Murray garnered second team honors.

Up Next

Kansas will participate in the Big 12 Baseball Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 26-30. The Jayhawks open play on Wednesday, May 26 against an opponent which is to be determined. KU is guaranteed three games during the week, with the championship game slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 30.