Kansas Takes on Texas in Elimination Game Thursday
May 24, 2012
LEADING OFF: Kansas will face Texas in an elimination game at the Big 12 Baseball Championship Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The Jayhawks and Longhorns will meet for the third time in conference tournament play at Chicasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
ON THE AIR: Live video from KU’s Thursday afternoon game is available on the Big 12 Digital Network at big12sports.com. Fans can also listen to the contest on Lawrence radio station 1320 AM (KLWN) as well as on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access.
SERIES HISTORY: This marks the third Big 12 Championship meeting between KU and Texas. The Longhorns have won both of the previous games, 9-0 in 2005 and 9-3 in 2009. UT leads the all-time series 42-16, including series wins in each of the last three seasons. The Longhorns took two of three from Kansas in Austin earlier this season.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS: Kansas looks to survive another day in the Big 12 Baseball Championship after falling to Texas A&M, 10-4, in the first round of the tournament. The Jayhawks are 4-11 all-time in Big 12 tournament play.
KU’s offense averages 4.2 runs per game and is batting .248 overall on the season. Junior IF Jordan Dreiling leads the offense with a .308 batting average and a .460 on-base percentage with a team-best 28 walks. The Jayhawks’ pitching staff ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a 4.29 team ERA and have held opponents to a .272 batting average. Freshman LHP Wes Benjamin will start Thursday’s game against Texas. Benjamin is 4-7 on the season with a 3.68 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched this season.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS: Texas enters Thursday’s game with Kansas at 30-21, and will look to solidify its NCAA Tournament resume. The Longhorns lost their opening round contest to Missouri, 5-0, on Wednesday night. UT has dropped five of its last eight games, dating back to back-to-back losses in Columbia on May 5-6.
UT’s offense ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a .264 batting average and have averaged 4.9 runs per game. Sophomore IF Erich Weiss leads the team with a .352 batting average, 17 doubles and a .553 slugging percentage. Junior C/OF Jonathan Walsh is the Longhorns’ top power hitter with six homers and 31 RBIs in 49 games.
The Longhorns’ pitching staff ranks fifth in the league with a 3.41 team ERA and is holding opponents to a .239 batting average. Freshman RHP John Curtiss will get the start for Texas Thursday. Curtiss is 2-2 on the year with a 3.28 ERA in 57 2/3 innings on the mound. He has walked 24 and struck out 43.
Texas head coach Augie Garrido is in his 16th season at Texas and has a 696-321-2 record at the school. Garrido has led the Longhorns to two national championships, seven College World Series appearances and seven Big 12 titles since 1996.
UP NEXT: A Kansas win on Thursday would keep the Jayhawks alive and pit them against the loser of the Texas A&M/Missouri game on Friday at 7:30 p.m.