KU Baseball Wraps up Fall Season

Oct. 28, 2005


At the conclusion of the Jayhawks fall season, head coach Ritch Price sat down with kuathletics.com to discuss the progress of his team as he heads into his fourth season at the helm of the KU baseball program.

“In the four years I have been here it is the most efficient and productive fall that we have had. I think that is because we have some continuity on our roster.

We have seven returning position players that started a year ago back and familiar with the system. They have experienced success at this level, especially with how well we played the last month of the season. I think there has been a continuation of that productivity in the fall.

I have been pleased with the way our veteran players have gone about their business in a mature manner. Their work ethic has been very good. Our position players have swung the bat really good. We’ve played outstanding defense.

I think at the same time our young guys have had a chance to see how fast the game is played at this level as they make the adjustment of being a good high school player to trying to be Division I players. At times I think they’ve been overmatched a little bit but at the same time they show up. Signs of being quality players and developing into quality players for us in the future.”

“From a position stand point I think the biggest hole we are trying to fill is Sean Richardson behind the plate, who had been just a star for us for two years. The freshman Buck Afenir had an outstanding fall and then Dylan Parzyk, the junior college transfer from California is a solid defensive player.

I think that it’s the first time in the four years I’ve been here that we’ve had two players at that position capable of playing. We’ve relied on one guy our first three years and have been successful but it’s the first time that we have some depth. I think right now that position will continue to be a dog fight as to who is going to win the starting roll as we open our season in Hawaii.”

“Our whole infield returns from a year ago. Jared Schweitzer at first, Ryne Price at second, Ritchie Price at short, Erik Morrison at third. I couldn’t be more please with the way that group of guys have played both offensively and defensively. The two freshmen (Price and Morrison) that played a year ago have developed and emerged into outstanding Division I players. We may literally be as solid as any team in the conference with our four infielders.”

“The only person we lost was A.J. Van Slyke and that is a big bat to lose. Gus Milner returning in right field, Matt Baty in center field and John Allman has taken over from his DH spot and become the left fielder and has played well defensively and swung the bat well.

Kyle Murphy, a junior college transfer, is maybe the most talented defensive player I have coached in my career. He is plus runner, he has a tremendous throwing arm. He has played fabulous defense in center field. He still needs to make significant progress with the bat but he has a chance to really contribute for us on the defensive side of the ball.

The growth and development of Brock Simpson has been a pleasure to watch. He had one of the best falls on our team. He has always been a young man with tremendous talent and is still trying to put those tools together to play at game speed. Right now, he would open the season as our designated hitter and we’ll continue to get him some work in the outfield because we do have five quality outfielders. The outfield is solid. I feel really good about our position player and our ability to play defense and swing the bat.”

Senior Don Czyz returns as the Jayhawks’ closer. The Overland Park, Kan., native already holds KU’s record for most appearances in a career (91). His 10 saves last season set a new junior record and ranks him second all-time in KU history. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

“Don Czyz has emerged as a top closer in the Big 12. If he continues to make the same progress combined with his hard work, he has an outstanding chance to pursue a professional career after his senior season.

Kodiak Quick has been on a rehab program and threw for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 17. He was as good as I saw him last year so that was a really special outing for us.

Ryotaro Hayakawa who had surgery and missed last year and was a set up man the previous year for us has been throwing to hitters in live scrimmage situations. He has made very good progress and we are excited about him returning to form where he can help us out of the bullpen.

Ricky Fairchild has been outstanding. I honestly believe he can make the impact as a transfer that Kodiak Quick made for us when he transferred to our program from Stanford a year ago.

Sean Land has continued to make really good progress. He ended the season on a hot streak. He then went to the Cape Cod League and had a good summer. He is throwing his breaking ball and change up better. He has a chance to be a legitimate Big 12 starter in this his draft year.

We are still searching for who could be our third pitcher. Freshman Andy Marks has been very good at times and has the opportunity to be the Tuesday starter or weekend starter as he continues to develop.

We are looking for big things from Nick Czyz. He needs to continue to improve his command. He was rated the No. 1 high school pitcher in the state. He has talent and we have to continue to do a good job coaching him and try to improve his location and command.

Freshman red-shirt Carter Holt had a good fall. He has a tremendous arm. A year ago he had trouble throwing strikes. He has a live arm if he can get the ball in the zone he can help us.

Paul Smyth a freshman reliever out of California had a really good fall. A strike thrower with three pitches and can locate his fastball as well as his breaking ball and change up. Right now he is in the mix to be the set up guy as a true freshman.”