Jayhawks Trek to Missouri State for Mid-week Contest

Freshman lefty Blake Weiman is making his second collegiate start on the bump for the Jayhawks.
 Kansas at Missouri State
Date: March 24, 2015
Ballpark: Hammons Field
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network
Live Stats: Kansas Live Stats
Notes: Game Notes
 Impact Players
C. McKay .352 91 15 32 7
C. Wright .338 77 17 26 4
B. Graham .326 46 12 15 10
S. Johnson .303 66 15 20 16
 Pitching Matchup
Kansas W-L ERA IP K
B. Weiman 0-3 6.95 22.0 9
A. Cheray 2-2 4.32 25.0 16

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After dropping its final non-conference weekend series to Iowa, the Kansas baseball team looks to get back to its winning ways with one final mid-week tune-up game at Missouri State, Tuesday, March 24, before opening up Big 12 Conference play this weekend.
First pitch for the Tuesday contest is slated for 6:30 p.m.
The Jayhawks (9-14) have lost six-straight games to the Bears (13-7) and have dropped five of their last seven games played at Hammons Field. Missouri State is coming off a Missouri Valley Conference series win over Indiana State, and has won seven of its last 10 games.
Kansas freshman lefty Blake Weiman (0-3) will make his second collegiate start on the bump and look to build off a solid relief appearance from the weekend against Iowa (March 21). The southpaw threw a career-high four innings in the Jayhawks’ 6-4 loss to the Hawkeyes Saturday, giving up two runs in the process. In nine appearances, including his one start, Weiman has thrown 22 innings, giving up 30 hits and 19 runs for a 6.95 ERA.
Offensively, KU will see a familiar face on the bump for MSU in left-hander Andy Cheray (2-2). The hurler helped lead the Bears to a 6-5 win over the Jayhawks in 2014, after allowing seven hits and two runs in five innings of work. So far in 2015, Cheray has tossed 25 innings in five starts, striking out 16 batters. He has held opponents to a .195 batting average and compiled an ERA of 4.32.
Kansas senior left fielder Connor McKay enters the mid-week matchup with Missouri State riding a 11-game hitting streak and holds the seventh-best batting average in the Big 12 (.352). His 32 hits not only lead the Jayhawk squad, but ranks fourth in the league.
In addition to McKay, KU has relied on the steady performance of junior second baseman Colby Wright who leads the conference with a .480 on-base percentage, including 26 hits, nine walks and a league-leading 12 hit-by-pitches.
The story, however, is how the Jayhawks’ starting pitching will be able to cope against a Missouri State team batting .281 with 39 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs. As a staff, Kansas has seen its starting pitching average just five innings a start, giving up 79 runs in the process (0.70 runs per inning).
Not all is lost, though, if Kansas can hold the lead and get to the seventh inning. That’s when sophomore closer Stephen Villines normally makes his presence known, as he has saved six of KU’s nine games on the season, picking up the win in another. The sidearm slinger now ranks fourth all-time in saves in the Kansas history books with 14 after picking up his sixth of 2015 against Iowa (March 21).
However, the KU pitchers have their work cut out for them with seven MSU batters tallying 10 or more RBIs on the season and nine with at least one home run. Justin Paulsen leads the Bears with three home runs, while Spencer Johnson (.303) has driven in a team-leading 16 RBIs.
The game against Missouri State can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network through KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official Kansas Jayhawks mobile app with Steven Davis and Shane Jackson calling the action.
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