Archive for Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Kansas aims to bounce back

KU falls out of baseball polls after MU’s sweep

March 25, 2003

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Kansas University baseball coach Ritch Price could be disappointed after losing all three games to Border War rival Missouri last weekend.

Surely, it's discouraging to lose three in a row and drop out of the Top 25 in all the major polls, right?

Wrong.

"Actually, we played really well," Price said. "I compliment Missouri on the sweep. We could've won that series as easily as we got swept."

Mizzou scored 32 runs in the three-game sweep, and Kansas let an early lead slip away in all three contests.

The Jayhawks struck out 32 times in the three games.

Price insists, though, that it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

"It was a devastating weekend, no doubt," Price said. "But the fact is, we played well all three days, and it's what we've done all season."

KU will try to snap the three-game slide at 6 tonight in a nonconference matchup with Baker University at Hoglund Ballpark. Baker is an NAIA team, but a victory could speak volumes.

"When you're on a losing streak," Price said, "you've got to get a W on the board."

Tonight's game is the second of four non-NCAA Division One opponents on KU's schedule. Four is the limit without affecting a school's RPI.

Freshman Don Czyz (1-1, 2.13 ERA) will start for the Jayhawks.

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Pesky elbows: Junior right-hander Brandon Johnson, the team's top reliever, was sidelined with a sore elbow. He pitched 1 1/3 innings Friday, but didn't log innings Saturday or Sunday.

"He was tender on Friday, so we shut him down for the series," Price said. "It was obviously devastating for us."

Bad elbows have been bad news for the Jayhawks. Kansas lost right-hander Tyson Bothof and left-hander Chris Jones for the year to preseason elbow surgeries.

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Baty rolling: Junior first baseman Ryan Baty went 8-for-12 with six RBIs in the MU series. He's hitting .397 with three homers and 27 RBIs on the year.

Senior Casey Spanish leads the team with a .415 average and 30 RBIs. Senior Kevin Wheeler blasted another home run Saturday, giving him a team-high six.

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Up next: Tonight's game is the only scheduled midweek contest. KU will play host to a three-game series with Big 12 foe Oklahoma State this weekend.

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T-Bones promotion: Kansas City T-Bones manager Al Gallagher will attend Friday's game against Oklahoma State and throw out the cermonial first pitch. Before the game, the former major league player and coach will sign autographs near the entrance of the stadium and hand out promotional T-Bones materials. The first 500 fans to the ballpark will receive a Kansas Jayhawks pennant courtesy of KU athletics.

The T-Bones, a member of the Northern League, open play on May 23 in St. Paul, Minn., before playing their home-opener against the Sioux City Explorers on June 6.

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