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Archive for Friday, February 6, 2004

KU baseball coach Price wants improvement at plate

February 6, 2004

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Kansas University baseball coach Ritch Price was serious when he said his biggest concern heading into the Jayhawks' three-game tilt this weekend in Texas was their offense.

"I still don't think we're clicking on all cylinders with the bats yet," Price said. "We need to take a step forward with the bats, and this is a great weekend for us to do it."

The Jayhawks (7-2) are averaging almost nine runs a game, so Price might be just a bit overly critical of his hitters. It makes more sense, though, when you consider his primary concern last week was pitching.

The Kansas pitchers responded by throwing KU's first no-hitter since 1980 and first combined no-hitter since 1960 Sunday at Texas Southern. Junior Scott Sharpe threw the first three innings, senior Ryan Knippschild threw the middle three, junior Jacob Jean threw the seventh, freshman Sean Land the eighth, and junior Clint Schambach closed out the ninth.

"A lot of people didn't really know about it," Knippschild said. "I was watching Sharpe pitch, and noticed he hadn't given up a hit. Then I threw, and our other pitchers all got in and out of there. Some guys knew and some guys didn't until we got on the bus."

The Jayhawks will be in Edinburg, Texas, this weekend to play three games on the UT-Pan American campus.

KU will open against Lamar at 1 p.m. today, then take on the host school at 5 p.m. Saturday. Finally, the Jayhawks will tangle with Sam Houston State at noon Sunday.

Price plans to start senior Ryan Knippschild in today's game, then come back with Chris Smart, another senior, Saturday. Sunday's starter has not been determined.

Next week, the Jayhawks will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., to meet No. 6-ranked Stanford.

Price said it was important the Jayhawks played well in all facets of the game this weekend to continue the momentum they had built from their early season success on the road.

"We feel really good about where we're at," Price said. "It's a nice reflection of how hard we've worked in the fall and then in the month of January.

"It's been tough conditions to not be able to get outside to practice. Fortunately we went to Hawaii and got outside, and we were able to get outside last week in Houston and we'll be in Texas again this weekend or we could've gone really far backwards."

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