Archive for Saturday, February 19, 2005

KU completes series sweep

Jayhawks dominate doubleheader with Jackrabbits

February 19, 2005


The Kansas University baseball team honored former assistant coach Reggie Christiansen before the second game of a doubleheader with South Dakota State.

The Jayhawks gave the Jackrabbits' first-year coach a framing of his own jersey -- and then sent him on his way with another blowout defeat.

Wednesday, KU coach Ritch Price said although he wished Christiansen the best as a rookie coach, he was going to make sure his protege went home with four losses.

His team did just that, routing the Jackrabbits, 15-2 and 14-1, closing out a home-opening four-game series.

"We should bury them," Price said. "Two years ago, we couldn't have done that to them. We're making progress."

It was Kansas' progress and consistency at the plate that led to the resounding sweep. In four games, the Jayhawks (10-3) belted 49 hits -- an average slightly more than 12 a game -- and scored 52 runs. To compare, the Jackrabbits (0-4) posted series totals of 27 hits and 10 runs as their wait for their first victory in Division One continued.

"There's not a whole lot of momentum in baseball, but one thing there is momentum in is offense," KU right fielder A.J. Van Slyke said.

It was Van Slyke's three-run double in the first inning that sparked his team's scoring surge in the first game. The Jayhawks scored all 15 of their runs in the first five innings.

Oddly enough, Van Slyke had his most productive outing at the plate (3-for-4) without taking batting practice. The junior had a geography class that didn't end until 1:30 p.m., and the first pitch was at 2.

"I went in, I put my cleats on and went out to right field," Van Slyke said.

A regular in right field, Van Slyke was benched Thursday in a move similar to Andy Scholl's benching Wednesday. Price rested Scholl after he struggled last weekend at Stanford, and Scholl became KU's offensive standout Thursday.

Price thought Van Slyke could use the time to regroup.

"I thought he was swinging at balls out of the zone," Price said. "I was trying to make him relax a bit."

Added Van Slyke: "I think it's more to let a player clear his mind. It's not a punishment thing. He just wants us to refocus."

Clint Schambach (2-1) picked up the victory for Kansas after allowing two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. SDSU's Josh Elliott (0-1) took the loss.

The second game featured more of Kansas' hit parade, but the Jayhawks' top player stood upon the mound and threw a career-high 11 strikeouts as senior Mike Zagurski had no trouble finding the strike zone.

Zagurski (2-0) attributed his success to pitching coach Steve Abney's call for a healthy amount of fastballs, allowing him to fool batters with some of his secondary pitches later in the game.

"I was really pleased with the fact that it seemed most of the time he had strike one on the first pitch all night," Price said. "If he gets ahead of the count, he's got good enough stuff to bury hitters."

SDSU's Jared Huber (0-1) threw seven of his team's 12 walks. Kansas scored two runs in the first inning without registering a hit.

Price said his team needed time to get back into a "normal practice routine" after its nine-game road trip and four-game series with the Jackrabbits.

Kansas will get five days off before it plays host to Northern Colorado in a three-game series beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

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