Archive for Monday, May 22, 2006

Jayhawks prepare to face OU, OSU, MU at Big 12

May 22, 2006


Kansas University has been two and out in its only two appearances in the Big 12 Conference baseball tournament.

Now KU will have three chances to make something happen. A new pool-play format has replaced the old double-elimination league tourney.

"I think it's the best thing," KU coach Ritch Price said Sunday. "It keeps you on a regular three-game schedule where you can use your three starters and your bullpen the way you did during the season."

Kansas, seeded sixth, was placed in the pool that contains the No. 2, 3, 6 and 7 seeds. Seeds 1, 4, 5 and 8 are in the other pool. The teams with the best record in each pool after the three games will meet in Sunday's championship game. All games will be at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

KU will open against No. 3 seed Oklahoma at 5 p.m. Wednesday, take the day off Thursday, then tangle with No. 2 seed Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Friday. Finally, KU will meet No. 7 seed Missouri at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Kansas, incidentally, tied Baylor for fifth place in the league's regular-season standings, but the Bears earned the No. 5 seed based on head-to-head competition. Baylor won two of three from the Jayhawks March 17-19 in Waco, Texas.

"I'm just thrilled to be there," Price said. "I like our chances."

KU's only appearances in the Big 12 tournament were in 2003 and 2005. The Jayhawks went 0-2 each time.

"I remember we had to win our last game to get there that first year," Price said, "and the tension in the dugout was unbelievable. But now we're at a different level."

Kansas' NCAA Tournament chances went up a notch following their three-game sweep of Texas A&M; over the weekend.

"I think we're back in the mix," Price said following Sunday's 11-6 victory over the Aggies, "because of the many road games and as many nationally-ranked opponents as we've had."

With a 38-23 record, this year's edition has won the most games since the 1994 KU club compiled a 40-18 mark under Dave Bingham.


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