Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

KU, MU to play two

May 11, 2008

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Saturday evening's rain delayed Kansas University's chase for sixth place in Big 12 Conference baseball.

The scheduled 6 p.m. game against Missouri at Hoglund Ballpark was set back an hour because of a downpour, then finally it was scrapped.

"We heard another cell was coming in about an hour," KU coach Ritch Price said, "and that would have delayed the starting time until after 8:30 (p.m.)."

Thus the Tigers and Jayhawks will conclude their three-game weekend series with a doubleheader at noon today.

Missouri captured Friday's series opener with a 5-3 decision behind ace Aaron Crow and top reliever Kyle Gibson.

"We really wanted to play," Price said, "because this gives Gibson an extra day of rest. So this works out good for them."

With an 11-10 league record, Mizzou is pretty much assured a berth in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in two weeks, but the Jayhawks are scrambling to reach the sixth and last qualifying spot.

Baylor is currently in sixth place with a 10-14 record while the Jayhawks stand 8-14.

The Bears, idle this weekend, will conclude the regular season next weekend at last-place Texas Tech while the Jayhawks will go against Kansas State, and the Wildcats are also in the running for the coveted No. 6 finish.

Missouri's two-run triumph on Friday made the Jayhawks 1-6 in Big 12 games decided by two runs or less, and one reason for that disparity is lack of pitching depth.

Andy Marks and Wally Marciel, pitchers Price had projected as his Nos. 1 and 2 starters, both suffered season-ending injuries.

Marks, in fact, never started the season and is red-shirting this spring after injuring a shoulder while playing baseball last summer. Marciel, who struggled early, finally was shut down in late March and since has undergone Tommy John elbow surgery.

"We have to get to the point where we can overcome injuries to guys like Marks and Marciel," Price said.

That isn't to say the Jayhawks (29-23 overall) won't overcome that adversity because they still have a shot at making it to Oklahoma City's Bricktown Ballpark on May 21.

"If we get to the Big 12 Tournament and win 30 games," Price said, "then this team has overachieved, and that's all I can ask."

Saturday was the second time in four days the Jayhawks were plagued by wet weather. KU had to cancel a non-conference game against Oral Roberts on Wednesday.

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