Jayhawk Baseball: Small Ball

Notes on the upcoming Al Ogletree Classic and Coach Price's propensity for "small ball."

The Al Ogletree Classic

Fresh off its first no-hitter in more than two decades, the Kansas Jayhawk baseball team will travel to Edinburg, Texas, to compete in the Al Ogletree Classic.

The first of KU's three scheduled contests will take place Friday at 1 p.m., against Lamar. Lamar, which is receiving votes in all four national poles, is led by Preseason All-American Jordan Foster.

Kansas will take on the Broncs of Texas-Pan American (2-2) on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against UTPA but have never topped the Broncs in Edinburg.

UTPA opened its season last week by falling twice to Texas State, then rebounding with two consecutive wins over Texas A&M-Kingsville. Sam Houston State, led by second-year coach Chris Rupp, will open its season this weekend and face Kansas at 12 p.m. on Sunday. Senior Jordan Tata leads the Bearkats after posting a 4-7 record last season with an ERA of 5.38. KU will look to senior Ryan Knippschild on Friday and senior Chris Smart on Saturday as both will be making their second starts of the season.

Kansas' Sunday starter is not yet determined.

Small Ball

Head coach Ritch Price is a West Coast leader and loves to win with "small ball." The Jayhawks have shown they can manufacture the runs -- sacrificing a total of 14 times. Last weekend KU recorded only three extra base hits, yet recorded a total of 12 RBI. A total of 20 extra base hits have been tallied by Kansas this season, eight less than last year at this time. The Jayhawks hold an average of .556 when trying to advance runners including 12 KU hitters with an average over .500 when moving runners. It is all about opportune hitting, if runners aren't in scoring position then Price is likely to get them there.

Ahead Of Last Season

KU's record of 7-2 is the best in the Ritch Price era. Although the Jayhawks offense sputtered last weekend, a closer look at the numbers will show the growth. After nine games last season, the Jayhawks only boasted two players with double-digit hits. This season six 'Hawks have 10 or more base knocks. KU's run production is drastically up from last year at this time. The Jayhawks have recorded seven more RBI than last year after nine games, which leads to KU's average of 8.9 runs per game, compared to last season's 6.8 runs per game over their first nine games.

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