KU Baseball Weekend Preview

As the Kansas baseball team boards a plane for Lubbock today, the importance of the weekend ahead weighs heavily on the minds of every Jayhawk.<br>

Kansas (24-19, 3-9) has dropped five straight, including a loss on Wednesday night, 11-9,  to Wichita State in Lawrence.  The five game skid is bookended by setbacks to the Shockers, with a 3 game sweep at the hands of Baylor wedged in between.  The three losses to the first-place Bears came at home for KU, making this weekend's road trip to Texas Tech even more critical for their postseason hopes.  With the team in great need of a series win, third year head coach Ritch Price has elected to shuffle his weekend pitching rotation.
"We're going to move (Mike Zagurski) to Sunday and we're going to move Kodiak (Quick) to Friday night with Tyson Corley in the middle of it," announced Price.  "Our feeling about it is that we've been pitching Kodiak for an inning on Friday nights and then starting him on Sunday and now that we're in the middle of April we've got to stop doing that. So, we're going to make sure that he stays as healthy and productive as he's been all year."
Price says the moves will not only keep Quick fresh, but also protect the bullpen for weekend play in the always challenging Big 12 conference.
"We'll put Quick on Friday night and that protects our bullpen for the weekend and Mike protects the bullpen on Sunday because usually he gives us 6-7 good, quality innings as well."
So far this season Quick has posted an 8-4 record.  The junior transfer from Stanford has notched a 3.43 ERA.  Zagurski is a left-handed senior from Omaha, Neb who has turned in a 4-4 record, with a 4.74 ERA in his final season as a Jayhawk.
Corley is a freshman from Shawnee, KS who was a standout player in both baseball and basketball at Mill Valley High School.  The young right right-hander has made nine appearances this season but Saturday will be his first start.  Corley owns a 5.02 ERA and a 0-0 record.
While strong pitching will be very important this weekend in Lubbock, improved hitting in conference play will also be key.  The team is hitting just .242 in Big 12 action, compared to a .295 average overall.  Price says last weekend's matchup with Baylor was the most challenging one he's seen, but this weekend it's time for the bats to come alive in Lubbock.
"We need to get ourselves going offensively," Price admitted.  "I'll tip my cap to Baylor -- that's as good of pitching as I've seen in three days in my eleven years at the Division 1 level.  Coach (Steve) Smith told me on Sunday before Sunday's game that,  'Ritch, this is best we've played all year.  We've never played at this level up to this point in time.'  We had an opportunity to win Sunday and we let it slip away.  We just need to find a way to get ourselves going so we can get that swagger back."
Hopefully for Kansas fans the nine runs KU scored on 11 hits in a loss to the Shockers on Wednesday will give the Hawks just the boost they need heading down to Lubbock.
The first pitch for Friday's game against the Red Raiders is set for 6:30.

Phog.net Top Stories