Kansas will play a two game series at Arkansas on Tuesday and Wednesday. A free web cast will be available for both games. Link here and click on "Calender" to listen.
Tuesday: KU pulls off a huge upset, taking down the Hogs 9-3! Lee Ridenhour goes five innings (6 hits, 2 runs, 3/1 BB/K) for the win. Tony Thompson goes 2-5 with 3 RBIs to led the offense. HUGE!
Wednesday: Arkansas 9 - Kansas 8 (10 innings).
It has been ten years since Kansas last beat the Razorbacks on the road. I would be thrilled with a series split. Tueaday's game will feature freshman starting pitcher Lee Ridenhour in his NCAA debut. Ridenhour is one of the most highly regarded prospects in KU baseball history. Interest in his performance alone should create some buzz for this game. Pitching a game at Baum Stadium is a heck of a way to start a college career. Let's hope for good things to happen.
Kansas went 1-2 over the weekend, defeating Air Force 5-0 and then dropping two to Memphis (5-4 and 2-1). This is not a strong start for the team but I think we are all prepared for uneven play early in this season. The pitching staff was tremendous. T.J. Walz and Cameron Selik both had strong starts, and Shaeffer Hall couldn't have possibly pitched better. Hall's no-hitter earned him Big-12 pitcher of the week honors and a huge amount of national attention. Thomas Marcin, Colton Murray and Brett Bochy came out of the bullpen and got their jobs done. Only Paul Smyth had a subpar outing, and we all know he will give KU good work throughout the season. So, despite the losses, the pitchers have to feel good about their work.
Not surprisingly the team struggled offensively. Being limited to 10 runs in three games is rough. If KU is going to compete in the NCAA they are going to have to find a way to score at least five runs per contest. There were a few offensive stars this weekend: Tony Thompson went 6-12 and drove in three, Joe Lincoln went 3-7 with an RBI in his first collegiate at-bat, and Brian Heere got off to a good start by getting on base in four of his nine plate appearances. Preston Land (0-9 with 5 strikeouts), Nick Faunce (1-10) and Zac Elgie (0-3) had weekend's to forget.
I do want to make sure fans know that Nick Faunce will be blogging about the team this season. I'll copy his comments about watching a no-hitter from center field. Really pretty good stuff.
We opened the season with Shaeffer Hall working as a trickster, moving the ball in and out, and effectively keeping the Air Force hitters off balance to culminate in a no-hitter. As always, incredible plays must be made behind the pitcher to keep a no-hitter intact and both David Narodowski and Robbie Price deserve credit for spectacular plays that held the Falcons hit-less.
I first noticed the no-no around the fourth inning and had said "good inning Shaeff" the previous innings so I kept telling him that so as not to jinx it. I was reluctant though because you don't want to break the pitchers focus, but then again, you don't want to isolate him either.
The innings kept adding on and I started to note the magnitude and told the outfielders to make sure and dive for anything close. Given that the wind was blowing we crept up closer and tried to take away any of the bloopers that, inevitably, fall and discount the whole effort. Then came the ninth which reminded me of my summer in Watertown, New York, where I played with Brian Heere and former KU baller Steve Cochran, and our pitcher threw a no-hitter for eight and two-thirds. Then a player for Little Falls dropped a soft-liner into the outfield in front of me breaking up the no-hitter.
It was terrible because the pitcher had thrown so magnificently, and it was still a great performance, but it all seemed for naught as he had gone 26 outs without a hit, but couldn't get the 27th. So I knew we had to take away the bleeding blooper to save the no-hitter, preventing it from being labeled not as a magnificent performance but a performance of near perfection. The blooper never came. No hits were given up.ppppp