A few updates about Kansas’ weekend series at LSU. First, the probable starting pitchers have been named:
Friday 7PM – T. J. Walz (2-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Joey Bourgeois (2-0, 2.08)
Saturday 2PM – Cameron Selik (3-0, 1.40) vs. Jordan Rittiner (2-0, 1.29)
Sunday 1PM – Brett Bollman (1-1, 3.86) vs. Austin Ross (2-0, 5.28)
UPDATE: KU won game one 11-9. Huge win for the Hawks.
UPDATE: Brett Bollman to start Saturday. Sunday's starter TBD.
UPDATE: LSU won game two 4-2. Series tied.
UPDATE: KU won game three 8-4. KU takes the series at LSU.
After the jump, scouting LSU and KU Baseball notes.
KU has more experience in those starting pitching match-ups. Bourgeois and Rittiner only have five total NCAA D-I starts between them. Austin Ross (Jr), the most experienced of the three, went 6-8 last year with a 5.18 ERA in 83.1 Innings. He gave up 101 hits, but an impressive 22/76 BB/K ratio. He did surrender 12 homeruns. Incidently, it looks like the ball travels well at Alex Box Stadium. Twenty-three homeruns were hit there during the first twelve games, 15 by the Tigers and 8 by their opponents. It is a real shame Tony Thompson will not be ready for action this weekend. As a team LSU is surrendering only 4.3 runs per game so far this season. Offense has been LSU’s team strength. The Tigers are scoring 9.4 runs per game this season, up over a run from last year’s championship team’s production.
Just working from these early numbers it looks like, even though KU’s offense has struggled so far this year, that the Hawks should be able to score 15-20 runs this weekend. If the Jayhawks' pitching staff (and defense) prevent big innings I can well see Kansas remaining competitive with the Tigers all weekend. I expect KU’s newly rebuilt middle relief corps will be put to the test in at least two of these games. Wally Marciel, Travis Blankenship, Brett Bochy and Colton Murray will all need to bring their best stuff to the mound.
Redshirt Fresham Jordan Dreiling will be starting at third in place of Jake Marasco. Jake will probably miss the entire series due a family emergency. Please keep him in your thoughts in the coming days. Dreiling is a home town product out of Free State high school. Coach Price was very high on Jordan’s defensive skills during his pre-season press conference, so hopefully he will hold his own at the hot corner. With the bat Dreiling has gone 2-10 with a double and a walk so far this season. Most of that playing time came this week vs. St. Mary and Tabor, so his first steady taste of D-I pitching will be this weekend. Talk about being tossed right into the fire! James Stanfield has moved into the starting catching slot, which shifts Chris Manship to DH. Both Stanfield and Manship can also play third. Brett Lisher will start at first on Friday.
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri was complimentary towards Kansas in interviews. He said he expected KU to challenge Texas and Texas A&M for the conference title this year, so, ". . . we will definitely be tested this weekend." I also talked with Brian Foley of the College Baseball Blog about this weekend’s series and my article from yesterday. While he would also like to see SEC teams hit the road more often he understands why they stay at home: "LSU has a financial committement to the state to play 35+ home games and can draw over 10k fans on a given night. Baseball Ticket Sales at LSU is big money when compared to most schools that barely make any money. The lack of them heading out of Alex Box Stadium for out of conference games has no real impact on the team's chances for Omaha year in and year out as they still have to play at many hostile environments in the SEC (Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State to name a few)."