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KU Baseball Update (22-26, 8-13 Big 12)

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a baseball update.  During that stretch the Jayhawks lost two Big-12 series two games to one vs. Texas Tech and Baylor, and then lost the first game of the series at Oklahoma 8-0.  This dropped their conference record to 6-13 and mentally I declared their chances of making the Big-12 tournament over.  Then in the space of two days everything changed.

KU roared back and won the final two games at Oklahoma, taking their first Big-12 series of the year.  These surprising wins, combined with losses by Baylor, Texas Tech and K-State pumped new life into the Jayhawk season just when it seemed ready to be put to rest.

KU must be in the top eight of the conference standings to receive an invitation to the end-of-season tournament.  The situation:

Texas (17-4), Missouri (12-6), Oklahoma State (10-8), Texas A&M (11-9) and Nebraska (10-11) are all in.  That leaves three slots for the bottom five teams.

  1. Oklahoma (8-10): 3 @ Oklahoma State; 3 @ Mizzou; 3 vs. Texas Tech.  The Sooners look pretty good.  They probably need to win three of these nine to be safe.  The only tie-breaker KU owns at this point is vs. the Sooners.
  2. Kansas State (7-11): Here is an interesting situation.  K-State hosts Kansas for one game, and then the teams will play the final two games at Hoglund.  The Wildcats host a tough Texas A&M squad the following weekend and finish the year with three at Baylor.  I think K-State needs to win four of these final nine games to be safe, and that might not happen.  The earlier KU loss at K-State will not factor into the conference standings (it was offically a non-conference game) so the three games this weekend will determine who has the tie breaker between the Jayhawks and the farmers.
  3. Baylor (8-13): The Bears are off this weekend and then travel to Nebraska for a three game set.  They finish the year hosting three vs. K-State.  That final series should be very spirited.  It most likely will determine who plays on and who stays home.  The Bears probably need to win at least one at Nebraska and might still need to win two in the K-State series.  Intense time for Baylor and K-State. Baylor owns the tie breaker over the Jayhawks.  That is a big factor.
  4. Kansas (8-13):   KU has the split three game series vs. K-State, which they hold an advantage in due to being the home team for two of the three.  The following weekend KU will host a non-conference series vs. a very weak Chicago State program, and then finish the year with a three game series vs. Nebraska at Hoglund.  KU's end-game is set up for drama.  If the Jayhawks take two of three vs. the farmers, and then win one or two vs. the Corn Huskers, they will have played their way into the tournament.  Each of these last six games will hold enormous significance.  KU more or less controls their own destiny and they will host five of the last six conference games.
  5. Texas Tech (7-13): The Raiders are very much alive.  They hold the tie breaker vs. KU.  They looked very solid a few weeks ago after taking two of three in Lawrence and their conference record stood at 7-8, but after being swept by Missouri they tumbled into the cellar.  TTU is off this weekend, and then they host a tough Oklahoma State club before finishing the season with three at Oklahoma. Two tough opponents, and I think TTU needs to win at least three, probably four, of these games to stay alive.  TTU lost one rain-out game from their schedule vs. Texas A&M, and given the strength of the Aggies this year that probably plays to TTU's favor.
If KU can nudge their way into the Big-12 tournament, anything can happen.  This team has demonstrated the ability to play amazingly well on any given day.  Their problem has been playing well on a consistant basis.  I sincerly believe if KU gets into the tournament they have some hope of winning the thing.  It will require the team putting together four straight days of good baseball, but KU has already shown that on any given day they can beat any team in the Big-12.  As fans who have followed the season know KU came maddeningly close to taking the Texas, Missouri and Texas A&M series already this year.

KU's remaining schedule, and you should go to these games if at all possible:

Wen, May 2nd: Bethany College (NAIA) at Hoglund.  6:00PM.  A late addition to the scheduale to replace a game rained out earlier this year vs. an NCAA opponent.  This game will not count in KU's RPI rankings and will be just an exercise in keeping the players sharp for the big series this weekend.  KU might add one additional game this season.  If so it most likely will be a weekday NAIA game.

Friday, May 4th: @ Kansas State.  6:35PM.
Saturday, May 5th vs. Kansas State at Hoglund Park.  3:00PM.  National TV broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest.
Sunday, May 6th vs. Kansas State at Hoglund.  1:00PM.
Friday, May 11th vs. Chicago State at Hoglund, 7:00PM
Saturday, May 12th vs. Chicago State at Hoglund, 1:00PM
Sunday, May 13th vs. Chicago State at Hoglund, 1:00PM
Friday, May 18th vs. Nebraska at Hoglund, 7:00PM
Saturday, May 19th vs. Nebraska at Hoglund, 6:00PM
Sunday, May 20th vs. Nebraska at Hoglund, 5:00PM

I will try to get some statistical updates posted this week before the big K-State series.  The end of semester work load and plans for summer work have hit me hard these last few weeks and I have been forced to choose between getting my work done, watching baseball and writing about the team.  I could only do two of the three.