*** Disappointing news. The game was cancelled due to the likelihood of thunderstorms tonight.***
Kansas host Oral Roberts tonight at 6PM. Just as in basketball, the Golden Eagles are a regional power in college baseball. ORU enters the game with a 34-12 record and are ranked #46 in the latest RPI. ORU has won four of the six meetings between the schools during the Ritch Price era, including the last three. The Hawks will need to bring their best game to win tonight. While KU will be playing to defend their house and to keep their momentum, the Golden Eagles are trying to lock up a post-season bid. Should they stumble in the Summit Conference tournament right now the Golden Eagles would not be assured of receiving an at-large invite to the field of 64.
Shaeffer Hall (4-2, 5.27 ERA) will get the call for KU. Oral Roberts has not yet announced a starter. The KU news release anticipates Kelly Minissale (1-3, 6.67 ERA). I would not be at all surprised if the Eagles go with either Mark Serrano (2-1, 4.46 ERA) or Jerry Sullivan (6-2, 4.06 ERA) instead. Minissale started and lost a game on Sunday vs. South Dakota State. He only lasted one inning. As ORU hosts a fairly weak Oakland club this weekend I expect they will be willing to shuffle their weekend rotation to improve their chances tonight.
Scouting Oral Roberts: Full ORU stats can be found here. It is a little hard to judge ORU's performance based on statistics as they frequently match up with low ranking conference opponents. They have plenty of offense, averaging over 8.5 runs per game. Their pitching and defense fall more into the average category (5.4 runs given up per game). ORU plays four games this weekend so they will be reluctant to use starters for multiple innings in relief tonight. If KU can chase their starter early they will have a good chance to work over a somewhat thin Golden Eagle bullpen. Oral Roberts is not a strong defensive team (.963 team fielding percentage) and they do not run very often (30/39 on stolen bases). From their stat sheet they look like a team that plays for the big inning.
The game will be broadcast on KLWN AM-1320. For those outside the Lawrence area just click here to access the streaming audio.
The weather is a bit iffy tonight. I think there is about a 50-50 chance this game will be played without interruption. If it rains this afternoon check in at KUathletics.com for a possible delay or cancellation.
I really hope the weather cooperates tonight. Not only because this looks to be a good baseball game but also because Hoglund will honor one of the better movies of the last thirty years, Office Space. Fans will be given a piece of "flair" as they arrive and there will be movie related events between innings. I understand one of these will be a printer smash. You have to figure the crowd will be "celebrating Michael Bolton's whole catalog" between innings as well. So set your TPS Reports aside for a few hours and get down to Hoglund tonight. Just sit there, watch the game, and do nothing. Remember Peter's message to us all:
"It's not just about me and my dream of doing nothing. It's about all of us. I don't know what happened to me at that hypnotherapist and, I don't know, maybe it was just shock and it's wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die - Michael, we don't have a lot of time on this earth! We weren't meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements." So, go to the ball game.