The Series in a Nutshell
The Jayhawk baseball team headed west for spring break. Kansas plays at #7 Arizona State Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then will push on to face San Diego State Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to Lawrence to prepare for their first conference series. Number one ranked Texas will be at Hoglund March 20-22nd. KU will provide free webcasts for all games next week. Just visit here, go to schedule and log in. The broadcast start just a few minutes before first pitch.
Friday: Arizona State 9 - Kansas 4 FINAL KU Recap and Boxscore
Saturday: Kansas 3 - Arizona State 2 FINAL KU Recap and Boxscore
Sunday: Arizona State 12 - Kansas 10 FINAL
After the break, more on the ASU series, notes on Wichita State post game reporting and more.
I did not find an ASU news release for the series so I just went with their regular weekend rotation in the above list. And no, those ERAs are not typos. The Sun Devils can pitch. After fourteen games their team ERA is 1.22. Fortunately their defense is less impressive. ASU has given up almost as many unearned runs (14) as earned runs (17). This is cold comfort when the bottom line still comes out to their surrendering only 2.2 runs a game.
The Sun Devils know how to hit as well. Their team line is .312/.428/.560. They average 8.9 runs a game. I don’t want to get into listing all their star players, because that would take a while and only depress the readership. Link to full ASU stats here.
Obviously Arizona State is a great baseball team. But they can be taken down. Kansas State split a two game series with them just this week. True, the Sun Devils have not yet lost a weekend game, and that weekend rotation looks horrifying, but they are not a team without flaws. If their defense truly is suspect that plays into KU’s hands. The Jayhawks are a slap hitting team that puts a lot of balls in play and runs the bases aggressively. Infield defense controls these problems, and maybe, just maybe, that is the part of the game where ASU is at its weakest. I guess well see soon enough. I’d love to see KU compete in these games and pull out a win. Anything further would be truly surprising.
There was a good amount of buzz regarding quotes by Lee Ridenhour and Coach Price following Kansas victory over Wichita State Wednesday night. Paul Suellentrop of The Wichita Eagle quotes Ridenhour, “[Wichita State] came in here all cocky, wearing [white] home pants like it’s their place. I really wanted to beat them bad. 8-0. I was happy.” Lee was asked about the state of WSU and said “Their program seems kind of on a decline. We’re going up.” Price was quoted next, “We have not beat them since 2006, so it is good to get the monkey off of our back, and now we can start our own streak against them.” You can link to the full article and the comments here.
Several Wichita State fans took exception to these quotes, and it probably would have been better if Lee didn't answer reporters questions in exactly this manner. That said, the quotes do not stand out to me as anything one wouldn't expect to hear after a convincing win in a big rivalry game. Paul Suellentrop’s introduction seems more inflammatory to me than do the Ridenhour and Price quotes. It looks to me like the tone of the article, more so than the actual quotes, made Ridenhour and Price come off as boasting. I actually found the tone of the article condescending to the Jayhawks. I guess if I wanted to get upset then reading about the “giddiness” of the Kansas players being forgivable because, after all, they are not used to winning big games might do the trick. And as far as the rivalry, clearly the competitive gap between KU and Wichita State is less today than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Kansas will need to win a lot of games for a very long time before the stature of the KU program is equal to that of Wichita State, but right now, Price and Ridenhour are right. Wichita State and Kansas are moving towards each other.
Anyway, it was a big game and people care about this rivalry and that is a good thing as long as it is all kept in perspective. The two teams meet in Wichita on May 6th. Expect a sell out and expect some Wichita State fans looking for validation on that night. It should be a good game. Kansas is blessed with three good NCAA baseball programs and we all get to enjoy these Wheat State battles.
In other news, a nice article here from the UDK about Price’s recruitment of David Narodowski. Price is simply an excellent recruiter. End of discussion. I am sure much of the heat following the Wichita State game came from the fact that both schools recruited Ridenhour.
Big-12 Hardball is pumping out great material daily. Check out the current conference standings ranked by RPI and ISR. KU is 7th and 8th respectively. Seems right to me.