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Kansas (15-10) vs. Northern Colorado (8-15)

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Kansas Jayhawks

RPI #52

Northern Colorado is one of those secretly good baseball teams.  The Bears play as a D-I Independent.  They moved up to that level in 2004 and have not had a winning record yet.  Like most cold weather small schools the Bears are road warriors.  Right now NC is on a 25 game road trip.  They are a team easy to look past, but doing so would be a mistake.  Last year the Bears won a series at Texas A&M as well as individual wins over Arizona State and Dallas Baptist. 

Northern Colorado has been coming to Lawrence since 2005 and they own a 4-3 record vs. Kansas.  KU is not the only team to fall victim to Bear attacks.  NC owns wins this year over a good 21-3 New Mexico State club and last week they upset Nebraska in Lincoln by a score of 10-7.  This is a team that can beat the Jayhawks if they are not on their game.

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Northern Colorado Bears

RPI #200


 

 

Probable Starters

Tues 3: Cameron Selik (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. James Quisenberry Jr. (2-1, 9.13 ERA)

Wed 3: Brett Bollman (2-0, 2.00) vs. TBA

 

Expanded preview and Northern Colorado statitics after the jump.

Northern Colorado was hit pretty hard at the end of last year.  The Bears lost five of their nine starting position players and seven of their top eight pitchers.  NC is fielding a very good hitting team this year but their pitching staff is a true mess.  NC averages 7.4 runs scored per game, which no matter how spun, is impressive.  What holds the team back is that their pitching and defense give up five more runs a game than they score, 12.4 on average.  Wow.   Link to complete NC statistics here.

 

The NC team batting line is .309/.396/.482.  They have hit 31 home runs in 23 games.  KU has hit 14 in 25 games.  The Bears have a deep line-up of dangerous hitters.  They might have eight men starting with OBPs over .375.  The two most dangerous players are #12 Andy Mees (Sr. 1B) and #28 Kevin Sandberg (Sr. DH).  Mees is hitting .383/.473/.681.  Last year he OPSed .861 so this is no fluke.  Sandberg is killing the ball.  He already has 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 23 games.  Last year Sandberg hit .328/.440/.597 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs.  This team will score on the Hawks.  Selik and Bollman will be tested by this team.

 

The NC pitching staff is bad.  The Bears will send 6’7 lefty #23 James Quisenberry Jr. to the mound Tuesday.  Quisenberry has a 9.13 ERA in 22.2 innings of work.  They have not decided who to start on Wednesday yet.  It probably will not matter.  There is no one in their stable getting the job done.  They only have one pitcher with an ERA under six, #35 Joe Sawicki (0-1, 5.95 ERA).  Since the Bears have not played since March 25th KU might see Sawicki on Wednesday.  Last year he went 1-4 with a 8.31 ERA in 52 innings.  That is as good as it gets for NC.  As a team they have walked more men than they have struck out (141 vs. 129).  In 23 games they have hit 39 batters, committed 12 balks, uncorked 29 wild pitches and allowed 96 extra base hits.  KU batters should feast these next two days.  The NC defense does nothing to help out their pitchers.  They have committed 2.1 errors per game.

 

Look for some high scoring games this week.  Hopefully no one from the NC pitching staff will get hot in the next two days and KU will not stumble.  The Hawks will be looking to protect their perfect 12-0 record at home.