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KU Baseball Notes: KU vs. Creighton tonight, Faunce and Smyth injury updates and the notice that comes with a national ranking.

<em>Brett Bollman will get the start at Creighton tonight.  Bollman has solidified his role as a key mid-week starter by going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five apperances.  Bollman has only walked 3 batters in 20 innings.</em>
Brett Bollman will get the start at Creighton tonight. Bollman has solidified his role as a key mid-week starter by going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five apperances. Bollman has only walked 3 batters in 20 innings.

Kansas plays a single game with Creighton today.  The game is at Rosenblatt Stadium and will be televised by CBS College Sports (Sunflower Cable 143.)  First pitch at 6:30.

The Bluejays (17-16) are having a down year but they are not a bad team by any stretch.  Creighton is 9-3 at home while KU is 3-7 on the road, so that is a factor.  CU holds a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series between the schools when the game is played in Omaha.  Creighton owns wins over Nebraska, Notre Dame and Kansas State already this year.

Creighton’s strength is pitching and defense.  The Bluejays only give up 4.3 runs a game.  Kirk Clark (RHP, Jr.) will start tonight for Creighton.  Clark had a very impressive two years at Iowa Western community college where he owns the school record for wins with 17.  He has been effective at the D-I level this year.  In 21.1 innings he has given up 17 hits and has a very good 10/25 BB/K ratio.  His ERA is 2.95 and opponents are only hitting .210 against him.  Brett Bollman (4-0, 2.25) will have his hands full today.  The Jays are not as impressive at the plate.  They average 6.1 runs a game, below average for an NCAA D-I team.  I am not sure why they have so much trouble crossing home plate as their raw batting line is outstanding (.309/.398/.459.) Complete Creighton stats here.

It looks like several KU baseball fans will be gathering at Biggs BBQ to watch the game.  

More points of interest after the jump:

Nick Faunce Injury:  Nick Faunce fractured a finger while attempting to lay down a bunt in Sunday’s game.  He will be unable to play for at least two weeks.  Hopefully he will be able to field and pinch run after that time and will be back fully before the Big-12 tournament.  Faunce, a senior team captain, is hitting .264/.311/.396 on the year with two homeruns and 23 RBIs.  Jason Brunansky probably will play center field most games in Faunce’s absences.  Brunansky has a world of potential but is still struggling through his freshman learning curve.  His batting line is .233/.349/.384.  Brunansky has made some outstanding plays in the outfield, and also two painful errors.  With both Faunce and Jake Marasco out the outfield is a bit thin.  Jimmy Waters and Zac Elgie might see more time out there in the next two weeks.  Can Greg Herbst play in the outfield as well? 

Paul Smyth: Paul may be ready to pitch again as soon as this weekend.  This is good news as the bullpen, like the outfield, is getting a bit thin as of late.  With Cameron Selik’s availability uncertain the Hawks are down to only five relief pitchers (Blankenship, Bochy, Burk, Marcin and Murray.)  A healthy and effective Smyth would be huge for the team as they enter the homestretch.

Kansas at #24: Kansas’ entry into the Baseball America top-25 for the first time since 2003 has brought the program some nice notice from the national media.  Aaron Fitt highlighted KU’s pitching staff in his column this week.  His bottom line on KU’s team, “The sum of all the parts is a hungry, hard-nosed team that is in good position to make its first regional since 2006, and second since 1994.”  Spot on big national media guy, spot on.  (Hat tip here to Oldwater at for bringing this column to my attention.) 

Shaeffer Hall getting better?: During the first Ritch Price radio show Shaeffer Hall was interviewed by Brian Hanni.  Hanni wondered if Hall did not pitch even better this Friday against Oklahoma State, a complete game five hitter, than he did on opening day when he threw a no-hitter against Air Force.  Hall agreed, “I’ve gradually gotten better over the season.  I was probably better on Friday than during the no-hitter.”