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Weekend Preview: This is Our Sport

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[UPDATE: Jordan Weymouth now has two hits in his Longhorn career. Tonight Weymouth hit a one-out triple and scored the winning run on a Tim Maitland sac fly for a 3-2 Texas win in 11 innings. Hoby Milner got the win by getting one out. Texas improves to 24-7 on the year]

The Jayhawks from Lawrence visit the Disch this weekend, and it's not for a basketball game. During hoops season Longhorn fans are on the outside looking in on the kind of success that Kansas has enjoyed through the years, but baseball season brings with it a return to the natural order ("natural" can also be read as "football"). 

Despite the disparity in program prestige, however, Kansas has had Texas' number in recent years. The Longhorns suffered a three-game sweep in Lawrence last season and have lost the KU series in four of the past five years. However, this season Texas is entering the weekend playing its best ball of the season, whereas Kansas has been very difficult to get a read on.

Since grabbing a signature series win in Baton Rouge against LSU, the Jayhawks have been maddeningly inconsistent. Immediately after taming the Tigers, Kansas took the short trip down I-10 and proceeded to lose two in a row to Tulane in what has been a down year for the Wave. On their return to the midwest, they dropped another two straight to the not-so-mighty Billikens of St. Louis.

But, Kansas has been decent in league play. They sit at 3-2-1 after taking the series from Baylor in Waco and going 1-1-1 against the aggies because of travel rules. So you never know what you're going to get with this year's version of the Baseball Jayhawks; but when they're on, they're dangerous.

Kansas has three hitters with crazy good numbers: Brian Heere (batting average .395/on base percentage .471/ slugging percentage .561), Jimmy Waters (.373/.500/.618), and Robby Price (.372/.497/.575). Price, in particular, has been on a tear recently. He has picked up the last two Big XII Player of the Week honors in a row.

On the hill, Kansas' Friday starter T.J. Walz has been a force for the Jayhawks for three seasons. His ERA is a bit higher than he would like at 5.83, but he has nasty stuff and can be very difficult. 

Aside from all the excellent information in Shadow's midweek report, the Texas Sports series preview brought an interesting statistic to our attention: The Longhorns are hitting .297 as a team and averaging over seven runs per game in the last 20 games, up from .237 and 4.4 runs per game in the first 10 contests. The biggest difference? Cohl Walla joined the starting lineup after the first ten games. It could just be simple math that Walla's .360 would bring the team average up when it replaced Rowe's .220; but that doesn't explain the difference in run production, which one player certainly can't be said to have a three-runs-per-game impact on. This may be something to watch going forward, as Cohl Walla could in fact be the key cog in the Longhorn offensive machine.

Tonight's game and Sunday's game can be seen live online at Texas Sports. The official Longhorn site also brings you the probable pitching matchups:

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, April 9, 2010 - 6:05 p.m. Central

Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (3-1, 2.94 ERA)
Kansas: RHP T.J. Walz (5-2, 5.83 ERA)

Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 2 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Cole Green (6-0, 2.64 ERA)
Kansas: RHP Cameron Selik (4-2, 5.62 ERA)

Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 1 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Brandon Workman (5-1, 3.09 ERA)
Kansas: RHP Brad Bollman (1-2, 6.23 ERA)