Kansas University pitcher T.J. Walz, who recently completed his sophomore season for the Jayhawks, became the first KU baseball player ever to make a U.S. National Team after being named to the team's 22-man 2009 roster this week.
During a 10-day tryout at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., Walz, who earned a late invite, made one start — giving up one run, two hits and striking out seven in just four innings — and did enough to earn one of the 10 pitching spots available.
"I'm absolutely thrilled for T.J.," said Kansas coach Ritch Price, who served as an assistant coach on the 2008 U.S. National Team. "He is certainly very deserving of this honor. I'm very confident that he will continue to pitch at a very high level and that he'll represent himself, his family, the University of Kansas and this great country in a first-class manner."
A 6-foot-1 right-hander from Omaha, Neb., Walz finished 8-3 with a 4.70 ERA this spring, leading the Jayhawks with 88 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings and earning victories over five top 25 opponents.
Walz was one of two Kansas players invited to the National Team trials, joining all-Big 12 third baseman Tony Thompson, who didn't survive the team's final cuts.
The National Team will begin play Thursday with a five-game series against the Canadian National Team in Cary.