Rotation being sorted out
With his team not scheduled to play again until Friday’s 1 p.m. matchup with Coastal Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Kansas University baseball coach Ritch Price will have a rare four days of preparation time.
During that time, the Jayhawks coach plans — among other things — to examine the possibility of tweaking his starting rotation.
Traditionally this season, Price has gone with a weekend rotation of junior left-hander Shaeffer Hall (Friday), sophomore right-hander T.J. Walz (Saturday) and freshman right-hander Lee Ridenhour (Sunday), although the coach Monday said he would consider juggling the order in an effort to create the best matchups entering this week’s regional tournament.
“I’ll get a copy of the stats and the rosters, break down how many right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters each of those teams has and how we might match up best against them,” said Price, whose team is grouped with North Carolina (the region’s No. 1 seed) and Dartmouth (No. 4), in addition to Coastal Carolina.
While much of Kansas’ success this season has come courtesy of its starting pitching, the Jayhawks struggled mightily in that area in Oklahoma City at the Big 12 tournament.
“That was probably one of the first weekends that we didn’t play very well in a long time,” Hall said of the team’s starting rotation. “Our pitching staff … we’re still going to go out there and do our thing. We’re still confident in our abilities. And hopefully we’ll have the (same) success that we’ve had all year.”
KU’s RPI lagging
Despite putting together a formidable regular-season resume — recording sweeps over then-No. 1 Texas and then-No. 17 Oklahoma State and finishing fifth in the ultra-competitive Big 12 Conference — Kansas entered the week as an NCAA bubble team at least in part because of its lagging RPI rating.
The Jayhawks finished the regular season with 13 victories against ranked opponents, but are rated just 53rd in college baseball’s most recent RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), a formula that ranks teams based on their winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents winning percentage.
Price said Kansas’ RPI likely was hindered by three or four lower-quality opponents.
“(We’re) actually going to contact the NCAA, and we’re going to try to figure out which teams those are,” Price said. “And I’ll be real blunt with you, we’re going to get them off our schedule. Because we should have been a lock to get (into the NCAA Tournament), and the only reason we weren’t a lock is because we were 50 when we should have been 30 or somewhere in there.”
Price on mend
Injured Kansas second baseman Robby Price said Monday that he’s confident team trainer Ken Wainwright will have him ready to play in Friday’s opener against Coastal Carolina.
“The first time I hurt it last year against Missouri, I didn’t think I was going to be able to play that next weekend, and he got me on the field,” said Price, who was forced to leave Saturday’s game against Baylor after re-injuring his left shoulder while making a diving play up the middle. “So hopefully he can work his magic again and get me back out there.”
Price, the team’s No. 2 hitter, is batting .302 with a .451 on-base percentage.