June 25, 2009
Kansas sophomore right-handed pitcher T.J. Walz is one of 22 players named to the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) for the 2009 summer tour. Walz received a late invite to try out, but made the most of his opportunity to become the first Jayhawk baseball player to make the U.S. National Team.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for T.J.,” said Kansas head 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.”
Walz, a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher from Omaha, Neb., led the Jayhawk pitching staff with an 8-3 record in 2009 and posted a season ERA of 4.70. He also led the team with 88 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings. He posted victories over five nationally ranked teams during the season, including a 12-strikeout performance in his regular season finale against Kansas State. Walz was named All-Big 12 Second Team for his efforts.
The National Team was selected after 10 days of trials that included eight intrasquad games and practices at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Walz made just one start during the trials, allowing one run on two hits with seven strikeouts over four innings.
Walz is one of 10 pitchers on the Team USA roster, and just one of two National Team members from the Big 12, joining Texas Tech’s Chad Bettis.
The National Team begins its summer season Thursday, opening a five-game series against the Canadian National Team in Cary, N.C. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 P.M. at the National Training Complex.