« Baseball 2011

T.J. Walz



Walz has earned recognition on the KU Athletic Director’s and Big 12 Commissioner’s honor rolls in all seven semesters that he has been in school. A two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection, he also has been a Jayhawk Scholar in the school of business in all three of his completed years at KU.


“T.J. epitomizes what KU baseball is all about,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He represents himself, his family and the KU baseball program in a first-class manner on the baseball field, in the classroom and in our community. T.J. had the opportunity to sign a professional baseball contract last June, but told me that no amount of money was worth giving up his senior year. You don’t see that kind of loyalty very often. If he stays healthy this spring, T.J. will become the KU record-holder for career wins, strikeouts and innings pitched and will graduate in June with honors, before he begins his professional baseball career.”


Walz has been involved with several community-service projects during his time with the Jayhawks, but has had a large role in three, including two in the last year. Walz participated in the Special Olympics event at Advanced Laser Tag in Olathe, Kan., in December 2009. During this event, KU athletes participated in several different games with Special Olympians from the Kansas City area during their Stop Day before finals. In October of 2010, Walz was also involved with the Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat program where the baseball team adopted a neighborhood in Lawrence, passed out grocery bags and then collected the bags of groceries a few days later to donate to a local community shelter for the homeless. Finally, Walz and teammate Casey Lytle organized Adopt-A-Family for the baseball team during this past holiday season. He and Lytle collected funds from the Jayhawks and went and bought Christmas gifts for an underprivileged family in town.


Despite standing just 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Walz will undoubtedly go down as one of the best pitchers in Kansas baseball history. Walz enters his senior season nearing the school record in several pitching categories, including victories (20 — record is 26), strikeouts (222 — record is 242), games started (38 — record is 46) and innings pitched (238.2 — record is 310.1). He has been consistent on the mound for the Jayhawks the last two seasons. In the role of the team’s No. 1 starter, he has won eight games in back-to-back years and posted a career-high 95 strikeouts, which ranked ninth in the Big 12 and tied for fifth in KU history. During the 2011 season, KU will likely go as far as Walz can take them.