Jayhawks Close Regular Season on Road at Utah
May 16, 2013
LEADING OFF: With Big 12 Conference regular season play out of the way, Kansas closes the regular season with a non-conference series at Utah beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. (CT) at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City. Kansas closed its conference slate at 12-12 and awaits its seeding for next week’s Big 12 Tournament as the rest of the conference closes play this weekend. To stay sharp, the Jayhawks will make their second trip to the state of Utah during the 2012-13 season while looking to add to their NCAA Tournament resume on the road against a Pac 12 foe.
ON THE AIR: All three games in the series can be heard on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access through KUAthletics.com with veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick calling the action along with Aaron Berlin. Additionally, the Saturday and Sunday contests will be carried live on KLWN 1320 AM.
SERIES HISTORY: Saturday’s series opener will mark the first meeting between the Jayhawks and the Utes. Kansas has gone 1-2 in the state of Utah this season, winning one of three against BYU in Provo at the end of March.
SCOUTING THE UTES: Utah, in its 10th season under the direction of Bill Kinneberg, has gone 17-29 this season, including a 6-21 mark in Pac 12 Conference play. Utah has lost 12 of the last 13 contests, with six of those games decided by one run. Utah won its series opener at Washington, 5-4 in 10 innings, a week ago but have dropped three straight decisions, including a midweek game against BYU Tuesday night. Utah is third in the Pac 12 in stolen bases (69) and tied for third in triples (17). Middle infielder Cory Hunt leads the team with a .295 batting average and is one of two players with multiple triples (2) and home runs (2). First baseman Trey Nielsen provides some pop in the batting order with a team-best 13 doubles, 21 RBI and is tied for the team lead with three home runs, despite batting .237. Braden Anderson (16), Kody Davis (13) and Tyler Reif (12) have all stolen more than 10 bases. Freshman third baseman Dallas Carroll was batting .293 and was named the Pac 12 Player of the Week in March but has been limited recently with an injury. Mitch Watrous is the Utes staff ace with a 2.87 ERA in 78.1 innings pitched.
LAST TIME OUT: Kansas was swept at home to close Big 12 Conference play against Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State. In game one, Connor McKay hit for the cycle and in game two>Alex DeLeon hit two home runs, but both efforts couldn’t keep the Jayhawks from falling to one of the hottest-hitting ball clubs in the country. With the sweep, K-State positioned itself at the top of the Big 12 standings with a week to play, while the Jayhawks dropped to 12-12 and were in sixth in the league race.
HIGH ACHIEVERS: Four Kansas Jayhawks were among the student-athletes named to the 2013 Academic All-Big 12 Baseball Team as announced by the league office Thursday. Wes Benjamin, Tanner Poppe and Colin Toalson were selected as All-Big 12 First Team honorees while Michael Suiter was tabbed to the All-Big 12 Second Team. First Team selections must be a significant contributor to the team and have a cumulative GPA at 3.20 or greater. Second Team honors go to student-athletes who are significant contributors and have GPAs between 3.00 and 3.19. Poppe, a senior exercise science major, is a three time Academic All-Big 12 selection.