Jayhawks Stay In-State, Travel to Wichita to Face Shockers
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team travels to Wichita for the fifth game of an eight-game road stretch where KU will face the Shockers Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. inside Eck Stadium.
The Jayhawks (10-17, 1-2 Big 12) head to southern Kansas after opening Big 12 play with a record of 1-2 in Lubbock against then-No. 18 Texas Tech last weekend. Kansas owns a four game winning-streak against the Missouri Valley Conference-leading Shockers.
KU swept Wichita State last season, winning 4-2 in Lawrence and running away with the game 10-3 in Wichita. The Jayhawks also swept the Shockers in 2013, winning a 1-0 battle in Lawrence and taking the game in Wichita 7-5.
WSU leads the all-time series between the two schools, 44-29, but the Jayhawks are 13-12 under head coach Ritch Price and have won eight of the last 11 matchups.
Junior right-hander Hayden Edwards (1-2) will make his fifth start on the hill for the Jayhawks. Edwards holds a 6.39 ERA, but ranks third on the team with 21 strikeouts. That ability to strike batters out will bode well against the Shockers, who strike out nearly eight times a game. His 4.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio (21 strikeouts, five walks) ranks second on the team behind sophomore closer Stephen Villines’ 8.33 ratio (25 strikeouts, three walks).
The Shockers are sending Sam Hilliard (0-3) to the mound for his seventh start of the season. Hilliard is averaging just under four innings per appearance, striking out a total of 18 batters while walking 15. The lefty holds a 7.16 ERA through the 27 and two-thirds innings he’s pitched.
Offensively, Kansas senior left fielder Connor McKay heads to Wichita holding a 15-game hitting streak, the longest streak for the Jayhawks since 2010 when Robby Price went on a 22-gamer. Senior first baseman Blair Beck also holds an impressive double digit hit streak, going 10-games, the longest of his career.
The two senior leaders aren’t impressed with their streaks, however. One thing the two agreed on was that the streaks are only good if it is helping the team win, and winning is their only focus right now, after starting the season with a less-than ideal record.
“All I am worried about is winning ballgames,” Beck said. “You can’t focus on individual numbers. You have to play your best and do whatever it takes for your team to win games. Right now we are struggling a bit, but if everyone does their part we will start getting wins.”
The midweek matchup against the Shockers will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, available on COX 22 in Kansas, Wow! 37/226 in Lawrence and on Comcast and Time Warner Cable in Kansas City. In addition, the game can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network through KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official Kansas Jayhawks mobile app.
Following the game, the Jayhawks head directly to Norman, Oklahoma to face the Sooners in a three-game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
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