Conference play resumes for Kansas with West Virginia
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team continues Big 12 Conference play May 4-6 when the Jayhawks host West Virginia for a three-game set at Hoglund Ballpark.
Kansas (20-24, 3-11 Big 12) is coming off a 9-4 victory at Missouri State that snapped an 11-game skid, while the Mountaineers (23-19, 6-9 Big 12) won their last two conference series.
KU will hold Star Wars Night on Friday, May 4, which includes $5 admission to fans dressed in their Star Wars attire.
All three games will be broadcasted live on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN3 outside the coverage area. In addition, the three contests can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,905-1,837-18 (.509)
- Head coach Ritch Price’s record in Division I: 702-682-4 (.507)
- Price’s record at Kansas: 485-454-3 (.516)
- KU snapped an 11-game winless streak with a 9-4 victory at Missouri State (May 2).
- That victory against the Bears came on the heels of clutch hitting where the Jayhawks batted .500 (7-for-14) with two outs and drove in eight two-out RBIs.
- Prior to that breakout game, Kansas batted .195 (31-for-159) with two outs in 15 games played in April, averaging just 1.9 two-out RBIs per contest.
- KU has won six series on the year including sweeps over then-No. 20 St. John’s and Texas Southern.
- The Jayhawks have had a total of nine games affected in some way by the weather this spring, including four cancellations and five alterations.
- Of the 24 losses by the Jayhawks this season, seven have been by two or less runs, while eight have been by 10 or more runs.
- On the flip side, of KU’s 20 victories, 11 have come by three or more runs with Kansas winning six games by five or more runs, including two 10-plus run victories.
- Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino ranks eighth in the nation and first in the Big 12 Conference with 18 hit-by-pitches on the season.
- Junior closer Zack Leban is tied for the league lead with 10 saves, that also ranks him No. 19 in the country.
In Kansas’ 9-4 victory at Missouri State (May 2), the Jayhawks matched a season-high eight two-out RBIs. The first time, at Omaha (April 10), KU drove in eight runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to come from behind and beat the Mavericks, 9-5. Then on Wednesday, the squad used its clutch hitting with two outs to build a lead it never relinquished. In games KU has won, the team averages 3.3 two-out RBIs per contests; in its 24 losses, the Jayhawks average just 1.1.
Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans hit a career-high two, two-out, two-RBI doubles in Wednesday’s (May 2) win at Missouri State. Those two doubles and four RBIs both matched his personal-bests heading into the night, and were the two biggest swings of the game – one to give KU the lead early, and the other to put the game out of reach.
A DAY OF REST
Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino did not start or play in the final game at Cincinnati (April 27) – the first missed game of his career. That day of rest proved pertinent as the lefty bat reached base in all but one plate appearance against at Missouri State (May 2). Cosentino drew a walk, wore a pitch, singled and homered, while collecting two RBIs and scoring three times.
SWINGING FOR THE FENCES
Junior left fielder Devin Foyle hit his eighth home run of the season at Cincinnati (April 27) and leads the team in that category. Those eight four baggers mark the most for a KU hitter since the 2015 season when Blair Beck (8) achieved the same feat.
STOPPER OF THE YEAR
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named Kansas junior right-handed closer Zack Leban to the 2018 Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List (April 26). Leban is one of three Big 12 arms to grace the list of 41 names and is tied for the league lead with 10 saves.
BACK IN BLUE
Junior right hander Jackson Goddard made his first start in conference play this season at Oklahoma State (April 22) and his first start since March 9, 2018. That marks a stretch of 44 days between starts as Goddard was out of the rotation due to a strained oblique. In his first start back from injury, Goddard retired the first seven hitters he faced via the strikeout. It took Goddard just 34 pitches to record those seven K’s. His season high entering the game was also seven, and he broke that with an eight-strikeout performance in his four-inning abbreviated start.
WATCH OUT FOR LEBAN, ZEFERJAHN
The College Baseball Foundation released its initial Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List on Thursday (April 19), highlighting 78 of the top arms in the country that includes two Kansas baseball hurlers – junior Zack Leban and sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn. Kansas is one of 15 schools out of the 298 that sponsor Division I baseball to have two or more names represented on the list of 78.
Kansas turned a season-high four double plays in Saturday’s (April 14) loss to TCU – the most since April 5, 2016. In head coach Ritch Price‘s tenure, the Jayhawks have accomplished that same feat on three other occasions and eight times in school history – it stands as the school record. On the season, KU has turned 34 double plays and ranks third in the conference in that category with Texas leading the way at 37.
FIRST OVER THE FENCE
Sophomore outfielder Mateo Zunica blasted his first-career home run in Saturday’s (April 14) loss to TCU. Zunica came on as a defensive replacement and during his first at bat in the bottom of the ninth, he stroked a 2-0 pitch off the scoreboard in right field at Hoglund Ballpark.
FIVE FOR FOYLE
Junior left fielder Devin Foyle matched a career-high five RBIs for the fourth time during his three-year tenure as a Jayhawk when he drove in a quintet of Jayhawks at Creighton (April 11). The last time he knocked in five runs came almost two years ago from that date (April 23, 2016) during his rookie season. In that campaign, Foyle reached that mark on three separate occasions.
DOWN, NOT OUT
At Omaha (April 10), the Jayhawks erased a four-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Mavericks, 9-5. Kansas scored eight runs, all with two outs, in that final frame to earn the come-from-behind victory. That eight-spot is the most runs KU has scored in an inning all season, and the most runs in a single frame since May 5, 2017, when it plated 11 runs in the fourth against Texas Southern.
With a 17-3 thumping of then-No. 5 Texas Tech on Sunday (April 8), head coach Ritch Price earned his 700th-career victory at the Division I level. Only 18 other active Power Five coaches can say they have accomplished that feat. Already the all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, Price has amassed 484 wins during his 16-year stint as the Jayhawks’ skipper, accounting for 25.4 percent of the program’s 1,904 victories spanning 126 seasons played.
THE DEAN OF BIG 12 BASEBALL
Kansas head coach Ritch Price is the most tenured skipper in the Big 12 Conference as he has coached in 395 league games – 21 more than any other current coach. Now in his 16th season in the league, he has one more than Kansas State’s Brad Hill and 10 more than the majority of the conference’s head coaches.
1. 395 – Ritch Price, Kansas (16th season)
2. 374 – Brad Hill, K-State (15th season)
3. 138 – Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech (Sixth season)
4. 136 – Jim Schlossnagle, TCU (Sixth Season)
5. 133 – Josh Holliday, Oklahoma State (Sixth Season)
6. 131 – Randy Maze, West Virginia (Sixth Season)
7. 66 – Steve Rodriguez, Baylor (Third Season)
8. 41 – David Pierce, Texas (Second Season)
9. 18 – Skip Johnson, Oklahoma (First Season)
Kansas continues league play when the Jayhawks travel to in-state rival Kansas State May 11-13.
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