Jayhawks Continue Big 12 Play at Baylor

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Roster RosterLAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team heads south to Texas to continue Big 12 play at Baylor April 1-3 at Baylor Ballpark.

The Jayhawks (9-13, 0-2 Big 12) look to carry momentum with them into the weekend after sweeping two midweek games against No. 16 Missouri State (March 29) and Benedictine College (Kan.) (March 30). Baylor (11-13, 1-2 Big 12) has won four of its last five games and looks to get back on track after opening league play 1-2 against Texas Tech.

All three games of the Baylor series can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network with Friday and Saturday’s contests available on the dial on KLWN 1320 AM and KWOD 1660 AM, respectively. Steven Davis and Mitchell Glessner will be calling the action.
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All three games against the Bears can be seen live on Fox Sports+ available online at FoxSportsGo.com or the FoxSportsGo app for your tablet or mobile device. Saturday’s game will also be on TV on Fox Sports Midwest while Sunday’s contest is on Fox Sports Midwest Plus.

  • Kansas enters the weekend against Baylor with an all-time record of 1,844-1,762-17.
  • Head coach Ritch Price is in his 22nd season as a Division I head coach with a record of 640-609-3 (.512).
  • Price holds a record of 424-380-2 (.527) at Kansas, and is just 15 wins from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach (Floyd Temple, 438).
  • The last time Kansas traveled to Baylor in 2014, the Jayhawks completed a three-game sweep of the Bears, outscoring them 19-7.
  • The Jayhawks have won seven of their last 10 games against Baylor, but lost last season’s series, 2-1, after recording a 2-0 Friday night win (May 1, 2015).
  • Senior second baseman Colby Wright has moved himself into the team lead in batting average with a .343 clip (23-for-67), including a team-high six doubles, two triples, and a team-leading slugging percentage (.537) and on-base percentage (.506) – ranks third in the Big 12.
  • Freshman designated hitter/third baseman Rudy Karre has drawn a team-high 17 walks, scored a team-best 17 runs, has started all 22 games and has reached base safely in 17-straight games for the Jayhawks. His 17 free passes rank him fifth in the conference and are five off the pace of the league leader – Karre has done his in fewer games.

Kansas and Baylor have played 65 games in the history of the two programs with the Bears leading the all-time series 48-17. The two teams first met on April 6, 1957, in Waco, Texas, where BU defeated the Jayhawks, 6-1. Since 1997, KU and Baylor have played a conference series annually. The Jayhawks have won seven of the last 10 games and two of the last three series against the Bears, and they hold a record of 6-24 in games played in Waco. The last time Kansas trekked to Baylor Ballpark, KU completed a three-game sweep, outscoring BU, 19-7. Since head coach Ritch Price has taken the helm of the program, Kansas is 15-27.
Four Kansas players have experience in playing against current Baylor Bears in Casey Douglas, Matt Mclaughlin, Chris Fearon and Michael Tinsley. Douglas, McLaughlin and Tinsley played against Theron Kay in high school. Tinsley played for the Serra Padres, Mclaughlin was a Leland Charger, and Casey Douglas played for the Saint Francis Lancers, all teams that faced off against Valley Christian. Fearon, a native of Texas, played against Jonathan Ducoff and Collin Garret when he played for Concordia Lutheran. Fearon also played with Kody Hessemer on his high school team.
Steve Rodriguez was introduced as Baylor University’s 19th head baseball coach on June 12, 2015. An All-America second baseman on Pepperdine’s 1992 NCAA College World Series championship team, Rodriguez has spent the last 12 seasons as head coach at his alma mater, leading the Waves to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, five WCC regular-season titles, three WCC Championship Series crowns and a pair of WCC Tournament titles to his credit. In 2015, Pepperdine went 32-29 overall, 17-10 in the WCC and captured the WCC Tournament title for the second straight season to earn its eighth NCAA Tournament bid under Rodriguez. The Waves eliminated Clemson and Arizona State in Fullerton Regional action before falling to eventual College World Series entrant Cal-State Fullerton in the NCAA Regional final.
Baylor enters the weekend with an overall record of 11-13 and a 1-2 mark in Big 12 play. The Bears hold a team average of .274 that includes 45 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs and 139 runs scored. BU averages 5.8 runs per game and reaches base at a .357 clip. Outfielder Darryn Sheppard leads the squad with a .356 (32-for-90) batting average that includes a team high in doubles (7), home runs (3) and RBIs (25). His .578 slugging percentage ranks fifth in the conference while he leads the team with a .415 on-base percentage.
On the mound, Baylor holds a 5.01 ERA as a staff and gives up an average of 5.7 runs per contest. Kansas will likely see lefty Daniel Castano (Friday) and righties Drew Tolson (Saturday) and Kyle Hill (Sunday) on the bump to start each game. Castano holds a 4.34 ERA and leads the team with 33 strikeouts. Tolson has a 5.00 ERA and 2-1 record while Hill’s ERA is 5.54 in just 13 innings pitched.
Senior left-handed ace Ben Krauth tossed his third-straight game with nine or more strikeouts Friday night (March 25) in a 1-0 loss to West Virginia, fanning a career-best 12 batters. All but two of Krauth’s strikeouts were swinging and the Concord, California native’s performance against the Mountaineers completed a streak of three-straight starts throwing eight or more innings. Krauth pitched eight innings against WVU, allowing just one run off three hits with a personal-best 12 strikeouts – the most for a KU player since Frank Duncan tallied 14 in 2014 and the second-best mark this season in the Big 12 Conference. In his last three starts, Krauth has pitched 25-of-26 possible innings – including two complete games and a shutout – given up just three runs and held opponents to a .153 batting average, all while striking out 30 batters for a 1.08 ERA. Through six starts on the season, Krauth ranks first in the league with 42 innings pitched, tied for first with 42 strikeouts, first with two complete games and is the only pitcher to date who has thrown a complete-game shutout in the conference.
Senior second baseman Colby Wright is riding an 11-game hitting streak. During that span, Wright is batting .500 (16-for-32) with four doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBIs, eight runs scored, a .781 slugging percentage, a .644 on-base percentage, nine walks and is a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases. As a result of the streak, Wright has moved himself into the team lead in batting average with a .343 clip (23-for-67), including a six doubles, two triples, one home run and a team-leading slugging percentage (.537) and on-base percentage (.506). His on-base percentage ranks third in the league while his 16 walks ranks seventh.
Junior catcher Michael Tinsleyturned in a career day Wednesday (March 30) as he paced Kansas to a 19-7 win over Benedictine. Tinsley boasted a perfect 4-for-4 effort at the dish and reached base safely in all six plate appearances as he drew an additional two walks. The lefty bat smoked three doubles, drove in five RBIs and scored four runs. He set new career marks in hits (4), RBIs (5) runs (4) and tied his career-best two walks. Those three doubles marked the first time since Tucker Tharp in the Big 12 Baseball Championship (May 21, 2014) that a KU player accomplished that feat.
Junior closer Stephen Villines picked up his fourth save of the season March 29 after throwing the final two frames in a 2-1 win over Missouri State. Villines cruised through the eighth inning before getting into a little trouble in the ninth. The side-arm slinger gave up a run in the ninth before clamping down and inducing a 1-6-3 double play to end the game and help Kansas snap an eight-game losing streak to the Bears. So far in 2016, Villines has had his hands involved in six of the Jayhawks’ nine victories. He earned the win against Northern Colorado (Feb. 22) and Utah (Feb. 29), and also picked up a save against UNC (Feb. 23) and Saint Louis (Mar. 12) to go along with his save vs. the Racers and Missouri State. Those four saves give Villines 25 in his career which is third all-time in KU history behind Paul Smyth (27) and Don Czyz (31). He also ranks fifth in the NCAA among active career leaders.
The Jayhawks trek to Missouri State Wednesday, April 6, to close out the two-game midweek series against the Bears at 6:30 p.m. Kansas then returns to Hoglund Ballpark to continue Big 12 play as it plays host to TCU April 8-10.

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