Jayhawks go for season sweep at Wichita State
Freshman second baseman James Cosentino is the reigning Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week.
at WICHITA STATE
Rackoski vs. Killgore
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas looks to sweep the series against in-state rival Wichita State Wednesday, April 19, when the Jayhawks travel south for a midweek matchup against the Shockers at 6 p.m.
Kansas (17-18) is coming off one of its best weeks of 2017 and goes for its second-straight win against WSU (17-18) this season and ninth out of the last 10 games played dating back to 2013.
The game can be seen on ESPN3 with Steve Strain and Denning Gerig calling the action. In addition, fans can listen in on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
- Kansas is coming off one of its best weeks of the season after posting a 3-1 record in four games with a victory over Wichita State (April 11) and a series win against Oklahoma State (April 13-15).
- The Jayhawks last posted a 3-1 record during week four of the season after they defeated Omaha (March 8) and took two out of three games against Houston Baptist (March 10-12).
- KU picked up its eighth win in the last 10 games played against Wichita State on April 11, when it defeated the Shockers, 8-6, at Hoglund Ballpark.
- Since 2009, Kansas has won 12 of the 16 games played against Wichita State, including a streak of seven-straight from April 30, 2013, to April 19, 2016.
- Since 2009, the Jayhawks have only lost three games played at Eck Stadium while winning five others.
- Head coach Ritch Price holds a 7-6 mark in games played at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kansas, and has won three of the last four games played there.
- Head to head, Kansas skipper Ritch Price holds a 6-1 record against WSU’s Todd Butler, with the lone loss coming on May 17, 2016, by a score of 7-6.
- KU has swept the two-game season series against the Shockers five times since 2009 – only one game was played in 2010; Kansas lost both in 2012; and the teams split in 2016.
- Since 2013, the Jayhawks hold a record of 12-9 in games played against an in-state rival – 8-1 against Wichita State and 4-8 against K-State.
LAST TIME AGAINST WICHITA STATE
Kansas scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to overcome a two-run deficit and defeat the Shockers, 8-6. All four runs were scored with two outs thanks to a RBI-hit-by-pitch by junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin, RBI-walk by sophomore left fielder Devin Foyle and a two-run single by freshman designated hitter/catcher Jaxx Groshans. In addition, a combined four home runs were hit between the two squads including one by freshman right fielder Brett Vosikand another by senior Marcus Wheeler. Junior righty Tyler Davis picked up his first win of the season after two innings of relief on the hill.
BEST IN THE BIG 12 LAST WEEK
The Big 12 Conference named freshman second baseman James Cosentino the league’s co-Newcomer of the Week for his performances last against Wichita State (April 11) and Oklahoma State (April 13-15). Cosentino helped Kansas to a 3-1 record last week with tremendous presence at the plate. He posted a .417 batting average in four starts that included two doubles, three runs, three RBIs, four walks, a .583 slugging and a .579 on-base percentage. Against Oklahoma State, Cosentino made 15 trips to the plate, and reached base safely in 10 of them (five hits, three walks and two hit-by-pitches) while recording a team-high two doubles, .667 on-base percentage and .778 slugging percentage, respectively. In addition, his .556 (5-for-9) average against the Cowboys was .192 points higher than the next Jayhawk, freshman right fielder Brett Vosik, who batted .364.
Freshmen second baseman James Cosentino and right fielder Brett Vosik used the first 25 games of the season to find their way at the Division I level, and since then, have been two of head coach Ritch Price’s best at the plate throughout the month of April. The duo has started all 10 games the Jayhawks have played in the month, helping the team to a 7-3 record in those contests. Cosentino leads the squad in April with a .412 (14-for-34) average with a team-high three doubles, four RBIs, five runs scored, a .500 slugging percentage and a team-best .500 on-base percentage. Vosik posted a .355 (11-for-31) average in those 10 games with one home run, two doubles, six runs scored, a .516 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage. Prior to the month starting, Cosentino and Vosik were batting just .217 and .211, respectively, but now hold averages of .270 and .261, that rank second and third on the squad.
FAST START IN LEAGUE PLAY
Since Big 12 play started in baseball in 1997, Kansas has only started conference play 6-6 or better in seven of those seasons – this is the 21st season of Big 12 baseball. In 1997, 2009 and 2013, the Jayhawks started league play 7-5 through the first 12 games; and in 2006, 2011, 2014 and 2017, KU posted a 6-6 mark. Two of those seasons (2009 and 2014), Kansas finished with a winning record in the league, and in three of those seasons (2006, 2009 and 2014), advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas has already played series against two of the top four teams (at TCU and at West Virginia), with matchups at Oklahoma (April 21-23) and at Texas Tech (May 18-20) remaining.
GODDARD KNOWS HOW TO DEAL
Sophomore righty Jackson Goddard paced Kansas to a Saturday victory over Oklahoma State (April 17) to clinch the Jayhawks’ second conference series win of the season and fifth-straight over OSU played at Hoglund Ballpark. Goddard struck out a career-high 13 batters – the most for a KU player since 2014 and second-most ever in the Ritch Price era (2003-present) – and did not surrender a walk in the 111-pitch effort that spanned six innings. His only true blemish came in the top of the sixth inning where he gave up a solo shot amounting to his lone earned run of the contest. He exited the game with a 3-2 lead, and that is all the KU bullpen needed to solidify Goddard’s third win of the season. Final line: 6.0 IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 13K.
Senior closer Stephen Villines is 6-for-6 in his last six save attempts dating back to April 1. During the streak, Villines has thrown seven innings, allowed six hits, one run, and struck out 11 batters for a 1.29 ERA. Prior to the month of April, Villines made 13 appearances and recorded four saves throwing 20 and 1/3 innings, and giving up 12 runs while striking out 28 hitters for a 4.43 ERA. Throughout April, Villines has made seven appearances, recorded those six saves and posted a 1.12 ERA. He averages just under 2.0 strikeouts per appearance coming in at 1.95. He became KU’s all-time saves leader on April 2 surpassing the great Don Czyzand currently holds that mark at 36 career saves.
RECORD BY THE NUMBERS
Kansas is a perfect 9-0 when it holds opponents to two runs or less and is 6-1 in games decided by one run. The Jayhawks are 13-2 when leading after six innings, 15-2 when leading after seven innings and a perfect 16-0 when they have the lead after eight. On the contrary, when KU scores two or fewer runs, it holds a 2-12 mark, and when opponents score first, that record becomes 3-14.
The Jayhawks continue their road trip and head to Norman, Oklahoma, to resume Big 12 play at Oklahoma April 21-23 at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.