Jayhawks head to West Coast for series with No. 23 Stanford
Sophomore David Kyriacou leads the Jayhawks with a .684 slugging percentage.
at #23 Stanford
Rackoski vs. Summerville
Rincon vs. Miller
Turski vs. Castellanos
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team heads to the West Coast for a three-game series at No. 23 Stanford, Feb. 24-26, at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
Kansas (2-2) and the Cardinal (1-2) have met 18 times previously before this weekend’s series, with Stanford leading the all-time series 15-3. The last time the Jayhawks won a series at Sunken Diamond came in 2006, when KU won the first two games of the three-game set.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,857-1,786-18 (.510).
- Head coach Ritch Price’s record in Division I: 653-633-4 (.508).
- Price (437-404-3 [.520]) is just two wins from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach (Floyd Temple, 438).
- KU holds an all-time record of 134-103-1 in the month of February, with the first recorded contest played in the month coming on February 28, 1986, where the Jayhawks swept a doubleheader against Missouri Southern.
- Kansas and the Cardinal have met 12 times in the month of February dating back to 2004, and the Jayhawks hold a record of 2-10 in those contests.
- Of the six three-game series KU has played against Stanford, it has only been victorious in one of them, claiming the first two games of the set in 2006.
- The Jayhawks have been outscored in the all-time series 103-63 and average 3.5 runs per contest compared to the Cardinal’s 5.7 in 18 games played.
- When Kansas takes on Stanford, nine players will be returning to their home state as they hail from California.
- Of the 136 registered at bats by the Jayhawks, 36.8 percent (50) have been taken by a freshman in the lineup.
- In addition, of the 40 combined starts (including DH), 15 have been made by a rookie (37.5 percent).
“In my 23 years of coaching at the Division I level, this is by far the youngest team I have coached,” skipper Ritch Price said. However, youth was on Kansas’ side in Tuesday’s (Feb. 21) 11-1 victory over Omaha. Six freshmen started in Price’s lineup with another three seeing action for a total of nine of the 21 Jayhawks who played. Those rookies combined for seven of KU’s 15 hits, drove in three of the 11 runs, while scoring five runs. Collectively, the young guns in the lineup are batting .240 (12-for-50) with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs and 12 runs scored – 48 percent of the total run support (25).
THE REAL DEAL
In his first collegiate start, freshman righty Ryan Zeferjahn showed why he was so highly touted coming out of high school. The rookie arm sat 94-96 MPH with his fastball in his abbreviated start Tuesday (Feb. 21) against Omaha. In the outing, he pitched three innings and struck out four batters for his first-career win. He allowed just one lone run off five hits and a walk in the 68-pitch effort.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
All 10 freshmen on head coach Ritch Price’s active roster have found their way onto the field through KU’s first four contests. In fact, all 14 newcomers have made an appearance thus far, accounting for 42.5 percent (17-of-40) of the Jayhawks starts (including DH).
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER
If making your first Division I start as a freshman wasn’t enough, rookie second baseman James Cosentino will remember his first collegiate base hit even more. In just his second plate appearance in a Jayhawk uniform, Cosentino laced a fastball deep over the wall in right field for his first-career hit and home run, pacing Kansas to a six-run fifth inning at The Citadel (Feb. 17). That three-run blast propelled the Jayhawks to an opening day win over the Bulldogs, 7-5, and solidifying his spot in the lineup. Cosentino went on to start all three contests of the weekend at second base.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou may stand at 5-foot-9-inches tall, but that doesn’t deter him from showing off his power with the bat. Kyriacou made just 10 starts a year ago, but finds himself a regular on the lineup card, where he is taking full advantage of the opportunity. Kyriacou now leads the Jayhawks with a .684 slugging percentage with a team-high eight hits, including a triple and home run. His .421 batting average ranks second on the team, while his five RBIs is tied for first.
Redshirt-junior righty Sean Rackoski toed the rubber at The Citadel (Feb. 17) for the first time in 642 days with his last start coming on May 17, 2015, against Kansas State. The 6-foot-7-inch power arm missed all of 2016 after he broke his thumb in preseason preparation. In his first outing back, Rackoski gave up two runs in five innings of work to pick up his first win since April 21, 2015, when Kansas defeated Wichita State, 11-6.
Senior closer Stephen Villines iced The Citadel (Feb. 17) to pick up career save 27 and move into a tie for No. 2 all-time in career saves with Paul Smyth. In his first outing, Villines recorded the final seven outs in 32 pitches, including three strikeouts. Villines needs five more saves to become KU’s all-time saves leader, as Don Czyz (31) currently holds the top spot.
THE QUEST FOR 439
Kansas head coach Ritch Price stands two wins away from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach. Currently, the title is held by legend Floyd Temple, who amassed 438 wins in his 28-year tenure with the Jayhawks. The earliest Price could achieve this feat is game six of the season at Stanford (Feb. 25).
HE’S GOT TENURE
Kansas skipper Ritch Price is the most tenured head coach in the Big 12 Conference as he enters his 15th season at the helm of the Jayhawks. TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle and K-State’s Brad Hill are second on the list, as both are in their 14th season. In addition, Price has coached in more Big 12 contests than any other active skipper in the league:
1. Ritch Price (KU), 357
2. Brad Hill (KSU), 332
3. Tim Tadlock (TTU), 96
4. Jim Schlossnagle (TCU), 95
5. Josh Holliday (OSU), 93
WATCH OUT FOR VILLINES
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named closer Stephen Villines to the 2017 Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List. In its 13th year, the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Villines has racked up the second-most saves in Kansas history (27) and is just four behind KU great Don Czyz (31) – who won the Stopper of the Year Award in 2006.
Kansas returns to Hoglund Ballpark to open up an eight-game homestand beginning with Oral Roberts Tuesday, Feb. 28.
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