Jayhawks open Big 12 home slate with Texas
Redshirt-junior Sean Rackoski holds a team-best 2.84 ERA through six starts.
Date March 31-April 2
Time 6 PM, 2 PM, 1 PM
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Venue Hoglund Ballpark (2,500)
Audio KJHK 90.7 FM (Sat)
Stats Live Stats
Notes Game Notes
Rackoski vs. Kingham
Turski vs. Cooper
Goddard vs. Henley
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team opens up its Big 12 Conference home slate March 31-April 2 when the Jayhawks play host to the Texas Longhorns at Hoglund Ballpark.
Kansas (10-14, 1-2 Big 12) enters the weekend against UT (18-10, 3-3 Big 12) eager to get back to league play after having not played a conference game since March 19.
Fans can watch all three games live on the Jayhawk Television Network (in the state of Kansas) or ESPN3 (outside the coverage area), or tune into the live audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” mobile app. Saturday’s contest will also be available on the dial on KJHK 90.7 FM.
- Since 2009, the Jayhawks have won 5-of-7 Big 12 home-opening series with the 2010 conference home-opening set ending in a tie when the Sunday contest against then-No. 22 Texas A&M finished in an 8-8 tie after 11 innings.
- Kansas holds a record of 7-13 in Big 12 Conference home openers all-time, and a record of 4-10 in the Price era.
- KU has won 29 league series at Hoglund Ballpark in Big 12 play, with 24 of those coming during Price’s tenure.
- Texas and Kansas have played 40 times at the Hog with the Longhorns holding a slight 18-12 edge in those games.
- The Jayhawks have only five series wins against UT dating back to 1991 with three of those happening in Lawrence – last home series win came in 2013.
- The last series win for Kansas over the Longhorns came in 2014 in Austin, where the Jayhawks defeated then-No. 10 Texas two games to one – a first since 1996.
LAST TIME AT TEXAS
The Jayhawks used seven two-out RBIs and eight strong innings from their ace Ben Krauth to claim a series-opening win over the Longhorns, 11-5. Then-freshman outfielder Devin Foyle drove in a career-high five RBIs while Krauth tossed eight innings and struck out nine batters. However, the Longhorns went on to win the next two games of the series after weather played a factor in the weekend’s schedule. Kansas rallied in the second game and scored four runs in the top of the ninth, but fell short, 8-6, and then in the series finale, KU couldn’t find an answer for UT starter Ty Culbreth, who went the distance in the seven-inning game (travel rules applied).
THEY CALL HIM LEBAN
Sophomore reliever Zack Leban tossed a career-high three shutout innings against Minnesota (March 28) where he also struck out a personal-best four batters. In his last six and 1/3 innings of relief spanning three games, Leban has not allowed an earned run and has struck out seven batters. If you look at his last 10 and 1/3 innings of relief, he has allowed just one earned run off seven hits and three walks, and has struck out 11 batters.
Senior closer Stephen Villines picked up his fourth save of the season Friday against Samford (March 24) to push his career total to 30. Currently, he sits in sole possession of second place on the Jayhawks’ all-time saves chart and is just three saves away from becoming the program’s all-time leader, as Don Czyz (31) holds the top spot.
TEN GAMES IN A ROW
Junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin posted a 1-for-3 effort at the plate Tuesday against Minnesota (March 28). That lone hit extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. Previously, he rode out a six-game streak and has hit safely in all but four games he has played this season. During the 10-gamer, McLaughlin is batting .333 (12-for-36) with two doubles, five RBIs, five walks, four runs scored and a .419 on-base percentage.
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE
Kansas has played 24 games so far in 2017 and only three Jayhawks have started each of those contests. Sophomore Devin Foyle made all 24 of his starts in the outfield – 16 in left, one in center and seven in right – while freshman James Cosentino is the staple at second base. Sophomore Rudy Karre rounds out the trio having made 21 starts in center field, two at designated hitter and one at third base.
IMPROVEMENT ON THE HILL
Exactly 24 games in and Kansas can see a steady improvement on the mound between this time in 2015 until now. Two years ago, the squad had a 6.17 team ERA with no starter under a 5.40 ERA. In 2016, those numbers improved to a team ERA of 4.97 and three starters under 4.00 ERA. Comparatively, the team currently holds a team ERA of 4.35 and has struck out 200 batters – 49 batters more than 2016 and 58 hitters more than 2015. In addition, 2017 marks KU’s lowest batting average against in those three years at .257 while it has also surrendered the fewest walks at 76.
HOME SWEET HOME
When the Jayhawks lace up their spikes at Hoglund Ballpark, they hit 55 points higher and score 2.1 more runs per game than they do on the road. At home, Kansas bats .253 with 25 doubles, two triples and 69 runs scored in 14 games – 4.9 runs per contest. Away from the Hog, the team hits just .198 with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 22 runs scored in eight games – 2.8 runs per contest.
Kansas begins a four-game road swing when it travels to Missouri State on Tuesday, April 4 for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. The Jayhawks then continue conference play at West Virginia April 7-9 at Monongalia County Ballpark.
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