Jayhawks Primed to Host Millard Management Classic
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team continues its homestand March 11-13, as the Jayhawks play host to North Dakota, Saint Louis and Purdue in the Millard Management Classic at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (3-7) look to snap a three-game winless streak after being swept by BYU this past weekend. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and can be seen on ESPN3 with an audio broadcast available on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
- Kansas enters the weekend with an all-time record of 1,838-1,756-17.
- Head coach Ritch Price is in his 22nd season as a Division I head coach with a record of 634-603-3 (.513).
- Price is in his 14th year at Kansas with a record of 418-374-2 (.528), and is just 21 wins from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach (Floyd Temple, 438).
- Kansas holds a combined record of 8-3 against the three schools but has never played a game against Purdue.
- During Price’s tenure, the Jayhawks have combined for a 4-3 mark against the three schools with all four wins coming against North Dakota.
- Kansas gave up an average of 14.67 hits and 8.67 runs per game in its three-game winless streak to BYU (March 3-5). However, it wasn’t lack of hitting by Kansas as it tallied 9.33 knocks per game. KU just couldn’t get the timely hit as it stranded an average of 11 runners on base in each contest, and tied its season-high 12 left on base in its first two matchups with the Cougars.
- Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin and junior catcher Michael Tinsley are among the toughest players to strikeout in the country. McLaughlin has had 46 plate appearances so far in 2016 and hasn’t recorded a strikeout, while Tinsley has only struck out once in his 46 trips to the box.
Kansas holds a record of 4-1 against North Dakota and 4-2 against Saint Louis, respectively. During head coach Ritch Price’s tenure, KU has played the Fighting Hawks five times, with all contests played at Hoglund Ballpark. The Billikens and Jayhawks have played six games, but it is unknown if any of those contests took place in Lawrence, however, the two losses came in St. Louis during the 2010 season. KU and Purdue have never met in the history of the two programs, but Kansas holds a record of 33-24 against current Big Ten schools in the Price era.
Kansas will see some familiar faces this weekend in the Millard Management Classic. Freshman infielder/outfielder Ty Denzer played for Chanhassen in Minnesota during his high school days and played against North Dakota’s Connor Trygstad when he played for Wayzata-Chanhassen. Denzer also matched up against UND’s Tyler Berg in high school play. KU redshirt-sophomore righty Jon Hander played against Fighting Hawks’ Ben Reznicek in high school while senior lefty Ben Krauth faced Zach Finley in junior college. Sophomore catcher TJ Martin and freshman infielder Blake Shinkle played with Saint Louis’ Miller Hogan at Blue Valley Southwest while KU sophomores catcher Tanner Gragg and righty Ryan Ralston took the field against Hogan. SLU’s Devin Mahoney played against junior catcher Michael Tinsley in high school while Krauth matched up against Mahoney in junior college. Purdue’s Kyle Johnson and KU’s junior catcher John Remick hail from the same high school, Torrey Pines, in San Diego, California. Senior second baseman Colby Wright and Boilermakers’ Rob Woodcock battled each other in league play during their time in high school. Wright came out on top in that game, 1-0.
ABOUT THE COACHES
NORTH DAKOTA: Jeff Dodson became the first Division I baseball coach in the history of North Dakota when he was hired in 2008, as the program had spent the previous 50 years playing at the Division II level. In 2013, Dodson led the Fighting Hawks to its first winning season in the Division I era and a 25-22-1 overall record. Dodson ushered his team into a new era in 2014 as UND joined the Western Athletic Conference. In its first season in the WAC, the Fighting Hawks concluded a three-game sweep of Northern Colorado, the first of its kind since moving to Division I ball.
SAINT LOUIS: Darin Hendrickson was hired at SLU in July of 2007, marking this season as his ninth as the head coach of the Billikens. Throughout his tenure at SLU, Hendrickson has led his squad to four Atlantic-10 regular-season titles and has amassed seven-consecutive winning seasons, an SLU record. His career win percentage (.675) ranks ninth among all active Division I head coaches. Among his various accolades, Hendrickson was named the 2012 Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year and was an honorable mention for the 2013 College Baseball National Coach of the Year. Under his leadership, the Billikens have made two NCAA Tournament appearances and earned their first national ranking in school history in 2012.
PURDUE: Doug Schreiber enters his 18th season at the helm of the Purdue Boilermakers. Since being hired on at his alma mater, Schreiber has compiled a 477-477 overall record. 2012 was arguably one of Schreiber’s best at Purdue to date. During that season, the Boilermakers won a program-record 45 games, captured a pair of Big Ten titles and earned the right to host a NCAA Regional. Schreiber was named the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Prior to his arrival at Purdue, Schreiber spent four seasons as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona State. While at ASU, Schreiber helped lead the Sun Devils to the College World Series and national championship game in 1998. Before landing at ASU, Schreiber was an assistant coach at the Notre Dame in 1994. In his lone season at ND, the Fighting Irish posted a 46-16 clip.
NORTH DAKOTA: The Fighting Hawks enter Friday’s game against Kansas with an overall record of 2-4. As a team, UND is hitting .219 with eight doubles and three home runs, and averages 2.7 runs per game. Ben Reznicek leads the Fighting Hawks with a .304 batting average with two doubles and a team-high three RBIs. On the mound, KU will face a left-handed pitcher in Zach Muckenhirn. The southpaw has made two starts so far in 2016 for a 1-1 record. He has thrown 17 innings and struck out 21 batters. Opponents bat just .123 off Muchekhirn.
SAINT LOUIS: The Billikens travel to Lawrence with a 5-8 record and average four runs per game. Three SLU players bat over .300 with Alex King leading the way with a .325 clip. Trent Leimkuehler is hitting .315 with six doubles while Josh Bunselmeyer has driven in a team-high 10 RBIs. On the mound, Kansas will face Josh Moore. The lefty has made three starts and holds a 2.41 ERA. In 18 and 2/3 innings, Moore has struck out 17 batters and compiled a record of 1-1.
PURDUE: The Boilermakers hold a .260 team batting average and score 4.5 runs per game. Kyle Johnson, Nick Dalesandro and Jack Picchiotti bat over .300 with Johnson leading the way with a .390 clip. Johnson also leads the team with four doubles, three home runs, 11 RBIs and a .707 slugging percentage. Dalesandro will also serve as the starting pitcher when the Jayhawks take the field against Purdue. In three starts the righty has compiled a 7.71 ERA and an 0-2 record. He has struck out 11 batters in 11 and 2/3 innings pitched while opponents bat .280 against him.
Senior third baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk started all three contests against BYU (March 3-5) and led Kansas with a .400 (4-for-10) average on the weekend that included two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks. His .500 on-base percentage topped KU’s charts in the three-game series. In his four starts, Pidhaichuk is batting .333 (4-for-12) with a double, two RBIs, two runs scored and a team-high two sacrifice bunts. In 2015, Pidhaichuk started just seven games for the Jayhawks and finished the season with six hits.
Since opening weekend, the Jayhawks have been steadily improving their approach at the plate. The first weekend, Kansas batted just .222 (20-for-90) and since then, hit .238 (31-for-131) the second weekend and .259 (28-for-108) this past weekend. Though the average is improving, Kansas still finds itself lacking the timely hit averaging 9.7 runners left on base per game, and have reached the 12 LOB plateau four times this season – twice against BYU (March 3-4). With runners on base, KU is hitting .184 and with runners in scoring position, the team is batting .164. Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin leads the Jayhawks with a .357 batting average with runners in scoring position while junior catcher Michael Tinsley boasts a team-best .273 average with runners on base.
MR. TOUGH GUY
Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin leads Kansas with .325 average in 46 plate appearances and is yet to strikeout. He is one of only 18 players in the NCAA that averages a minimum of 2.5 at bats per game that hasn’t struck out. He dons the title as one of the toughest players in Division I college baseball to strike out, and leads both the Big 12 and nation in that category. In addition, McLaughlin led off the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against BYU (March 5) with the Jayhawks’ first home run of the season. Prior to that, Kansas had played nine games without hitting one out of the park while its opponents had hit 12.
Kansas wraps up its homestand, March 15-16, as it plays host to Murray State in midweek action. Both games can be seen live on ESPN3. Fans can also listen to the games on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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