Jayhawks ready for Sunflower Showdown on the diamond
Freshman second baseman James Cosentino was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
Date May 12-14
Time 6 PM, 2 PM, 2 PM
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Venue Hoglund Ballpark
Watch Jayhawk Television Network
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Stats Live Stats
Notes Game Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team closes out its home slate May 12-14 at Hoglund Ballpark when the Jayhawks play host to in-state rival K-State in the annual Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons.
Kansas (27-22, 9-9 Big 12) sits in fifth place in the league standings while the Wildcats (26-22, 5-13 Big 12) come to the Hog having lost five of its last eight conference games played.
Sunday’s contest against K-State will serve as Senior Day, where the Jayhawks will recognize their senior class and thank them for what they have given to the program over the last four years.
All three games will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network and on ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas. In addition, fans can tune into the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app to listen in live.
- Kansas has won six three-plus-game series on the season – three in Big 12 play – marking the most won in a season since 2014 when the Jayhawks claimed victories in eight series of three or more games.
- The Jayhawks hold a 18-11 record at Hoglund Ballpark in 2017 with a 5-4 record in Big 12 play in Lawrence.
- In those nine games, Kansas has played even with its opponents with both averaging 4.1 runs per contest.
- KU’s RPI has climbed to No. 62 with six games left against top-100 RPI teams (No. 99 K-State ; at No. 3 Texas Tech ).
- Kansas’ four-game sweep of Texas Southern over the weekend marked the first series sweep of an opponent for a Jayhawk team since 2014 – West Virginia (May 9-11).
- The Jayhawks have the 14th-toughest schedule in the NCAA that also ranks second toughest in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State (2nd) – cumulative between past and future opposition.
- Kansas has claimed nine victories over NCAA Top-50 RPI teams, 11 wins against NCAA Top-100 RPI teams and has won three of its six Big 12 series, including a road series win against then-No. 19 Oklahoma (NCAA RPI 27).
- Twelve of KU’s 22 losses came against NCAA Top-25 RPI teams.
- Kansas is a perfect 5-0 in the month of May so far this year and holds a record of 17-7 since April 1.
- In the first 25 games of the season, KU batted .229 and averaged 4.0 runs per contest compared to its 17-7 record from April 1 where the squad is hitting .276 and scoring 6.4 runs per game.
ON THE RISE
Kansas sits in fifth place in the Big 12 Conference with two league series remaining – Kansas State and at Texas Tech. Being in the No. 1 RPI conference and with five teams within one game of each other, KU could finish as high as third place in the league, depending on how the rest of the games play out. For the Jayhawks to lock-in their spot in the Big 12 Championship, they would need a series win over Kansas State or win three of its last six games.
MR. TOUGH GUY
Sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre set a new Kansas record for hit-by-pitches in a season this past weekend when he was plunked four times. The new season mark has been set at 25 and counting. He ranks second in the nation and first in the league in that category.
THE SECOND COMING
For the second time this season, the Big 12 Conference named freshman second baseman James Cosentino the league’s Newcomer of the Week on Monday, May 8. Cosentino paced Kansas to a 5-0 week that included a midweek win over then-No. 16 Missouri State and a four-game sweep of Texas Southern on the weekend. Cosentino had his hands involved in 18 of the Jayhawks’ runs on the week as he drove in a Big 12-best nine RBIs and touched home nine times – second in the league only to teammate Matt McLaughlin (10). If that wasn’t enough, he hit a home run in back-to-back games, drew a team-high six walks and was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases. His two home runs pushed his season total to the team lead at four.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) named Kansas junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin to the Academic All-District 7 team Thursday (May 4) morning. A three-year starter at shortstop, McLaughlin holds a 3.51 grade-point average (GPA) while majoring in business administration. He was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team in 2016, the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Team in 2015 and 2016, the Big 12 All-Freshman Team in 2015 and the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team in 2015. He is the 12th player to don this honor in Kansas history, and the first since 2011 when outfielder Casey Lytle earned the recognition.
For the fourth time this season, Kansas hit two or more home runs in a game when sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre and freshmen James Cosentino and Benjamin Semseach hit a blast against Texas Southern (May 5). Cosentino followed up that effort Saturday against the Tigers with his fourth home run of the season. The Jayhawks hold a record of 6-1 when they hit at least one long ball in a game, and are a perfect 4-0 when they hit two or more.
CALL HIM THE STOPPER
For the second time in his career, senior closer Stephen Villines was named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, bestowed to the nation’s top relief pitcher. Villines has racked up 12 saves on the season and leads the Big 12 Conference in that category. So far in 2017, Villines has posted a 2.78 ERA in 35 and 2/3 innings pitched and struck out 28.2 percent of the batters he has faced (43-of-152). In his last 15 appearances, Villines has earned eight saves, and has converted on eight of his last nine save attempts.
Kansas has played 49 games so far in 2017 and only three Jayhawks have started each of those contests. Sophomore Devin Foyle made all 49 of his starts in the outfield – 40 in left, one in center and eight in right – while freshman James Cosentino is the staple at second base. Sophomore Rudy Karre rounds out the trio having made 46 starts in center field, two at designated hitter and one at third base.
ACTIVE CAREER SAVES LEADER
Senior closer Stephen Villines added his 12th save of the season against No. 16 Missouri State (May 2) to push his career total to 38 – the same day he was honored as the Jayhawks’ all-time saves leader. That number ranks first in the Big 12 Conference and first in the NCAA for the most saves in a career by an active pitcher. Villines is one of two Power Five closers in the top-10 in active career saves (10th – Troy Montemayor, Baylor ). Currently, Villines ranks No. 19 all-time in NCAA history with 38 saves and would need five more to crack the all-time top-10. In addition, his 38 saves rank second all-time in the Big 12 with a Longhorn (Huston Street, 2002-04) holding the top spot at 41.
The Jayhawks close out the 2017 season on the road when they travel to Creighton for midweek action on May 16, before wrapping up conference play at No. 4 Texas Tech, May 18-20.
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