Kansas begins final road swing of season at Creighton
Kansas is coming off a weekend series win against in-state rival K-State.
Date May 16
Time 7 PM
Location Omaha, Neb.
Venue TD Ameritrade Park Omaha
Watch CBS Sports Network
Stats Live Stats
Notes Game Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team closes out the regular season with a four-game road swing beginning at Creighton on Tuesday, May 16, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Kansas (29-23, 11-10 Big 12) and Creighton (22-22, 10-3 Big East) met earlier this season in March where the Bluejays defeated KU, 7-3.
Fans can watch the game live on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Danny Graves calling the action. 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 seven three-plus-game series on the season – four 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 9-9 record on the road in 2017.
- In those 18 games, Kansas has been outscored by its opponents, 89-76, and held to a .224 batting average.
- KU’s RPI has climbed to No. 57 with three games left against top-100 RPI teams (at No. 4 Texas Tech ).
- Kansas’ Sunflower Showdown victory over Kansas State marked the first time the Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats since 2014.
- That series win also punched KU’s ticket to the Big 12 Baseball Championship, also a first since 2014 as the squad was left out in back-to-back seasons.
- The Jayhawks have the 12th-toughest schedule in the NCAA that also ranks third toughest in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State (2nd) and Baylor (11th) – cumulative between past and future opposition.
- Kansas has played 34 of its 52 games against RPI top-100 teams, and holds a record of 16-18 in those contests.
- Twelve of KU’s 23 losses came against NCAA Top-25 RPI teams.
- In the first 25 games of the season, KU batted .229, averaged 4.0 runs per contest and held a record of 10-15.
- Since that April 1 turnaround, the squad is hitting .278, scoring 6.2 runs per game and has tallied a record of 19-8.
Senior closer Stephen Villines is one save away from tying the all-time Big 12 Conference record set by Major Leaguer Huston Street (Texas, 2002-04) at 41. Villines holds the No. 2 and No. 3 season marks in KU history at 13 (2015) and 14, respectively, and ranks tied for 17th all-time in the NCAA record books with 40 saves. Since April 2 when he became the all-time saves leader in Jayhawk history, Villines has made 14 appearances, recorded eight saves, struck out 15 batters in 14 and 2/3 innings pitched, and has not allowed a run.
Head coach Ritch Price doesn’t shy away from tough competition, even with such a young team. In 2017, Kansas has the 12th-toughest schedule – cumulative with past and upcoming competition. That strength of schedule ranks third in the Big 12 Conference behind Oklahoma State (second) and Baylor (11th).
Since April 1, the Jayhawks have been building a resume consistent with those in search of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas has posted a record of 19-8 down the stretch, has played the 18th-most games against top-100 RPI teams (34) and the 15th-most games against top-50 RPI teams (21). To crack into the top-45 in RPI, KU would need to win three of its last four road games that includes a three-game set at No. 4 Texas Tech.
MR. TOUGH GUY
Sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre set a new Kansas record for hit-by-pitches in a season when he was plunked four times against Texas Souther (May 5-7). 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.
ACTIVE CAREER SAVES LEADER
Senior closer Stephen Villines picked up his 13th and 14th saves against K-State during Senior Weekend to push his career total to 40. 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 ).
WATCH OUT FOR MCLAUGHLIN
Junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin was named to the 2017 Brooks Wallace Award Midseason Watch List. Given annually since 2004, the award is bestowed to the nation’s best shortstop. Six other Big 12 shortstops also found their names on the list with Texas and K-State not represented.
THE ALL-TIME WINNER
Head coach Ritch Price became KU’s new all-time winningest coach at 439 wins after an 11-7 win over Northwestern State (March 4), surpassing legendary skipper Floyd Temple (438). It took Temple 28 seasons to set that standard, before Price eclipsed that mark in just his 15th year at the helm of the program. Price’s 464 wins account for 25 percent of the program’s 1,884 victories spanning 125 seasons.
Kansas closes out the regular season May 18-20 when it travels to No. 4 Texas Tech, before heading on to the Big 12 Baseball Championship at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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