Kansas closes conference play with Oklahoma
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team wraps up conference play when the Jayhawks host Oklahoma for a three-game set at Hoglund Ballpark May 17-19.
Kansas (23-27, 6-14 Big 12) holds a record of 4-3 in the month of May, and will face a Sooner (33-19, 13-8 Big 12) team that has won five of their last six games.
KU will honor its senior class prior to the series finale on Saturday.
All three games will be broadcasted live on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN3 outside the coverage area. In addition, the three contests can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,908-1,840-18
- Head coach Ritch Price‘s record in Division I: 705-685-4
- Price’s record at Kansas: 488-457-3
- The Jayhawks earned a berth in the Big 12 Championship next week after defeating Kansas State Friday night (May 11).
- Kansas has won seven series on the year for including sweeps over then-No. 20 St. John’s and Texas Southern.
- Of the 25 losses by the Jayhawks this season, nine have been by two or less runs, while nine have been by 10 or more runs.
- On the flip side, of KU’s 23 victories, 13 have come by three or more runs with Kansas winning seven games by five or more runs, including three 10-plus run victories.
- Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn holds down the No. 2 spot in the conference in strikeouts after fanning 87 on the season.
- Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino ranks 15th in the nation and first in the Big 12 Conference with 19 hit-by-pitches on the season.
- Junior closer Zack Leban leads the league with 11 saves, that also ranks him tied for No. 22 in the country.
The Kansas baseball team saw a record 11 members of its program recognized by the Big 12 Conference as the league office unveiled its 2018 Academic All-Big 12 Baseball Team Tuesday afternoon (May 15). All 11 Jayhawks were named to the First Team: Casey Douglas, Devin Foyle, Tanner Gragge, Jon Hander, Brandon Johnson, Benjamin Sems, Blake Shinkle, Gabriel Sotomayor, Owen Taylor, Jonah Ulane and Ryan Zeferjahn.
For the fourth time this season and second time in as many games, Kansas connected for three home runs in a single contest Friday night at Kansas State (May 11). In those four contests, the Jayhawks hold a record of 3-1. When KU hits two or more bombs, they win 75 percent of the time (6-for-8).
Kansas hit four home runs at Kansas State this past weekend to push its season total to 39. That more than doubles its total from 2017 (18) and is the most bombs hit by a team since the 2010 campaign when the Jayhawks connected for 41.
SWINGING FOR THE FENCES
Junior left fielder Devin Foyle hit his ninth home run of the season at Kansas State (May 11) and leads the team in that category. Those nine four baggers mark the most for a KU hitter since the 2014 season when Connor McKay (9) achieved the same feat.
After getting boat raced 21-3 in the Friday opener (May 4) against West Virginia, the Jayhawks buckled down to win the next two games to claim their seventh series of the season. Kansas relied on the arms of sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn and senior Taylor Turski to get the job done. Combined, the duo pitched 13 innings, faced 53 batters, gave up 11 hits, three runs and struck out 15. That allowed KU to outscore the Mountaineers 18-5 in those two contests to claim the series.
HOME RUN TIMES TWO
Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta hit two home runs in the second game of the series against West Virginia (May 5) to turn in a career-high five RBIs and double his season home run total (4). Those two bombs for Citta mark the first multi-homer game for a Kansas player since May 15, 2016, when Colby Wrightconnected for two dingers at Kansas State.
Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans hit a career-high two, two-out, two-RBI doubles in Wednesday’s (May 2) win at Missouri State. Those two doubles and four RBIs both matched his personal-bests heading into the night, and were the two biggest swings of the game – one to give KU the lead early, and the other to put the game out of reach.
A DAY OF REST
Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino did not start or play in the final game at Cincinnati (April 29) – the first missed game of his career. That day of rest proved pertinent as the lefty bat reached base in all but one plate appearance at Missouri State (May 2). Cosentino drew a walk, wore a pitch, singled and homered, while collecting two RBIs and scoring three times.
STOPPER OF THE YEAR
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named Kansas junior right-handed closer Zack Leban to the 2018 Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List (April 26). Leban is one of three Big 12 arms to grace the list of 41 names and leads the league with 11 saves.
Junior right hander Jackson Goddard made his first start in conference play this season at Oklahoma State (April 22) and his first start since March 9, 2018. That marks a stretch of 44 days between starts as Goddard was out of the rotation due to a strained oblique. In his first start back from injury, Goddard retired the first seven hitters he faced via the strikeout. It took Goddard just 34 pitches to record those seven K’s. His season high entering the game was also seven, and he broke that with an eight-strikeout performance in his four-inning abbreviated start.
WATCH OUT FOR ZEFERJAHN, LEBAN
The College Baseball Foundation released its initial Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List on Thursday (April 19), highlighting 78 of the top arms in the country that includes two Kansas baseball hurlers – junior Zack Lebanand sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn. Kansas is one of 15 schools out of the 298 that sponsor Division I baseball to have two or more names represented on the list of 78.
With a 17-3 thumping of then-No. 5 Texas Tech on Sunday (April 8), head coach Ritch Price earned his 700th-career victory at the Division I level. Only 18 other active Power Five coaches can say they have accomplished that feat. Already the all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, Price has amassed 488 wins during his 16-year stint as the Jayhawks’ skipper, accounting for 25.5 percent of the program’s 1,908 victories spanning 126 seasons played.
THE DEAN OF BIG 12 BASEBALL
Kansas head coach Ritch Price is the most tenured skipper in the Big 12 Conference as he has coached in 401 league games – 21 more than any other current coach. Now in his 16th season in the league, he has one more than Kansas State’s Brad Hill and 10 more than the majority of the conference’s head coaches.
1. 401 – Ritch Price, Kansas (16th season)
2. 380 – Brad Hill, K-State (15th season)
3. 141 – Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech (Sixth season)
4. 139 – Jim Schlossnagle, TCU (Sixth Season)
5. 136 – Josh Holliday, Oklahoma State (Sixth Season)
6. 137 – Randy Maze, West Virginia (Sixth Season)
7. 69 – Steve Rodriguez, Baylor (Third Season)
8. 44 – David Pierce, Texas (Second Season)
9. 21 – Skip Johnson, Oklahoma (First Season)
Kansas hosts Western Illinois for a Sunday matinée at Hoglund Ballpark before heading to Bricktown for the Big 12 Championship May 23-27.