Kansas Closes Out Regular Season at No. 12 Oklahoma State
Watch Cox – Thurs.
Watch FCS – Fri.
Watch FS Okla. – Sat.
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas closes out the regular season and its seven-game road stretch when the Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the final weekend of Big 12 Conference play at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium May 19-21.
The Jayhawks (20-32-1, 6-14 Big 12) need a big weekend against the No. 12 Cowboys (32-18, 13-8 Big 12) and a little help from other league opponents in order to be playing next week in the Big 12 Baseball Championship.
JAYHAWK RADIO NETWORK
All three games against the Cowboys can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network with Thursday’s contest on the dial on KWLN 1320 AM. Steven Davis and Mitchell Glessner will call the action.
On the web
Kansas Jayhawks app – search “Kansas Jayhawks”
All three games at Oklahoma State will be televised live. Thursday’s game will be aired on Cox. Friday’s game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports, while Saturday’s finale will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. A live stream of the series opener on Thursday is also available via OKState.com/Live.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,855-1,781-18 (.510).
- Head coach Ritch Price’s record at Division I level: 651-628-4 (.509).
- Price (435-399-3 [.522]) is just four wins from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach (Floyd Temple, 438).
- Kansas and Oklahoma state have met 199 times prior to this weekend’s conference series and will play for the 200th time on Thursday.
- The Jayhawks have never won a series in Stillwater in 27 tries, with their closest coming in 1992 when KU and OSU split a four-game series.
- Of the last three series matchups, Kansas has won two, including beating a then-No. 9 ranked Cowboy team in 2015.
- KU has lost 11 of the last 12 games played inside Allie P. Reynolds Stadium including the last eight straight.
- Under Price, the Jayhawks hold an overall record of 17-24 against Oklahoma State with a 2-16 record in Stillwater.
- Junior catcher Michael Tinsley leads the Big 12 Conference with a .386 batting average and a league-best 78 hits.
- Senior lefty Ben Krauth is three strikeouts away from 100 for the season and would become the first Jayhawk since Frank Duncan in 2012 and just the sixth overall to accomplish that feat since 1955.
ALL-TIME SERIES vs. OKLAHOMA STATE
Overall Record: 61-138
Current Streak: Won 2
Longest Win Streak: 6, (1992-93)
Longest Winless Streak: 25, (1982-89)
Last 10 Meetings: 5-5
In Lawrence: 37-53
In Stillwater: 15-78
Neutral Sites: 5-7
Under Ritch Price: 17-24
First Meeting: 1921 (W, 6-5)
Last Meeting: April 12, 2015 (W, 4-2)
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas and then-No. 9 Oklahoma State met April 10-12, 2015 in Lawrence where the Jayhawks won the last two games of the three-game set to win the series. Lefty Ben Krauth struck out nine in the Friday loss giving up no earned runs while Drew Morovick picked up the Saturday win with seven shutout innings. Closer Stephen Villines made two appearances, saving both games, including the Sunday clincher where southpaw Blake Weiman tossed five and 1/3 innings of one-run baseball. Blair Beck batted .400 in the series driving in five of Kansas’ nine runs on the weekend. Scores for the series are as follows: 2-7; 3-2; and 4-2.
Oklahoma State enters the final weekend with a No. 12 national ranking and a 32-18 record – 13-8 in Big 12 play – and currently sits in second place in the league standings. Oklahoma State arguably has the best pitching staff in the league with a team ERA of 3.26 in 50 games. Three different hurlers rank atop the pitching charts in the Big 12 with sophomore Thomas Hatch leading the way with a 1.97 ERA in 13 starts. Hatch has thrown a league-best 91 and 1/3 innings, stuck out 75 batters and thrown three complete-game shutouts. Reliever Tyler Buffett has made 30 appearances and holds a 2.64 ERA while starter Jensen Elliott is 7-2 in 13 starts with a 3.41 ERA. Opposite of its pitching, Oklahoma State has the worst offense in the league with a team .257 batting average. The Cowboys ranks last in doubles (84) and have struck out 420 times – 31 more times than the second-worst offense in Texas. However, three regulars in the lineup bat over .300 with Donnie Walton paving the way with a .344 average, good enough for seventh in the league. Walton leads the team in hits (64), and has driven in 33 RBIs and scored 35 times. J.R. Davis is second on the squad with a .340 clip while Garrett Benge holds a .317 average with 35 RBIs.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Kansas plays its final three games on the road at Oklahoma State (May 19-21) – as part of a seven-game road swing to close out the regular season. The Jayhawks hold a record of 4-16 in true road games – 3-6 Big 12 – and a 5-20 clip in games played away from Hoglund Ballpark. In true road contests, KU scores an average of 4.9 runs per contest compared to the 7.7 runs per game by its opponents. The Jayhawks are batting .263 on the road with 39 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs, while their opponents hit .335 with 44 doubles, nine triples and 26 home runs. Three of those road wins came at the hands of senior lefty Ben Krauth (at Baylor, at Texas and at K-State), who holds a 3-2 record in seven starts on the road. The third win came at Samford when junior closer Stephen Villines pitched three innings of shutout baseball before the Jayhawks scored four runs in the ninth to win it.
With the series loss at K-State (May 13-15), the Jayhawks have a tough road ahead of them in order to make the Big 12 Conference Championship in Oklahoma City (May 25-29). If Kansas sweeps Oklahoma State and Baylor or K-State loses their series, KU will go. If the Jayhawks win their series at OSU, they would need either BU or Kansas State to get swept. If all three teams sweep, all three win the series or KU wins its series and either the Wildcats or Bears win at least one game, Kansas is left out. BU plays at UT and K-State plays at TCU.
Junior catcher Michael Tinsley leads the Big 12 Conference with a .386 batting average including a league-best 78 hits. The lefty bat ranks 11th in the NCAA among Power Five conferences in average and fourth in hits. He averages 3.8 at bats per game and if that holds true, he would finish the season with 214 at bats. In order to eclipse the .400 mark, Tinsley would have to register 86 hits (.402), or eight more in the next three games (2.7 hits per game). The last Kansas player to accomplish that feat was Joe DeMarco in 1997 (.439). If accomplished, Tinsley would become just the eighth Jayhawk since 1955 to bat .400 or better. The last Big 12 player to hit .400 or better was K-State’s Nick Martini (.416) in 2010.
Junior closer Stephen Villines proves time and time again to be old reliable for Kansas out of the bullpen. At Kansas State, Villines picked up his fifth save of the season and has 26 for his career. He ranks third all-time in career saves at Kansas behind Paul Smyth (27) and Don Czyz (31). That save also marked his first since March 29, when he closed out a game against then-No. 15 Missouri State. Villines’ current 1.81 ERA, 5-2 record and 43 strikeouts in 44 and 2/3 innings pitched mimics his freshman campaign where he earned NCBWA Second-Team Freshman All-America honors (1.50 ERA, 2-2, 23 K, 48 IP). He needs two more saves to crack the top 10 in career saves in the Big 12.
TINSLEY A SEMIFINALIST
Junior catcher Michael Tinsely is one of 15 semifinalists for the 2016 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. The award is given annually to the top catcher in Division I collegiate baseball. The commission will announce its finalists on June 6 and then present the award on June 30 in Wichita, Kansas.
The Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship is May 25-29 at Chickasaw Brickton Ballpark in Oklahoma City. If the Jayhawks land in the top-eight in the conference standings by the end of the weekend, they would earn a berth.
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