Kansas homestand continues with Minnesota
KU’s longest hit streak (9) of the season belongs to junior Matt McLaughlin.
Zeferjahn vs. Meyer
Rincon vs. Burchill
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas baseball’s nine-game homestand continues when Minnesota comes to town for a two-game midweek series at Hoglund Ballpark March 28-29.
The Jayhawks (10-13) and Golden Gophers (14-8) met at the end of last season in May where Kansas fell two games to none in the midweek set.
Fans can watch both games live on ESPN3, or tune into the live audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” mobile app.
- Kansas has played 316 games against current Big Ten schools and holds a record of 140-175-1 in those contests.
- The Jayhawks have matched up against all but three Big Ten institutions in Maryland, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
- Kansas last beat a Big Ten opponent on March 12, 2016, when it defeated Purdue, 8-1.
- KU has played five true midweek contests in 2017 and holds a record of 3-2 in those games playing evenly matched with its opponents.
- Freshman righty Ryan Zeferjahn started each of those five matchups and averages 4.4 strikeouts per game.
- The last time Kansas played a two-game midweek series came on May 3-4, 2016, when the Jayhawks traveled to then-No. 19 Minnesota.
- Since 2014, KU has played eight two-game midweek series and holds a record of 7-9 in those matchups.
LAST TIME AT MINNESOTA
The Jayhawks traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a two-game midweek series at then-No. 19 Minnesota May 3-4, 2016. The Golden Gophers got the better of Kansas, sweeping the two-game set by scores of 19-7 and 12-7, respectively. Sixteen current KU players saw action in those two games. Shortstop Matt McLaughlin posted a 2-for-6 effort against Minnesota with a .600 on-base percentage. Of his two hits, one was a home run and he scored a team-high five times. No pitcher on staff threw more than three and 2/3 innings and that was righty Tyler Davis, who tossed those in scoreless relief, recording four strikeouts. Lefties Jeremey Kravetz and Blake Weiman started each of the games, both giving up seven runs off seven hits in the loss.
Senior closer Stephen Villines picked up his fourth save of the season Friday against Samford (March 24) to push his career total to 30. Currently, he sits in sole possession of second place on the Jayhawks’ all-time saves chart and is just three saves away from becoming the program’s all-time leader, as Don Czyz (31) holds the top spot.
NINE GAMES IN A ROW
Junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin posted a 1-for-4 effort at the plate Sunday in the series finale against Samford (March 26). That lone hit extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. Previously, he rode out a six-game streak and has hit safely in all but four games he has played this season. During the nine-gamer, McLaughlin is batting .333 (11-for-33) with two doubles, five RBIs, four walks, four runs scored and a .410 on-base percentage.
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE
Kansas has played 23 games so far in 2017 and only three Jayhawks have started each of those contests. Sophomore Devin Foyle made all 23 of his starts in the outfield – 15 in left, one in center and seven in right – while freshman James Cosentino is the staple at second base. Sophomore Rudy Karre rounds out the trio having made 20 starts in center field, two at designated hitter and one at third base.
IMPROVEMENT ON THE HILL
Exactly 23 games in and Kansas can see a steady improvement on the mound between this time in 2015 until now. Two years ago, the squad had a 5.83 team ERA with no starter under a 5.40 ERA. In 2016, those numbers improved to a team ERA of 5.19 and three starters under 4.00 ERA. Comparatively, the team currently holds a team ERA of 4.41 and has struck out 190 batters – 53 batters more than 2016 and 54 hitters more than 2015. In addition, 2017 marks KU’s lowest batting average against in those three years at .260 while it has also surrendered the fewest walks at 70.
HOME SWEET HOME
When the Jayhawks lace up their spikes at Hoglund Ballpark, they hit 63 points higher and score 2.4 more runs per game than they do on the road. At home, Kansas bats .261 with 25 doubles, two triples and 67 runs scored in 13 games – 5.2 runs per contest. Away from the Hog, the team hits just .198 with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 22 runs scored in eight games – 2.8 runs per contest.
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 445 wins account for 23.8 percent of the program’s 1,865 victories spanning 125 seasons. Temple averaged 15.6 wins per season playing an average of 30 games a year. Price averages 31 victories a year playing about 60 games a season.
The Jayhawks close out their nine-game homestand when they host conference foe Texas March 31-April 2 at Hoglund Ballpark.
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