Kansas hosts Oklahoma State for Big 12 clash
Lefty Taylor Turski holds a team-best 2.68 ERA.
TBA vs. TBA
Turski vs. Bufett
TBA vs. TBA
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas continues Big 12 play when the Jayhawk baseball team hosts Oklahoma State for three games April 13-15, at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (15-17, 4-5 Big 12) have won the last four series played against the Cowboys (19-13, 3-6 Big 12) in Lawrence and sit in sixth place in the league standings.
Thursday’s game can be seen on ESPN3 while Friday’s game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1. In addition to the TV broadcasts, all three games can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
- Kansas posted a 2-2 record on the road last week against two top-25 RPI teams in Missouri State (April 4) and West Virginia (April 7-9).
- The Jayhawks beat a then-No. 25 RPI Missouri State, 4-2, on Tuesday (April 4) and stole a game from a then-No. 9-ranked RPI West Virginia, 7-2, on Sunday (April 9).
- That 2-2 mark in a four-game road swing is the best since KU finished 2-2 in four games played on the road at Northwestern (May 5-6) and then-No. 3 TCU (May 8-9) in 2015.
- Kansas defeated Wichita State Tuesday (April 11), 8-6, marking the eighth time the Jayhawks have defeated the Shockers in the last nine tries.
- Kansas has only lost one home game to Wichita State since 2009, coming on April 10, 2012 by a 6-4 decision in 16 innings.
- The Jayhawks are off to their best start (4-5) in Big 12 play through nine games since 2014 when they started conference play 5-4.
- Kansas has won the last four series against Oklahoma State played at Hoglund Ballpark dating back to 2009.
- In those four series victories, the Jayhawks outscored the Cowboys by an average of 5.0 to 4.3 runs per game, while four of the 12 contests were decided by one run.
- Since Big 12 play started in 1997, Kansas has won just five series against Oklahoma State, with all of them happening in Lawrence.
COWBOYS AT THE HOG
Kansas has won its last four series played against Oklahoma State at Hoglund Ballpark dating back to 2009. Of the 12 games played between the two squads, the Jayhawks have won nine of them by an average of three runs per contest. KU has won just five total series against OSU in Big 12 play with all of them coming at the Hog.
Senior closer Stephen Villines is 4-for-4 in his last four save attempts dating back to April 1. Against Texas he converted two saves to help the Jayhawks pick up their sixth-ever series win against the Longhorns. In the Saturday (April 1) contest, Villines tossed the final one and 2/3 innings where he struck out three of the five outs he recorded. On Sunday (April 2), he picked up career save No. 32 after a perfect one-two-three ninth and became Kansas’ all-time saves leader surpassing the great Don Czyz. Then, in a Tuesday game at Missouri State (April 4) he kept the streak going with a scoreless ninth to help Kansas win its first contest at Hammons Field since April 13, 2010. Villines came on in the ninth against Wichita State (April 11) and shut the door for his eighth save of the season. During this streak, Villines has thrown five innings, given up one run and averages 1.5 strikeouts per outing.
WEIMAN FOR THE SAVE
Junior lefty reliever Blake Weiman had arguably one of his best relief appearances of his career at West Virginia (April 9). The southpaw entered the game in the fifth inning with runners at first and second and two outs, primed to face one of the Mountaineers’ best hitters in Jackson Cramer. Weiman struck Cramer out on four pitches to keep the 2-2 stalemate alive until Kansas was able to take the lead in the seventh inning to earn him and the Jayhawks the “W.” Weiman tossed three and 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed just two base hits en route to his first win of the season.
WELCOME TO THE LEAGUE
Freshman righty Ryan Zeferjahn made his first-career Big 12 Conference start on Sunday (April 9) at West Virginia where he helped Kansas salvage the weekend with a solid outing on the hill. The rookie gave the Jayhawks a chance with four and 2/3 quality innings where he struck out eight of the 20 batters he faced. His only mistake came in the fourth inning when he gave up a two-run home run that allowed the Mountaineers to tie it up. Take that one pitch away, and Zeferjahn did exactly what he was supposed to and turned the ball over to the bullpen with KU in a prime position to win.
After losing six players to the MLB Draft in 2014 when the Jayhawks advanced to their fifth-ever NCAA Tournament and finished their highest ever in Big 12 play (3rd), head coach Ritch Price had to rebuild his program around a strong nucleus of young talent evident by the number of freshmen and sophomores on his lineup cards in 2017. On any given day, there could be up to five freshmen and three sophomores starting, depending on the day’s pitcher. With youth jump-starting the lineup, KU has seen steady improvement on the mound since its entire rotation from 2014 either graduated or was drafted. A look comparing the last five years offensively and on the mound:
A BETTER START
The Jayhawks are off to their best start in Big 12 play through nine games since 2014 when they started conference play 5-4. The past two seasons, Kansas missed the Big 12 Championship by finishing last and started each of those seasons (2015 & 2016) 3-6 in the first nine league games. In 2017, Kansas opened up conference play 4-5 with two tough road trips at then-No. 3 TCU (March 17-19) and at West Virginia (April 7-9) where the team squandered hopes of a sweep with Sunday victories in each series. The other two wins came in a home series victory over Texas where KU won the final two games of the three-game set. Against those same three teams in 2015, KU held a record of 3-5 and in 2016, a mark of 2-6.
The Jayhawks open up a six-game road swing Wednesday, April 19, when they travel to in-state rival Wichita State. From there, Kansas will head to Oklahoma (April 21-23) for a three-game conference series, before a two-game midweek set at Grand Canyon (April 25-26).
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