Kansas welcomes Texas Southern to close homestand
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas closes out its unprecedented 10-game homestand to start the season, March 2-4, at Hoglund Ballpark when the Jayhawks host Texas Southern for a three-game set.
KU (5-2) and the Tigers (2-6) have met six times in the history of the two programs, with Kansas owning a perfect 6-0 mark.
All three games can be seen on ESPN3, available at WatchESPN.com or streaming live on multiple devices via the ESPN app. In addition to a video broadcast, the contests can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,890-1,815-18 (.510)
- Head coach Ritch Price’s record in Division I: 687-660-4 (.510)
- Price’s record at Kansas: 470-432-3 (.521)
- For the second-consecutive season, Kansas won its first two home series after taking 2-of-3 from Murray State (Feb. 16-18) and 2-of-3 from Northwestern (Feb. 23-25).
- Through seven contests, the Jayhawks are averaging 6.6 runs and 10.3 hits per game.
- In its five wins, KU averaged 8.6 hits and 5.8 runs per game, and in its two losses, 14.5 hits and 8.5 runs per game.
- Through seven games, only two players on the 35-man roster have not seen any action while every position player has seen the field at least once.
- No other team in the 126-year history of the Kansas baseball program opened the season with more consecutive home games than the 2018 squad will do (10).
- The Jayhawks will play 33 home games – the most since 1991 when the same number was reached.
- Thirty-one of KU’s 56 games slated for 2018 will be against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams, including five games against opponents that advanced to the College World Series a year ago.
- Kansas returns its entire starting rotation and nine of its 10 position starters from the 2017 squad that finished seventh in the Big 12 Conference with an overall record of 30-28.
LEADING THE WAY
Junior left fielder Devin Foyle leads the Big 12 Conference in batting average (.577), doubles (6) and on-base percentage (.621) heading into this weekend’s series against Texas Southern. Foyle has started each of the seven games KU has played, and hit safely in each contest. Foyle’s seven-game hitting streak to start the season is the longest for a player in the Ritch Price era since Jacob Boylan rattled off a hit in each of his first eight games of 2013. However, the longest streak in Price’s tenure came in 2003 when Matt Tribble hit safely in 20 games of the season.
Junior righty Blake Goldsberry picked up his first win of the season after pitching six and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief against Omaha (Feb. 26). That performance paced the Jayhawks to their fifth win of the season and was the first five-plus inning performance of scoreless relief since Stephen Villines tossed six innings of runless ball against Texas Tech (May 8, 2016).
In an explosive weekend against Northwestern, Kansas saw two of its major contributors hit home runs in sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans and junior left fielder Devin Foyle. In 2017, both Foyle and Groshans each hit one home run. It took Groshans 187 at bats into his rookie season to hit his first career home run, and Foyle hit just one four bagger in all of 204 AB’s a year ago. Six games into the 2018 season, and both rank in the top-three on the team in batting with Foyle leading in every offensive category except triples, walks and hit-by-pitches.
Kansas scored 26 runs against Northwestern in a three-game set at Hoglund Ballpark. Those 26 plated mark the most for a Jayhawk team in a three-game set against a Power Five team at home since May 7-9, 2010, when they scored 28 runs in a three-game sweep of Missouri. The last time Kansas scored a total of 26 runs against a Power Five team all-time came in 2017 at No. 19 Oklahoma (April 21-23), where it won the series.
The Jayhawks have won both weekend series to start the 2018 campaign and hold an overall record of 4-2 in those six contests. Despite winning both weekend series, Kansas struggled in the Saturday contest of the three-game sets. In its four combined wins on Friday and Sunday, KU has outscored its opponents 23-9 and held the opposition to a .186 batting average. In the two Saturday losses, the Jayhawks have been outscored 28-17 with their opponents batting .305.
THE MAN LEBAN
Junior closer Zack Leban has made four appearances in 2018 and it happens those were the four of the games Kansas has won. In those four contests, Leban has recorded three saves and is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities. In four and 2/3 innings pitched, he has allowed just two hits while striking out six of the 16 batters he has faced. In addition, Leban is the quickest Jayhawk to three saves in a season in the Ritch Price era in terms of the number of appearances it took to reach that numbers – he has done it in the least amount of appearances as possible (3).
LONG TIME COMING
Redshirt-sophomore outfielder Brendt Citta had to wait 633 days to step back on the diamond after transferring from San Jose State following the 2016 season. That time off was well spent as Citta roped the Jayhawks’ first home run of the season with a two-run blast over the wall in left center. That four-bagger came on the first pitch he saw as a Kansas player. Prior to that, his last at bat came on May 25, 2016.
PRICE NAMES 2018 CAPTAINS
Head coach Ritch Price announced that seniors Tanner Gragg and Owen Taylor, and redshirt-sophomore Brendt Citta will handle captains’ duties for the 2018 season. The trio is each holding the honor of captain for the first time in their careers and represents what the Kansas baseball program is all about.
STARS AND STRIPES
The Kansas baseball team will represent the United States at the International University Sports Federation’s (FISU) Sixth World University Baseball Championships (WCB) July 6-15, 2018, in Chiayi, Taiwan. The Jayhawks were selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States. They are the first collegiate team to wear the red, white and blue in the WCB and are the third team overall to represent the country as a collegiate national team, joining Cal State Fullerton (2015) and Iowa (2017) who played in the World University Games.
HE’S GOT TENURE
Kansas head coach Ritch Price is the most tenured skipper in the Big 12 Conference as he has coached in 381 league games – 23 more than any other current coach. He starts his 16th season in the league, one more than Kansas State’s Brad Hill and 10 more than the majority of the conference’s head coaches.
1. 381 – Ritch Price, Kansas (16th season)
2. 358 – Brad Hill, K-State (15th season)
3. 120 – Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech (Sixth season)
4. 117 – Jim Schlossnagle, TCU (Sixth season)
5. 116 – Randy Mazey, West Virginia (Sixth season)
THE ALL-TIME WINNER
Head coach Ritch Price became KU’s all-time winningest coach at 439 wins after an 11-7 win over Northwestern State on March 4, 2017, surpassing legendary skipper Floyd Temple (438). Price’s current 470 win total accounts for 25 percent of the program’s 1,890 victories spanning 126 seasons played. In addition, Price is 13 wins away from eclipsing the 700-win mark at the Division I level, a feat only 15 other active Power Five coaches have achieved.
Kansas heads to Tallahassee, Florida, for its first road trip of the 2018 season when the Jayhawks play Florida State, March 6-7 at Dick Howser Stadium.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.