Kansas wraps up road trip at Baylor
WACO, Texas – The Kansas baseball team wraps up its eight-game road swing with a three-game conference showdown at Baylor Ballpark against the Bears, March 23-25.
Kansas (13-8, 0-3 Big 12) looks to get back on track in league play against Baylor (11-7, 2-1 Big 12), after being swept at Texas to start its Big 12 slate.
All three games can be seen on FoxSportsGo as well as FCS, FSSW+ and FSSW on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. In addition, the contests can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
- Kansas’ all-time record: 1,898-1,821-18 (.510)
- Head coach Ritch Price’s record in Division I: 695-666-4 (.511)
- Price’s record at Kansas: 478-438-3 (.522)
- Kansas dropped its first series of the season when it was swept in a three-game set at Texas (March 16-18) to open up Big 12 play.
- That three-game sweep snapped a streak of four-straight series wins for the Jayhawks – the longest since accomplishing the same feat in 2004.
- The last time Kansas was swept in its Big 12 series opener came in 2012 at then-No. 27 Baylor (March 23-25).
- KU has won just one game on the road, posting a 1-6 mark in seven contests played.
- In those seven contests, Kansas has been outscored 62-28 and has been held to a team .255 batting average compared to its opponents’ .309 clip.
- On the mound in those games, KU hurlers have surrendered an average of 10.1 hits, 5.9 walks and 8.9 runs per game, respectively.
- The three games at Baylor (March 23-25) mark the final trio of contests of an eight-game road swing.
- The last time the Jayhawks played eight true road games in a row came in 2015 (March 24 – April 4).
GAP TO GAP
KU leads the Big 12 Conference averaging 2.14 doubles per game and has hit 45 doubles on the season. That number is up 11 from this point last season 21 games in, where the Jayhawks had hit just 34 doubles, averaging 1.6 per game.
Kansas is 1-6 in true road contests during the 2018 season. As a team, the Jayhawks are hitting just .255 away from Hoglund Ballpark averaging 9.0 hits and 9.0 strikeouts per game. KU’s opponents are hitting .309 in those games and average 10.1 hits and 8.9 runs per contest. KU has been outscored 62-28 in those games.
The Jayhawks have played four games on a natural surface and are slated to play three more at Baylor. In those four games already played, Kansas has posted a 1-3 record and committed 17 errors compared to its opponents’ four. In games played on an artificial surface, KU has booted the ball 20 times in 17 games played, posting a record of 12-5 in those contests.
The Jayhawks are a perfect 10-0 when leading after six innings; 12-0 when leading after seven innings; and 13-0 when leading after eight innings. Those numbers mimic how head coach Ritch Price has aligned his bullpen. Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cyr and junior closer Zack Leban have combined to close out 10 of the 13 victories for KU on the season. The duo has made 10 appearances during those 13 wins, thrown a combined 30 and 1/3 innings, allowed five earned runs and struck out 23 hitters. En route, Cyr has picked up four wins, while Leban leads the Big 12 and ranks first in the nation with nine saves.
Junior closer Zack Leban is a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities and holds a 2.03 ERA in 13 and 1/3 innings pitched. Already the fastest to record nine saves in the Price era, Leban has struck out 10 batters without allowing a walk. His nine saves rank atop the Big 12 Conference and are first in the nation.
In 21 games, the Jayhawks have combined for a .439 slugging percentage with 45 doubles, 10 triples and 14 home runs, and an average of 3.3 extra-base hits per contest. That slugging percentage is up .127 from last season at this time, as KU had only hit 34 doubles, three triples and four home runs through the first 21 games of 2017 – the Jayhawks finished the season with an average of 2.2 extra-base hits per game and a .345 slugging percentage.
BRING OUT THE BROOMS
For the first time since 2014 (then-No. 19 Texas Tech), the Jayhawks swept a ranked opponent when they defeated No. 20 St. John’s Sunday afternoon (March 11). That sweep also marked the second-consecutive weekend series sweep for KU this season, another first since that 2014 campaign where it closed conference play sweeping three-consecutive weekends.
After a 0-for-17 start to his season, junior center fielder Rudy Karre broke his hitless streak with a career-best four-hit performance against then-No. 20 St. John’s (March 9), including the first triple during his time at Kansas. That outing marked the second time this season a Jayhawk recorded four hits in a game as redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta accomplished the same feat against Northwestern (Feb. 25). Since that game, Karre is batting .306 in the last nine contests with a double, two triples, a home run, a .528 slugging and a .419 on-base percentage.
COUNTDOWN TO 700
Head coach Ritch Price is five wins away from reaching No. 700 for his career as a Division I coach. Only 15 other active Power Five coaches can say they have accomplished that feat. Already the all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, Price has amassed 478 wins during his 16-year stint as the Jayhawks’ skipper, accounting for 25 percent of the program’s 1,898 victories spanning 126 seasons played.
Kansas head coach Ritch Price is the most tenured skipper in the Big 12 Conference as he has coached in 384 league games – 26 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. 384 – Ritch Price, Kansas (16th season)
2. 358 – Brad Hill, K-State (15th season)
3. 123 – Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech (Sixth season)
4. 117 – Jim Schlossnagle, TCU (Sixth season)
5. 116 – Randy Mazey, West Virginia (Sixth season)
SWING AND A MISS
Sophomore righty Ryan Zeferjahn fanned a personal-best 14 batters in the series finale against Texas Southern (March 4). That marked the most K’s for a Jayhawk in a game since Frank Duncan struck out the same number against Mississippi Valley State on Feb. 23, 2014. Those 14 also tied for the most in the Ritch Price era for strikeouts by a pitcher in a game with Duncan – the school record is 18 held by Carl Nelson (April 1, 1963) and Larry Miller (May 16, 1958).
BEST IN THE LEAGUE
Sophomore righty Ryan Zeferjahn became KU’s first Big 12 Pitcher of the Week since 2016 after that 14-strikeout performance (March 5). The last time the Jayhawks had a Big 12 Pitcher of the Week came on March 14, 2016 when Ben Krauth pitched a complete-game shutout with nine strikeouts against North Dakota.
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.
Kansas opens up an eight-game homestand on Tuesday, March 27, when the Jayhawks welcome in Missouri State for a midweek matchup at 6 p.m.
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