Krauth Named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Big 12 Conference named Kansas senior left-handed ace Ben Krauth the league’s Pitcher of the Week Monday afternoon, for his performance Friday night (March 11) against North Dakota.
Krauth (1-2) kick-started KU’s perfect 3-0 weekend when he threw the first complete-game shutout of his Jayhawk career in a 7-0 win over the Fighting Hawks. Krauth hit and then picked off the first batter of the game and after that, it was all domination. The southpaw cruised through nine innings in 112 pitches, tying a career-high nine strikeouts. He gave up four base hits, including two infield singles, and walked one batter.
“We need a huge year out of him,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He is coming back as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and did so well in conference play last season. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He was awesome against then-No. 5 Oregon State and he was awesome again Friday night. He is rounding into the shape we need when we hand him the ball. He has to give us a chance to win. We trust we get his best effort every time we hand him the ball.”
That effort was in full force Friday night as he became the first pitcher in the Big 12 this season to toss a complete-game shutout. In fact, no one else in the league had even tossed a complete game. If that wasn’t enough, he is also the first Jayhawk to accomplish that feat since Jordan Piche´ threw a one-hit shutout at Baylor in 2014 (April 25).
“You never take the field trying to pitch for accolades,” Krauth said. “You are out there trying to help the team win the best way you can. My job is to go out there and give the team the best chance to win on Friday night and that is what I tried to do. It makes it easy when you have great coaches around you, a great catcher behind the plate in Michael Tinsley and great defense.”
Perhaps the most unique quality to Krauth as a pitcher and something he attributes a lot of his success to is his pickoff move. In four starts, Krauth has picked off five base runners – the most by any pitcher in the country. His five pickoffs are more than every other team has combined for in the league except for WVU (6).
“Having something in your arsenal like that gives you confidence to fill up the zone,” Krauth said. “If someone gets on base, you know it is nothing to worry about. It is just a part of my game that makes up for the lack of velocity I have on my fastball.”
Price couldn’t agree more.
“It is amazing,” Price said. “In all my years of coaching it is the finest pickoff move I have seen. He completely controls the running game when he is on the mound.”
This is Krauth’s second weekly honor from the league as we was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week his junior year (April 20, 2015).
Krauth and the Jayhawks are back on the diamond at Hoglund Ballpark Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15-16, as they take on Murray State in midweek action. The team will then travel to play a three-game series at Stanford, where Krauth will take the ball Friday night. Both games against the Racers can be seen on ESPN3. Fans can also tune into the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio for a live audio feed.
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