Two Kansas hurlers named to Pitcher of the Year Watch List
LUBBOCK, Texas – The College Baseball Foundation released its initial Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List on Thursday, highlighting 78 of the top arms in the country that includes two Kansas baseball hurlers.
Sophomore righty Ryan Zeferjahn and junior closer Zack Leban made the list of 78 that showcased a total of six arms from the Big 12 Conference.
“I am really proud of both individuals,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I am proud of their development since they have been in our program. They both have done everything we have asked and it is starting to pay dividends.”
Zeferjahn leads the Big 12 with six wins and has struck out 56 batters in 46 and 2/3 innings pitched. His 2.70 ERA leads the team and ranks him third in the league while is 10.80 strikeouts per nine innings ranks fourth in the conference.
“Zeferjahn has been throwing the ball as good as anybody in America,” Price said. “The progress he has made from his freshman year to his sophomore year has just been remarkable. If he continues to develop like he has been, he has a really good chance to make team USA this summer and be a really high draft pick after his junior season.”
Leban is a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities and has made 16 appearances on the year. He has struck out 24 hitters in 23 innings pitched surrendering just three walks. His 10 saves leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks him ninth in the NCAA. In those 10 save opportunities, Leban has struck out 11 in 13 innings without allowing a walk. He is the quickest to 10 saves in school history, doing it on his first 10 chances.
“Leban came to our place as a walk on, and earned a scholarship,” Price said. “The progress he has made has been as good as anybody we have ever had during my time at KU.”
Kansas is one of 15 schools out of the 298 that sponsor Division I baseball to have two or more names represented on the list of 78. Oklahoma is the only other Big 12 school to have two names appear on the list with Stetson, Stanford and Ole Miss leading the way with four apiece.
Zeferjahn, Leban and the rest of the Jayhawks continue league play Friday, April 20, at Oklahoma State, where the two teams will play a doubleheader with game times slated for 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively.
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