Jayhawks Open 2016 at Little Rock

Senior lefty Ben Krauth will start opening day for the Jayhawks.
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Tickets TicketsLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas baseball opens the 2016 season Saturday, Feb. 20, when it faces Little Rock at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Jayhawks are coming off a 23-32 campaign in 2015 and return 27 lettermen to their roster, while the Trojans finished 16-33 a year ago and welcome 27 newcomers to their roster. Fans can tune into the action live on the Jayhawk Radio Network available at KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official Kansas Jayhawks app on your mobile device.


  • Kansas enters the 2016 season with an all-time record of 1,835-1,749-17.
  • Fourteenth-year head coach Ritch Price enters his 22nd season as a Division I head coach with a record of 631-596-3 (.514).
  • Price begins his 14th year at the helm of the Jayhawks with a record of 415-367-2 (.531), and is just 24 wins from becoming KU’s all-time winningest coach (Floyd Temple, 438).
  • The Jayhawks are 74-49-3 all-time in season openers, and are 8-5 under the direction of Price.
  • Kansas has never played its opening day game at Hoglund Ballpark under Price, and hasn’t played one since Feb. 12, 2002, when the Jayhawks defeated Ottawa, 10-6, at home.
  • KU is 3-1 in games played on Feb. 20 under the leadership of Price including a win at then-No. 1 TCU in 2011, 4-3, in 14 innings.
  • The last time Kansas opened the season on Feb. 20 came in 2009 with a 5-0 shutout-win against Air Force – the Jayhawks made the NCAA Tournament that season.
  • Against the Sun Belt Conference, Kansas holds a 26-17 mark, with an 8-3 record during the Price era – seven of those wins came against Little Rock.
  • Prior to Kansas, Price had never lost a game against a Sun Belt Conference opponent and holds an all-time record of 23-3 mark against those teams.
  • Little Rock enters Saturday’s contest returning just seven letterwinners from a team that finished 16-33 a year ago, including two starters on the mound and two starters in the field.
  • Little Rock has 27 members on its roster that have never suited up in a Trojan uniform.

Kansas and Little Rock have met 11 times in the history of the two programs with the Jayhawks holding an 8-3 advantage over the Trojans. The two first met Feb. 15, 1992 in Little Rock, Arkansas, where KU came out on top, 12-1, before losing the following day, 8-3. It would be nine years before the teams met again, this time on Feb. 8, 2003, during head coach Ritch Price’s inaugural season as the Kansas skipper. The Jayhawks split the doubleheader by winning the first game, 7-4, in 10 innings, before falling in the second, 5-4. The last time the two squads faced one another came on the first day of May in 2012 with a total of 28 runs scored between the teams. Kansas won that matchup, 16-12, in Little Rock.

The Jayhawks can boast one thing that the LIttle Rock team cannot – no one on the Kansas roster calls the state of Arkansas home. In fact, only one player from both teams can call the other state home. Trojan infielder Zach Baker hails from Andover, Kansas, where he was an all-state standout at Andover High School before starting his collegiate career at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Chris Curry was named the head baseball coach at Little Rock in July 2014. Before taking the position at Little Rock, Curry was a top assistant and pitching coach at Northwestern State for two years and previously worked on the baseball staffs at Arkansas, Arkansas Tech, Hendrix and Meridian Community College. Curry’s first year as a Division I coach was with the Trojans in 2015. Under his leadership, the Trojans swept Louisiana for the first time since 2000. Curry spent two seasons as the head coach for Meridian Community College from 2011-12. In 2012, Meridian captured the Miss-Lou Conference Championship helping their skipper earn Coach of the Year honors. Curry spent seven years playing professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants organizations.

Little Rock finished the 2015 season with a record of 16-33 and placed ninth in the Sun Belt Conference with a mark of 12-17 under first-year head coach Chris Curry. The Trojans return just seven letterwinners from the team, including two starters on the mound and two starters in the field. Curry added 27 newcomers to help his squad in 2016, including 16 transfers. Senior outfielder Ryan Scott is the top offensive threat for Little Rock as he returns to the lineup having started all 49 games a year ago. Scott led the squad in 2015 with a .328 batting average that included a team-high 20 doubles, all while driving in 21 runs. On the hill, junior righty Cory Malcom is the top returning starter after posting a team-leading 3.61 ERA in 13 starts during the 2015 season. Malcom tossed 84 and 2/3 innings a season ago, striking out 62 batters.

Kansas head coach Ritch Price announced that seniors Ben Krauth, Joe Moroney and Colby Wright will handle captains’ duties for the 2016 season.

“I am excited about this year’s group,” Price said. “They are not only outstanding baseball players, but they are even better people. They have complete respect from everybody associated with our program, from our players to our coaching staff, and to the people within the athletic department. They represent our program in a first-class manner on and off the field and in the classroom. Individually, they are three completely different personalities. When you put them together, it is a really good combination to keep the rest of their teammates on track each and every day. It is one of my top groups of leaders I have ever had.”

The Jayhawks were predicted to finish tied for seventh in the Big 12 standings by the league’s coaches prior to the start of the season. Kansas has a habit of outperforming its preseason prognostications, as in 2014, KU was picked to finish last and posted its highest finish in the history of the conference with a 15-9 league mark, good enough for third. In 2013, the Jayhawks were picked to finish eighth and finished sixth, while in 2012, they were voted to finish ninth and placed seventh.

Kansas returns home to open up Hoglund Ballpark, Monday, Feb. 22, in the first of a two-game matchup against Northern Colorado. Both games can be seen live on the ESPN3 or listened to live on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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