Jayhawks Host Shockers for Midweek Action
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Riding a walk-off win in the ninth inning against conference foe Oklahoma (March 30), the Kansas baseball team plays host to in-state rival Wichita State, Tuesday, April 1 at Hoglund Ballpark. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
The Jayhawks (18-10, 3-3 Big 12) dropped two of three games this past weekend, salvaging the season with a Sunday win.
The game against the Shockers can be seen live throughout the state of Kansas on the Jayhawk Television Network with Steven Davis (play-by-play) and former Kansas baseball player Scott Heitshusen calling the action. The game will also be available on ESPN3 to those located outside the state of Kansas, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox Live to Gold Members and on Apple TV. Visit KUAthletics.com/TV for more information on affiliates.
The game can be heard on KLWN 1320 and on Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase with Tom Hedrick calling the action. Subscription prices Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- Kansas is 1-3 in midweek contests this season, with its only win coming at Creighton (March 26), 11-0, after a record-tying performance for hits in a game by one team (16) at TD Ameritrade Park.
- Seven of KU’s 10 losses have been decided by one run, including all three conference losses.
- The Jayhawks rank first in conference play in pitching with a 1.53 ERA in six games, while ranking eighth in batting with a .221 team average.
- In midweek play, Kansas is batting .306 scoring 25 runs, while the pitching staff has compiled a 5.82 ERA, allowing 24 runs off 38 hits and 10 walks.
- Overall, KU ranks second in the conference in batting (.297), second in RBIs (167) and first in fewest strikeouts (125).
SERIES HISTORY: The Jayhawks and Shockers have met a total of 72 times, with Wichita State holding the 44-28 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams first met April 5, 1952, where Kansas came out on top 6-5. In the Price era, the squads have played 23 times, with WSU holding the one-game advantage, 22-21. KU has won two-straight games against the Shockers, dating back to last season, heading into Tuesday’s contest.
SCOUTING REPORT: Wichita State is coming off a series win over No. 9 Cal State Fullerton this past weekend and holds a 16-10 record heading into midweek action. As a team, the Shockers are batting .294 with 52 doubles, eight triples, 14 home runs and 144 runs scored. Junior first baseman Casey Gillaspie leads WSU with a .404 batting average (40-for-99) with eight doubles, a triple, five home runs and 28 RBIs for a .657 slugging percentage and a .508 on-base percentage. Senior infielder Dayne Parker is the only other Shocker batting over .300 (.357), as he has 20 hits in 56 at bats. Junior infielder Chase Simpson is second on the team in run production with 21 RBIs.
The Wichita State pitching staff holds a team ERA of 2.72, allowing 66 walks and striking out 178 batters. Kansas will see senior left hander Drew Palmer on the bump. Palmer has made 10 appearances this season and throw 16 and two-thirds innings, allowing six runs off 18 hits and four walks for a 0.54 ERA.
The Jayhawks will see sophomore righty Corey Copping, sophomore left-hander Adam Choplick and freshman hurler Jake Elliot in that order on the weekend. In six starts, Elliott holds a 3.57 ERA and a 2-3 record. He has allowed 30 hits and 20 runs in 35 and one-third innings pitched. Chaplick leads the staff with 31 strikeouts in 34 and one-third innings of work, giving up 14 runs off 36 hits for a 3.67 ERA. Copping is the only starter with a perfect record (2-0), tossing just 22 innings on the season with a 4.09 ERA.
LAST TIME OUT: The Jayhawks dropped two of three games to conference foe Oklahoma over the weekend at Hoglund Ballpark. The two losses came Friday and Saturday, both with a score of 2-1, while Sunday’s win came at the hands of a walk-off double by junior designated hitter Dakota Smith in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, runners at first and second and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Smith scorched a 2-2 fastball off the wall in left field to drive in the winning run and save Kansas from the series sweep.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Junior shortstop Justin Protacio led Kansas with a .400 batting average (4-for-10) on the weekend with three walks and three run scored. He reached base safely in all three games, extending his streak to 38 games dating back to last season.
- Freshman reliever Stephen Villines tossed four scoreless innings of relief in two appearances, giving up two hits while recording two strikeouts.
- Senior righty Frank Duncan tossed eight innings Sunday (March 30), giving up one run off seven Sooner hits while striking out five batters. Those five strikeouts give him 233 for his career as he sits in fourth all-time in KU history.
- Senior right-handed closer Jordan Piche’ blew is fifth save opportunity of the season Sunday (March 30) in the win over Oklahoma. The 2013 Big 12 saves leader has only saved three games this season, while posting a 4.85 ERA in 26 innings of work.
- With a depleted bullpen, junior righty Robert Kahana gave Kansas six and one-third innings on the bump in Saturday’s contest (March 29), allowing two runs off six hits and two walks.
- Junior designated hitter Dakota Smith only posted two hits on the weekend, however none was bigger than his two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday (March 30) to give the Jayhawks the walk-off win.
- Junior lefty Wes Benjamin tossed a season low two and two-thirds innings in Friday night’s start (March 28) exiting the game with a strain in his left forearm.
- Junior Michael Suiter posted three hits (3-for-5) in Sunday’s win over the Sooners (March 30) for his 11th multi-hit game of the season.
- Seventeen of Connor McKay‘s 34 RBIs have come with two outs and he is tied for first on the team with a .375 two-out batting average as a regular in the KU lineup.
- Kansas holds a .337 average with runners on base this season, tallying 175 hits in 520 at bats. Against Dartmouth, the Jayhawks batted .422 with runners on base and .324 with two outs. The team also recorded 10 two-out RBIs.
- Frank Duncan‘s 46 strikeouts ranks him tied for second in the Big 12, sitting 27 behind conference leader Brandon Finnegan (73) of TCU.
- Both Frank Duncan and Wes Benjamin rank atop the conference leaderboard for innings pitched, as Duncan ranks first with 53.1 innings, while Benjamin ranks eighth with 42.2 innings.
- Frank Duncan also leads the Big 12 in most complete games (2).
- In conference play, the Kansas pitching staff leads the league with a 1.53 ERA, while the offense ranks eighth with a .221 batting average.
WALK IT OFF: With two outs, runners at first and second and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, junior designated hitter Dakota Smith scorched a 2-2 fastball off the wall in left field to drive in the winning run, as the Kansas baseball team defeated Oklahoma, 4-3, Sunday (March 30) afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. That win marked just the second walk-off win for KU this season.
ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Kansas tallied 16 hits against Creighton (March 26) at TD Ameritrade Park en route to a convincing 11-0 win against the Bluejays. The 16 hits tied the stadium record for most hits in a game by any team, including games played in the College World Series. The 11 runs scored were the most given up by Creighton all season and the goose egg in the CU run column was the first for them since the team was shutout at Illinois State, 6-0, May 4, 2013.
YAHTZEE: Junior designated hitter Dakota Smith and senior centerfielder Tucker Tharp accomplished a feat Saturday (March 22) that hadn’t been done since March 8, 2009, hitting back-to-back home runs in a game. Smith’s bombski was a one-out grand slam over the fence in right center in the sixth inning, with Tharp following with a solo shot over the left field wall. The last tandem to accomplish this feat was Buck Afenir and Tony Thompson against Northwestern.
ALL FOR ONE: Nine different players combined for a season-high 19 hits and 13 RBIs against Dartmouth (March 21) with six different Jayhawks tallying multiple-hit efforts. Junior right fielder Connor McKay boasted a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, including a double, home run, four RBIs and a runs scored. Sophomore second baseman Colby Wright (3-for-5), junior designated hitter Dakota Smith (3-for-5) and junior third baseman Aaron Hernandez (3-for-4) also had three hits apiece and at least two runs scored, with Wright scoring three times. Junior shortstop Justin Protacio and junior left fielder Michael Suiter rounded out the last two KU players with multiple hits on the night, as Protacio batted 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored while Suiter hit 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
ALL ABOUT CLASS: Kansas baseball’s senior closer and the 2013 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, was named one of 30 candidates to be considered for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate baseball, as announced by the committee March 19. Piche’ is one of three Big 12 baseball players to appear on the list of 30. Joining him on the list from the conference are Ross Kivett (Kansas State) and Mark Payton (Texas). The prestigious award selects senior student-athletes based on the following categories: community, classroom, character and competition.
UP NEXT: Kansas travels to in-state rival and conference foe Kansas State for a three-game Big 12 Conference series April 4-6. First pitch Friday is set for 6:30 p.m., while Saturday’s and Sunday’s games are scheduled to being at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
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