Jayhawks Trek North to Iowa for Midweek Set
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a series win against K-State, the Kansas baseball team heads to Iowa City, Iowa, to play a two-game midweek series against the Hawkeyes, April 8-9 at Duane Banks Field. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m., while Wednesday’s contest is slated for a 3 p.m. start.
The two games can be heard on Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase with Sean Kellerman and Scott Heitshusen calling the action. Subscription prices for Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- After a devastating 10-0 loss to K-State Friday night, the Jayhawks bounced back to win the next two games and accomplish a feat that hadn’t been done since 2008; win a series against the Wildcats.
- Kansas lost its first three midweek contests this season before winning two-straight for a 2-3 record during the week.
- Junior righty Drew Morovick has started four of the five contests on the bump during the week for a 2-1 record.
- As a team, KU is batting .301 with eight doubles and a triple during the week, while the pitching staff has compiled a 5.02 ERA.
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter leads the team with a .500 batting average (9-for-18) during midweek action, including two doubles, a triple, four walks and five RBIs.
- Freshman side-armer Stephen Villines has allowed just one earned run in 23 and two-thirds innings pitched, leading all relievers with a 0.38 ERA.
- KU has won the last five games against Iowa and nine of the 10 games played during head coach Ritch Price’s tenure.
SERIES HISTORY: Kansas holds a 14-7 advantage over the Hawkeyes and a perfect 4-0 record at Duane Banks Field. In the Ritch Price era, the Jayhawks have lost one game to Iowa out of 10 attempts, and have won the last five straight, dating back to 2010.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS: Iowa enters the two-game series against the Jayhawks having lost five of its last six games and holds a record of 16-12, 3-6 Big Ten. As a team, Iowa holds a .286 batting average, including 49 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs. Dan Potempa leads the team with a .354 batting average with five doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs, while Jake Mangler and Taylor Zeutenhorst lead the squad with 23 RBIs a piece.
On the bump, the Hawkeyes hold a 4.67 ERA, giving up 150 runs in 28 games (5.36 runs per game). Kansas will likely see Andrew Hedrick and Sasha Kuebel on the mound to start both games. Hedrick holds a 2-2 record in four starts and 24 and two-thirds innings pitched. He has allowed 14 runs off 31 hits and 10 walks for a 5.11 ERA.
Kuebel has made eight starts on the bump and tossed 34 and two-thirds innings. He has compiled a 6.75 ERA for a 2-3 record and struck out 29 batters in the process.
LAST TIME OUT: Behind a complete game 128-pitch effort by senior righty Frank Duncan on Sunday (April 6), Kansas accomplished a feat that hadn’t been done since 2008; win a series against Kansas State. The Jayhawks dropped Friday night’s contest 10-0, before bouncing back and taking Saturday’s game, 6-3, and Sunday’s game, 2-1.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Senior right-handed ace Frank Duncan tossed his third complete game of the season against K-State (April 6), allowing just one run off seven hits and a walk, while striking out three batters in his 128-pitch effort.
- Senior centerfielder Tucker Tharp mashed his fourth home run of the season off a first-pitch belt-high fastball in the second inning against Kansas State Sunday (April 6).
- Junior first baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk took three free passes against the Wildcats (April 6), including two walks and a hit by pitch.
- Tucker Tharp tallied two multi-hit performances against K-State over the weekend and now has seven this season.
- Junior righty Robert Kahana tossed six innings for his second win on the season (2-4), allowing just one run off three hits and five walks.
- Freshman side-arm slinger Stephen Villines recorded his third save of the season after tossing one and one-third innings of relief against K-State (April 5).
- Senior Jordan Piche’ got his first career start on the bump for Kansas against the Wildcats (April 4), lasting five innings after giving up seven runs off eight hits.
- Ryan Pidhaichuk broke up K-State’s Levi MaVorhis’ perfect game in the fifth inning with a single up the middle Friday night (April 4).
- After breaking his 39-straight game on-base streak, junior shortstop Justin Protacio posted a 1-for-4 effort (Saturday) and 3-for-4 performance (Sunday) at the plate to round out the weekend.
- Justin Protacio ranks tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 43 hits, just four off the pace of leaders Mac James and Boomer White.
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay leads the conference in RBIs with 34, but hasn’t recorded one in seven-straight games.
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks ninth in the conference with a .425 on-base percentage, after tallying four hits on the weekend.
- Frank Duncan ranks among the conference best in ERA (3rd / 1.59), strikeouts (3rd / 49), innings pitched (1st / 62.1) and complete games (1st / 3).
- Seventeen of Connor McKay’s 34 RBIs have come with two outs and he is first on the team with a .366 two-out batting average as a regular in the KU lineup.
- Junior righty Drew Morovick enters the week as the Big 12 leader in wins with a 6-1 record.
- In conference play, the Kansas pitching staff ranks second in the league with a 2.51 ERA and .225 opponent batting average.
NUMBER 600: Now in his 12th season at the helm of the Jayhawks, head coach Ritch Price has amassed 595 victories at the Division I level, with 378 wins coming at KU. Prior to Kansas, Price led Cal Poly to 217 wins from 1994-2002. He needs just five more wins to reach career number 600.
KANSAS RUNS ON DUNCAN: Senior right hander Frank Duncan tossed his third complete game of the season Sunday against K-State (April 6), en route to pacing the Jayhawks to their first series win over the Wildcats since 2008. On the season, Duncan holds a team-leading 1.59 ERA for a 3-1 record. Duncan tossed seven scoreless innings against No. 10 Texas Sunday, March 16, to lead Kansas to a series win. The weekend prior, he threw his second complete game of the season, Sunday, March 9, in the 1-0 loss at Stanford. In eight starts, the hurler has tossed a league-high 62 and one-third innings, allowing 49 hits, 13 runs and seven walks. En route to his 3-1 record, Duncan has struck out a team-high 49 batters and leads the Big 12 in complete games (3). Prior to his complete game at Stanford, Duncan pitched an absolute gem against Houston Baptist (March 1), going the distance for a two-hit shutout, striking out 10 Huskies in the process. It only took 98 pitches and one hour and 51 minutes for Duncan to accomplish that feat, as he faced just one batter over the minimum and retired the last 18 batters he faced. That performance came just one week after recording a career-high 14 strikeouts against Mississippi Valley State (Feb. 23) in seven and two-thirds innings pitched. He allowed just four hits and one earned run in that start to earn Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors. His 14 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher in a single game since Mike Zagurski struck out 13 against Northern Colorado (Feb. 25, 2005). Duncan was the first Jayhawk to earn a national weekly honor since Shaeffer Hall earned the same honor (Feb. 24, 2009).
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.
UP NEXT: Kansas returns home to host conference foe TCU for a three-game weekend series, April 11-13. All three games are available for viewing on ESPN3 with Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests available on the Jayhawk Television Network via Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m., with a 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. start slated for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
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