KU Continues Big 12 Play on the Road at Oklahoma State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a midweek series split with Grand Canyon, the Kansas baseball team heads south to Stillwater for a three-game conference series against Oklahoma State, Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 20, at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The Jayhawks (23-16, 6-6 Big 12) have won each conference road series this season, while Oklahoma State (26-11, 8-4) has won three-straight conference series heading into the weekend.
As part of the six regular-season Big 12 games televised on the FOX networks, Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1. Dave Barnett will handle the play-by-play with Pat Combs providing his analysis. Friday’s game will also be broadcast free online at www.okstate.tv.
Friday’s and Saturday’s games will be available for listening on KLWN 1320 with Tom Hedrick and Sean Kellerman calling the action. In addition, all three games are also available for listening via the Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase. Subscription prices for Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- KU enters the weekend sitting fifth in the Big 12 standings with a record of 6-6 in conference play.
- The Jayhawks have only won two conference series, both on the road (Texas and Kansas State), this season, but have avoided being swept on consecutive home Sundays against Oklahoma and TCU.
- KU has never won a series on the road at Oklahoma State, with its best chance at doing so coming in 1992 when the Jayhawks won two out of four.
- In conference play, the Kansas pitching staff ranks second with a 2.63 ERA, holding opponents to a .240 batting average.
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks second in the Big 12 in hits (52), tied for fifth in runs scored (32) and sixth in on-base percentage (.433).
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay ranks first in the conference in home runs (9), RBIs (38), slugging percentage (.584) and third in total bases (80).
- Senior right-handed ace Frank Duncan has allowed just three runs in four starts in conference play, holding a 0.84 ERA in 32 and one-third innings pitched, which ranks fourth in the Big 12.
SERIES HISTORY: The Jayhawks and Cowboys have met 189 times, dating back to 1921, with OSU holding the advantage in the all-time series, 135-54. In 2013, Kansas won three of the four meetings between the two squads, including a 5-3 win in the Big 12 Baseball Championship. Under head coach Ritch Price, KU is 15-20 against Oklahoma State, and has won just two games in Stillwater. Kansas has never won a series on the road at Stillwater and the closest the squad has come to accomplishing that feat was in 1992 when the Jayhawks won two out of four games.
SCOUTING REPORT: Oklahoma State enters the weekend with a record of 26-11, 8-4 in the Big 12, and has won three-straight conference series en route to a No. 13 national ranking. The Cowboys sit in second place in the conference, just one game behind Texas. They have won seven of their last eight conference games, including a three-game sweep of West Virginia last weekend.
The Cowboys hold a .261 batting average in 37 games and have tallied 326 hits, including 52 doubles, nine triples and 25 home runs. Catcher Gage Green leads the team with a .317 batting average, while first baseman Tanner Krietemeier and right fielder Zach Fish provide the power in the lineup with a combined 13 home runs and 51 RBIs.
On the bump, the Jayhawks will likely see RHP Jon Perrin (Friday) and RHP Tyler Buffett (Saturday). Perrin takes the mound with a 4-2 record in five starts with 46 strikeouts in 50 and two-thirds innings for a 2.49 ERA. Buffett holds a 2.28 ERA in three starts with a 2-1 mark. Against West Virginia, Perrin tossed six and one-third innings, allowing five hits and no runs, while Buffett threw just four and two-thirds innings, giving up one run off six hits.
LAST TIME OUT: Kansas split a two-game midweek series against Grand Canyon, dropping the first game, 5-3, before winning the second 7-1. Combined, the Jayhawks posted 21 hits in the two-game set, scoring 10 runs, while GCU tallied just six runs off 12 hits.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Freshman righty Jon Hander tossed a career high seven innings Wednesday (April 16) against Grand Canyon, giving up one run off five hits for his first win as a Jayhawk.
- Sophomore Colby Wright blasted two doubles in both gaps against the Lopes (April 16) to lead off the second and fourth innings.
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay blasted three home runs against TCU, including two in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, pushing his season total and Big 12 lead to nine bombs.
- Senior righty Jordan Piche’ started his second career game on the bump for the Jayhawks on Friday (April 11) against the Horned Frogs. He allowed four runs off 10 hits and a walk in the loss.
- Senior catcher Ka’iana Eldredge boasted the only multi-hit performance in Friday’s series opener (April 11) against TCU, and finished the weekend 2-for-9 with a walk and an RBI.
- Junior right-handed hurler Robert Kahana (2-5) tossed his second complete game of the season Saturday (April 12) versus the Horned Frogs, allowing three runs off nine hits.
- Junior designated hitter Dakota Smith hit his third triple of the season against TCU (April 12) and finished the weekend 3-for-8 with three RBIs in two games played.
- Freshman side-armer Stephen Villines recorded three strikeouts in one and one-third innings pitched, recording his fourth save on the season versus the Frogs.
- Senior righty Frank Duncan tossed eight and one-third innings in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader (April 12), giving up one run off five hits, while striking out seven for the win.
- Sophomore first baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk broke up TCU’s Preston Morrison’s no-hitter in the fifth inning of Saturday’s first game (April 12) when he smoked a double down the left field line. That was the second-consecutive game in which Pidhaichuk broke up the no-hitter by an opposing pitcher in the fifth inning or later, as he did the same against K-State starter Levi MaVorhis (April 4).
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks second in the conference in hits (52), tied for fifth in runs scored (32) and sixth in on-base percentage (.433).
- In conference play, junior shortstop Justin Protacio ranks tied for first in walks (8).
- Frank Duncan leads Kansas with a 0.84 ERA in conference play, while boasting an overall ERA of 1.53 in nine starts. He ranks third overall and fourth in Big 12 play in ERA.
- Connor McKay leads the league in home runs (9), RBIs (38), slugging percentage (.584), and ranks third in total bases (80).
- In conference play, the Jayhawks rank second in pitching with a team ERA of 2.63, while holding the seventh-best team batting average (.232).
RIDIN’ SOLO: Junior right fielder Connor McKay blasted four solo shots last week, including three against conference foe TCU (April 12) combined in Saturday’s doubleheader. He now holds down the top spot in the conference in home runs, with nine, slugging percentage (.584) and increased his leading RBI total to 38. His two home runs in the night cap of Saturday’s doubleheader was the first time a Jayhawk hit two home runs in a game since Alex DeLeon accomplished the same feat May 11, 2013, against Kansas State. That wasn’t the first time McKay filled up a box score this season, as he tied his career-high with four hits at No. 10 Texas (March 14). Against Milwaukee (Feb. 22), McKay had a career-high five RBIs, which included a sacrifice fly in the first inning and a grand slam in the fifth inning. That was the second granny of McKay’s career and the first for KU since McKay hit one in 2012 against Minnesota (March 10). In 37 games, McKay has crushed his offensive numbers from last year with seven more home runs and 20 more RBIs in fewer games played (35). Nineteen of his RBIs have come with two-outs, while 16 have come from his home run production.
DUNCAN CONTINUES TO DEAL: Senior right-handed ace Frank Duncan chalked up his fourth win of the season against TCU (April 12) after tossing eight and one-third innings. Duncan held the Horned Frogs to one run off five hits and a walk, while striking out seven batters. That was the fifth time on the season he held opponents to five or fewer hits, and the eighth time he has allowed two or fewer runs in nine starts. This season the hurler has tossed a league-high 70 and two-thirds innings, allowing 54 hits, 14 runs and eight walks. En route to his 4-1 record, Duncan has struck out a team-high 56 batters and leads the Big 12 in complete games (3). At K-State (April 6), Duncan tossed a complete game to pace the Jayhawks to their first series win over the Wildcats since 2008. At No. 10 Texas (March 16), he threw seven scoreless innings to lead Kansas to a series win. Against Houston Baptist (March 1), he went 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).
NUMBER 600: Now in his 12th season at the helm of the Jayhawks, head coach Ritch Price has amassed 597 victories at the Division I level, with 380 wins coming at KU. Prior to Kansas, Price led Cal Poly to 217 wins from 1994-2002. He needs just four more wins to reach career number 600.
UP NEXT: The Jayhawks return home to host Missouri State (April 23) for one midweek game, before hitting the road again for another Big 12 Conference series at Baylor, April 25-27.
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