Kansas Travels to In-State Rival Wichita State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Following a series sweep of the Baylor Bears, the Kansas baseball team hits the road to play in-state rival Wichita State in a midweek matchup, Tuesday, April 29. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s game will be available for viewing on Cox Kansas 22. Mark Ewing will handle the play-by-play while Shane Dennis will provide his analysis.
The midweek game against the Shockers is also available for listening on the Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase with Tom Hedrick and Sean Kellerman calling the action. Subscription prices for Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- The Jayhawks swept their second opponent of the season after taking three-straight games from Baylor in last weekend’s conference matchup.
- Saturday’s win over Baylor (April 26) was the 1,000th victory for head coach Ritch Price between all three levels he has coached, while Sunday’s win (April 27) gave him his 600th at the Division I level.
- With the sweep, Kansas moved into fifth place in the conference standings, finishing the league road slate with a 7-5 record.
- With Tuesday’s trip to Wichita, KU looks to improve its midweek action mark, as the Jayhawks enter the contest versus the Shockers with a 3-7 record this season in games played during the week.
- The Jayhawks rank fourth in the conference in batting (.289), while coming in at sixth in pitching (3.50 ERA).
- With the series sweep of Baylor, Kansas is now 9-3 against Texas schools this season.
- The last time KU won three games in a row came back in March when the team beat Houston Baptist (March 1-2) and then Stanford (March 7).
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay ranks second in the Big 12 in home runs (9) and is tied for second in RBIs (40).
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks second in the league with 62 hits.
SERIES HISTORY: The Jayhawks and Shockers have met a total of 73 times, with Wichita State holding the 44-29 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 24 times, with the series tied at 12 apiece. KU has won the last three meetings against Wichita State, including a 4-2 win earlier this season (April 1).
SCOUTING REPORT: Wichita State enters Tuesday’s game with an overall record of 22-21 after dropping three of its last four games. As a team, the Shockers are batting .285, including 81 doubles, nine triples and 27 home runs. Junior first baseman Casey Gillaspie leads WSU with a .405 batting average (66-for-163) with 12 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs for a .675 slugging percentage and .508 on-base percentage. Left fielder Daniel Kihle is the only other Shocker batting over .300 (.357), as he has 35 hits in 98 at bats. Junior Chase Simpson is second on the team in run production with 33 RBIs.
As a team, the WSU pitching staff holds an ERA of 3.21, allowing 122 walks while striking out 273 batters. Kansas will see left hander Cody Tyler on the bump. The southpaw has thrown just seven and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs off six hits and seven walks for a 3.52 ERA.
LAST TIME OUT: The Jayhawks swept their first conference series of the season, taking three games from Baylor (April 25-27). That was the second series sweep of the season for KU and the first at BU in the history of the two programs. The series win by Kansas also snapped the Bears’ 11-consecutive conference home series winning streak.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay snapped a 0-for-26 streak at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort at Baylor (April 26), driving in two runs in the process.
- Senior right-hander Jordan Piche’ pitched his first complete game of his career, a one-hit shutout, Friday night at Baylor (April 25), striking out five in the win.
- Senior centerfielder Tucker Tharp mashed a career-high five RBIs Sunday at Baylor (April 27), aiding in KU’s 8-5 win over the Bears for the series sweep.
- Junior Dakota Smith batted .385 on the weekend (5-for-13), scoring a team high four runs on the weekend.
- Senior catcher Ka’iana Eldredge blasted the game-winning hit up the middle in the top of the ninth inning in Friday’s game at Baylor (April 25) to set the table for a series sweep.
- Freshman side-armer Stephen Villines picked up his fifth save of the season at Baylor in Sunday’s contest (April 27), tossing two and one-third innings, allowing three runs off three hits and a walk.
- Senior righty Frank Duncan gave up a career-high 13 hits at Baylor (April 27), but allowed just two runs to pick up his fifth win of the season.
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks second in the Big 12 in hits (62) and fifth in the conference in on-base percentage (.440).
- Connor McKay ranks second in home runs (9) and tied for second in RBIs (40) in the Big 12.
- In conference play, junior shortstop Justin Protacio leads the way with 15 free passes.
CHALKIN’ UP THE WINS: Head coach Ritch Price eclipsed the 1,000-win mark across all levels of coaching Saturday with KU’s 10-2 win at Baylor (April 26). The following day, Price guided Kansas to a 8-5 win over the Bears’ (April 27), picking up his 600th win at the Division I level.
PICHE’ HONORED: The Big 12 Conference named senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Piche’ the league’s Pitcher of the Week Monday (April 28), for his performance Friday, April 25 at Baylor. In his fourth start since becoming the Friday night guy for the Kansas baseball team, Piche’ tossed the first complete game of his career, a one-hit shutout, leading the Jayhawks to a 1-0 win over the Bears at Baylor Ballpark.
Piche’ faced just three batters over the minimum, allowing two walks and a hit, while striking out five batters for his fifth win of the season. His career-high 106-pitch effort helped the Jayhawks break a four-game skid and set the table for a weekend sweep of the Bears in Waco. The only hit Piche’ gave up Friday night came from the first batter of the game. He then went nine-straight innings without surrendering a hit. That was the fewest hits allowed by a KU starter since Shaeffer Hall threw a no-hitter against Air Force, Feb. 20, 2009.
CAREER-HIGH FIVE: Junior left fielder Michael Suiter flourished at the plate against Missouri State (April 23) with a perfect 5-for-5 effort, including four singles and a double for a career-high five hits. That performance came after a weekend where he and teammate, junior right fielder Connor McKay, combined for a .090 average (2-for-22) against OSU (April 18-20), driving in one run. That was the first time a Jayhawk tallied five hits in a game since senior catcher Ka’iana Eldredge accomplished the same feat against Southern Utah (March 21, 2012).
MIDWEEK WOES: Kansas continues to struggle in midweek action moving to 3-7 on the season during the week after losing to Missouri State (April 23). Prior to MSU, KU split a series with Grand Canyon (April 15-16) after tallying two losses to Iowa (April 8-9). Two of the three wins for the Jayhawks during the week came against Creighton (March 26) and Wichita State (April 1). Against Iowa, Kansas gave up 28 hits, which ties for the most hits given up by KU in two-consecutive games this season, as Northwestern (Feb. 21) and Milwaukee (Feb. 22) combined for 28 hits earlier in the season. The 18 hits given up in game two against Iowa (April 9) was the most hits allowed by the Jayhawks this season, and the 15th game where their opponent tallied 10 or more hits.
UP NEXT: Kansas returns home to Lawrence to host a weekend conference series against Texas Tech (May 2-4), before heading to Missouri State, May 7, for one last midweek matchup.
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