Kansas Welcomes Conference Foe No. 19 Texas Tech for Weekend Matchup
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas brings a four-game winning streak home to Lawrence as the squad hosts No. 19 Texas Tech for a three-game conference weekend series, Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4 at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (27-20, 9-9 Big 12) have a 6-8 record at home, and look to improve that number hosting the Red Raiders (36-13, 11-7 Big 12) in the second-to-last home series of the year for KU.
The three-game series can be seen in its entirety on ESPN3, accessible online at Watch ESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox Live to Gold Members and on Apple TV. Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests will be broadcast throughout the state of Kansas on the Jayhawk Television Network and will be blacked out on ESPN3 throughout the state. Steven Davis will handle the play-by-play with former KU baseball players Scott Heitshusen (Friday and Saturday) and Travis Blankenship (Sunday). Visit KUAthletics.com/TV for more information on affiliates.
In addition, all three games can be heard on Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase with legendary play-by-play man Tom Hedrick and Sean Kellerman calling the action. In addition, Saturday’s game can also be heard on the airwaves on KLWN 1320. Subscription prices for Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- For the first time since the start of the season, the Jayhawks have won four-straight games, including a sweep of conference foe Baylor (April 25-27) and a 10-3 rout of Wichita State (April 29).
- Tuesday’s win over Wichita State improved KU’s midweek record to 4-7, having beaten the Shockers twice.
- 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 series sweep of Baylor, Kansas is now 9-3 against Texas schools this season, as Texas Tech is the last school to be played.
- The last time KU won three or more games in a row came in March when the team beat Houston Baptist (March 1-2) and then Stanford (March 7).
SERIES HISTORY: KU and Texas Tech have faced-off 53 times in the history of the two programs, with the Red Raiders holding the 33-20 advantage in the all-time series. The two schools first met March 17, 1981, when TTU came out on top 6-1. With the series in Lawrence this year, Texas Tech holds the advantage in the series, 13-11, having won five of the seven series played. KU won the last series played in Lawrence in 2012, and has won the last two played overall. Under the direction of head coach Ritch Price, the Jayhawks are 15-17 against the Red Raiders, 8-7 at home.
SCOUTING REPORT: Texas Tech enters the weekend with a No. 19 national ranking and an RPI in the top-15 (11), as the Red Raiders sit in third place in the Big 12 standings. TTU ranks second in the conference in team batting, holding a .292 average with 323 runs scored (most in the conference), 99 doubles, 22 home runs and a .418 slugging percentage.
The Red Raiders have won 12 of their last 14 and 19 of their last 25 games overall. Sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez is coming off a big week at the plate for TTU, as he batted .500 (6-for-12) against Oklahoma (April 25-27), including three home runs and 10 RBIs for a 1.250 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage. He leads the team in batting average (.333), runs scored (42), hits (59), home runs (10) and RBIs (47). He is tops in the conference in home runs, runs scored, RBIs, total bases (104) and slugging percentage (.588).
In addition to Gutierrez’s offensive production, senior designated hitter Adam Kirsch is not too far off the pace with a .308 average, 31 runs scored, 52 hits, six home runs and 40 RBIs. He is second on the team to Gutierrez in hits, home runs and RBIs, while leading the team and the Big 12 in doubles (19).
On the bump, the Red Raiders hold the third-best ERA in the Big 12 (3.21) with left-hander Chris Sadberry leading the way with a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts. Kansas will likely see right-hander Ryan Moseley Friday night and Sadberry Saturday, while Sunday’s starter is still up in the air.
Sadberry leads the team with a 2.78 ERA and has allowed just eight walks in 58 and one-third innings pitched. During his 11 starts, Texas Tech holds a record of 8-3, while Sadberry is 4-1 on the season. Moseley started his first career Big 12 game against Oklahoma (April 25) and lasted just 26 pitches (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB). KU will likely see Corey Taylor out of the pen, as he has made 16 appearances for a 5-1 record, holding a 1.79 ERA.
LAST TIME OUT: Kansas took a day trip to Wichita Tuesday to take on the Shockers for the second time this season, winning convincingly, 10-3, thanks to a perfect performance at the plate by sophomore second baseman Colby Wright (4-for-4) and a solid five innings on the bump by freshman righty Jon Hander.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Sophomore second baseman Colby Wright boasted perfection at the plate (4-for-4) at Wichita State (April 29), including two doubles, while reaching base in all five plate appearances. In his last four games, Wright is batting .529 (9-for-17) with three doubles, two RBIs, a walk and six runs scored.
- Freshman righty Jon Hander made his fifth start on the bump at WSU (April 29), tossing five innings for the win, tying his season low for hits allowed in a start with one.
- Junior designated hitter and pitcher Dakota Smith continued his tear from the weekend at WSU (April 29), tallying three hits (3-for-5), three RBIs, a walk and three runs scored. He is now 8-for-18 (.444) in his last four games with five RBIs and six runs scored.
- Junior third baseman Aaron Hernandez added three more hits to his season total against the Shockers (April 29), including a triple and a run scored.
- 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 (.437).
- 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 and ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.407).
UNDER .500 AT HOME: With six home games remaining, Kansas enters the final two home weekends of the season with a 6-8 mark at Hoglund Ballpark, including a 2-4 record in conference play. If KU can find a way to finish .500 or better at home, that means the Jayhawks won at least four of those games and will put them in a good position heading into the conference tournament, as all six of those games to be played are Big 12 contests.
DOING IT THE “WRIGHT” WAY: Sophomore second baseman Colby Wright boasted a perfect performance at the plate (4-for-4) with a career-high four hits at Wichita State (April 29), including two doubles and reaching base in all five plate appearances. Since his first career home run (April 9), Wright is leading the team with a .385 batting average (20-for-52), including six doubles, a triple, a home run, seven RBIs and 12 runs scored for a .596 slugging percentage and .450 on-base percentage.
CHALKIN’ UP THE WINS: Head coach Ritch Price eclipsed the 1,000-win mark across all levels of coaching Saturday (April 26) with KU’s 10-2 win at Baylor. The following day, Price guided Kansas to a 8-5 win over the Bears (April 27), picking up his 600th victory 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.
In addition, NCAA.com also named Piche’ one of the Top Performers of Week 11 in Division I collegiate baseball for that performance.
UP NEXT: The Jayhawks hit the road for one final midweek matchup at Missouri State (May 7), before returning home to host West Virginia (May 9-11) for their final Big 12 weekend series of the year.
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