Jayhawks Trek to Springfield for Final Midweek Matchup
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas takes a seven-game winning streak to Springfield, Missouri, as the Jayhawks take on Missouri State in one final midweek game before finishing up Big 12 play at the Hog.
The Jayhawks (30-20, 12-9 Big 12) have won seven-straight games, including six-straight in Big 12 play and take on a Missouri State (20-24, 7-8 MVC) team that has lost four of its last five game heading into its Tuesday game with Oral Roberts.
The game against the Bears can be heard on Jayhawk Digital Passport through KUAthletics.com/Showcase with Sean Kellerman and Steven Davis calling the action. Subscription prices for Jayhawk Digital Passport are as follows: $2.95/day, $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
- Kansas has won seven-straight games, including six-straight in Big 12 play after the sweep of No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2-4).
- The Jayhawks swept back-to-back conference opponents for the first time since 1994, when KU took three each from Nebraska and Kansas State.
- The sweep of No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2-4) was the first sweep of a top-25 opponent since the Jayhawks swept No. 17 Oklahoma State (April 10-12, 2009).
- The seven-straight wins is the longest winning streak of the season for Kansas since the squad started off the year 9-0.
- During the streak, KU is outscoring its opponents 50-18, averaging 7.14 runs per game to its opponents 2.57.
- Kansas pitching during that streak holds a 1.86 ERA, allowing 18 runs off 55 hits. More impressively, KU starters have tossed three complete games in that span, including two from senior righty Jordan Piche’.
- The Jayhawks rank third in the conference in hitting with a .289 batting average, while their pitching ranks fifth with a 3.38 ERA.
- Junior right fielder Connor McKay ranks tied for second in the Big 12 in home runs (9) and fourth in RBIs (41).
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter ranks tied for third in the conference in hits (64), third in on-base percentage (.434) and seventh in average (.335).
SERIES HISTORY: KU and Missouri State have met 48 times prior to Wednesday’s matchup, with the Bears holding a two-game lead in the all-time series (25-23). At Hammons Field, Kansas has won nine of 23 contests, with its last road victory over MSU coming April 13, 2010, 6-4. Under the director of 12th year head coach Ritch Price, the Jayhawks and Bears have played 18 games with the series tied 9-9. The two squads first met in 1988 for a home and home two-game set with KU losing both contests (4-5, 3-22).
SCOUTING REPORT: Missouri State had lost four out of its five contests heading into its Tuesday game with Oral Roberts. The Bears dropped four straight, including two to Dallas Baptist, before winning Sunday’s finale over the Patriots, 10-5. As a squad, MSU is batting .259 with 74 doubles, 11 triples and 22 home runs, while striking out 329 times in 44 games. Only two regulars in the Bears’ lineup are batting over .300 with outfielder Tate Matheny leading the way with a .331 average, including six doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 29 RBIs. Three other MSU players join Matheny with 20 or more RBIs on the season, including Eric Cheray (26), Matt Fultz (24) and Dylan Becker (23).
On the bump, Missouri State hurlers combine for a 3.68 ERA in 44 games, allowing 191 runs off 366 hits. Wednesday’s probable is unknown, however, last time to the two squads faced off in midweek action (April 23), KU saw left hander Andy Cheray. He has made six appearances and three starts on the season, tossing 17 and two-thirds innings. He has allowed six runs off 19 hits and 16 walks.
LAST TIME OUT: Kansas swept its second-consecutive Big 12 Conference opponent, taking three games from then-No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2-4), en route to winning its seventh-straight game.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Sophomore second baseman Colby Wright paced the Kansas offense against No. 19 Texas Tech, batting .556 (5-for-9) with a double, six RBIs, four runs scored and four walks for a .667 slugging percentage and a .692 on-base percentage.
- Junior left fielder Michael Suiter blasted his second home run of the season against No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2), driving in three runs to help Kansas to the 11-3 victory over the Red Raiders.
- Senior righty Jordan Piche’ tossed his second-straight complete game Friday night (May 2) against TTU, giving up three runs, one earned, off seven hits while striking out seven batters without allowing a walk.
- Sunday starter Frank Duncan tossed his fourth complete game of the season, giving up one run off five hits, striking out seven in the process. He also didn’t allow a walk.
- Colby Wright posted a career-high four RBIs against TTU (May 2), including a 2-for-4 effort at the dish.
- Junior right fielder Dakota Smith batted .385 (5-for-13) against the Red Raiders, including a three-hit performance Friday night (May 2).
- Frank Duncan‘s seven strikeouts move his career total to 259, ranking him No. 2 all-time in KU history.
- Freshman closer Stephen Villines came on in the ninth in Saturday’s game (May 3) against Texas Tech, picking up his sixth save with a one-two-three, 12-pitch inning.
- Michael Suiter ranks seventh in the Big 12 in batting average (.335), tied for third in hits (64) and is third in on-base percentage (.434).
- Junior designated hitter Connor McKay is tied for second in the conference in home runs (9) and stands fourth in RBIs with 41.
- As a squad, KU stands in third place in the conference standings with the third-best offense and fifth-best pitching staff.
IRONMAN: Junior left fielder Michael Suiter is the lone Jayhawk to start all 50 games on the season, and in fact, has played all but one inning for Kansas this year, as he was taken out of Friday night’s game against TTU (May 2) after he mashed his three-run home run.
BRING OUT THE BROOMS: For the first time since 1994, the Kansas baseball team swept back-to-back conference opponents, a feat that has never been done by the Jayhawks in Big 12 play. Kansas took three games from Baylor (April 25-27) and beat Wichita State in midweek action, before sweeping No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2-4) at the Hog.
THE “WRIGHT” STUFF: Sophomore second baseman Colby Wright led the Big 12 Conference and the Kansas baseball team with a .692 batting average (9-for-13) in four starts during week 12 of the regular season. In 19 plate appearances, the Castro Valley, California, native drew five walks, was hit by a pitch, smoked three doubles, hit six singles, drove in seven RBIs and scored seven times. His .789 on-base percentage ranked first in the conference for the week of play, while his .923 slugging percentage ranked third.
His career-high four hits (4-for-4) at Wichita State (April 29) paced the Jayhawks to a 10-3 win, as he reached base in all five plate appearances. In Friday night’s bout with No. 19 Texas Tech (May 2), the sophomore set another career high with four RBIs, leading KU to an 11-3 victory over the Red Raiders and setting up the series sweep. To round out the weekend, Wright posted a 3-for-4 effort at the plate and was responsible for three of Kansas’ four runs (two RBIs and a run scored) helping the Jayhawks sweep back-to-back conference opponents for the first time since 1994.
ON THE RISE: KU started last weekend of play with an RPI of 57. After completing the sweep of No. 19 Texas Tech, the Jayhawks rose 21 spots to No. 36 in the NCAA RPI. The Big 12 Conference ranks second as a league in RPI, right behind the SEC.
FINISHING WHAT THEY START: Senior right handers Jordan Piche’ and Frank Duncan each tossed complete games on the bump for KU against No. 19 Texas Tech. Piche’ went the distance allowing three runs, one earned, off seven hits, while Duncan gave up one run off five hits. Both starters also struck out seven batters each without allowing a walk.
WEEKEND DOMINANCE: The Kansas pitching staff dominated on the mound against No. 19 Texas Tech, the best offense entering last weekend of play. The hurlers allowed just eight runs in the three games, striking out 14 batters. The most impressive stat, however, is that the Jayhawks allowed just one walk on the weekend in 27 innings pitched, holding the Red Raiders to a .248 batting average.
UP NEXT: The Jayhawks return to Hoglun Ballpark to host its final conference and home series of the season against West Virginia (May 9-11), before hitting the road for one final two-game series at Michigan (May 17-18).
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.