Jayhawks Conclude Fall Ball Slate

Robert Kahana compiled a .83 ERA in 21 and two-thrids innings pitched, striking out 14 batters.
Jordan Piche’ saw action in 15 and two-thirds innings, striking out 10 batters for a 1.02 WHIP.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After three months of instruction, drilling and intrasquad scrimmaging, the Kansas baseball team concluded its fall slate of workouts earlier this month with a renewed spirit and a lot to look forward to for the upcoming season.
“Overall, I was pleased with the progress we made from the start of individuals through the final day of the team segment of practice,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I thought several guys took a huge step forward in their development as a ball player and now have a chance to become impact players.”
The fall featured a number of different workouts consisting of individual sessions in early September, much anticipated team workouts in October and early November, with weight training and conditioning spread out during the entire fall session.
The Second Annual Floyd Temple Alumni Game kick-started the intrasquad action for the Jayhawks as the team split in two to faceoff against one another on numerous occasions.
Junior left-handed hurler Wes Benjamin tossed 24 innings during the course of fall ball, posting an ERA of 2.25 with 21 strikeouts. In addition, he held his opponents to a .179 batting average and recorded a .88 WHIP.
“Wes Benjamin was outstanding,” Price noted. “I think he is emerging as one of the top left-handed pitchers in the Midwest and has a chance to be a high draft pick and a legitimate Friday night starter in our conference.”
Junior righty Robert Kahana and senior right-handed closer Jordan Piche’ also had strong performances throughout the course of the fall. Kahana tossed 21 and two-thirds innings for an ERA of .83, while striking out 14 batters. Piche’ saw action in 15 and two-thirds innings, striking gout 10 for a 1.02 WHIP.
“I was also thrilled with the fall that Robert Kahana and Jordan Piche’ had,” Price said. “I can see him (Kahana) going on from pitching on Tuesdays to being a weekend starter for us this spring and Jordan returns from being the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and first team all-conference as a closer a year ago to be one of the top guys in the country. Both of them were rock solid throughout the fall.”
Offensively, the Jayhawks had seven position players bat over .300, with junior Connor McKay paving the way with a .444 average in 45 at bats. Junior outfielder Michael Suiter and sophomore infielder Tommy Mirabelli had almost identical numbers not too far off McKay’s pace, as they both hit for a .338 average in 65 at bats. Suiter posted six doubles, two homeruns and 13 RBIs, while Mirabelli had 22 hits and nine runs scored.
“I thought two or three guys really stood out offensively,” Price said. “Michael Suiter had an outstanding fall. A year ago he hit over .300 in conference play and this fall he started to increase his power production and slugging percentage.
“Connor McKay also had a phenomenal fall,” Price added. “If he can stay healthy and continue to focus properly and work hard at having productive at bats, he has a chance to be an impact guy. He had a phenomenal fall.”
The Jayhawks open the 2014 season Feb. 14 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz., against BYU.
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