⚾ Dillons Sunflower Showdown Up Next For Kansas Baseball
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks host Kansas State in the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown May 14-16 at Hoglund Ballpark for the final three home games and final home Big 12 stand of the regular season. The two instate teams meet Friday for the series opener at 6 p.m., before playing at 2 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday.
Kansas (26-23, 5-13 Big 12) last played a three-game series against then-No. 24 Oklahoma State, winning the Sunday game with a walk-off walk by Brett Vosik with the bases loaded. Dylan Ditzenberger tallied his first triple of the season, scoring the game-tying run, before OSU intentionally walked Maui Ahuna and Tavian Josenberger. Vosik stepped up to the plate and earned the four-pitch walk for the KU victory.
On the season, Vosik boasts a team-high 38 walks and ranks in the top-25 of the NCAA. He tallied three RBI in the series finale to move his season total to 16. Skyler Messinger added another double in the series and ranks third in the NCAA with 19. Messinger and Tavian Josenberger both hold a .300-or-better average with Josenberger holding the team lead with a .325 average in 44 games played. Messinger holds a slight edge in team hits with 58, while Josenberer has 54.
Cole Larsen, Eli Davis and Everhett Hazelwood each are slated to make a start against Kansas State. Jonah Ulane earned the victory in the series finale over Oklahoma State after pitching the final 1.2 innings with three strikeouts. He holds a 3-0 record and has a team-leading eight saves.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: KANSAS STATE
Kansas State (28-18, 7-11 Big 12) enter the Dillons Sunflower Showdown Clash after playing a three-game series at Baylor. K-State earned the victory in the Saturday contest 10-3 but dropped the series after a 23-3 loss on Sunday.
The Wildcats holds a .280 average at the plate with a .487 slugging percentage. Zach Kokoska leads KSU at the dish, holding a .385 average, while being the team leader in hits (65), home runs (13), doubles (16), total bases (122), walks (23), slugging percentage (.722) and runs (48). Dylan Phillips, Terrence Spurlin and Kamron Willman each boast a .300-or-better average this season.
On the mound, Kansas State has a 4.77 ERA with 441 strikeouts to 185 walks in 398.1 innings pitched. Jordan Wicks and Kasey Ford are each slated to make a start against the Jayhawks this weekend. Wicks holds a team-best 72.1 innings pitched with 96 strikeouts.
Kansas owns a 4-0 record against Kansas State during the 2019 season, sweeping the Wildcats in the three-game series in Lawrence before orchestrating a 15-14, 11-inning victory in the Big 12 tournament.
Kansas will recognize 15 players and one student manager (Ben Nicholas) Sunday prior to the series finale. Nathan Barry, James Cosentino, Ryan Cyr, Everhett Hazelwood, Daniel Hegarty, Cole Larsen, Tom Lichty, Skyler Messinger, Nolan Metcalf, Blaine Ray, Gabriel Sotomayor, Jonah Ulane, Brett Vosik, Steve Washilewski and Logan Williams make up the list of 2021 seniors.
Kansas travels to Columbia, Missouri for a midweek clash with the Missouri Tigers Tuesday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m., on the SEC Network.