RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.28 (Baseball)
— Kansas Baseball (@KUBaseball) March 24, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Baseball (@kubaseball) on Mar 23, 2018 at 8:31pm PDT
The aforementioned word describes the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible; or the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
In the game of baseball, perfection doesn’t come easy, and most of the time, it is impossible to achieve, especially when considering a .333 batting average to be a good benchmark – the other 67 percent of the time, a hitter failed.
Kansas junior closer Zack Leban only knows perfection. Just 25 games into the 2018 season, in a new role in the backend of the bullpen, Leban is perfect. He is 10-for-10 in converting save opportunities into realities, and has done it faster than any other KU player in school history.
“Leban is one of our power arms,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He goes at you with everything he has, every pitch, and throws it hard. He throws 95-plus (miles per hour), and that makes him tough to hit in the late innings.”
Leban’s 10 saves put him first atop the Big 12 Conference and second overall in the nation, but he ranks first among Power Five arms. He is one of three pitchers in the NCAA to have a 100 percent conversion rate with 10 or more save opportunities, and the only one in a Power Five conference.
In addition, Leban has worked himself up to No. 6 on the single-season saves chart with those 10 saves, and is just nine off the pace of the school record with 31 games left to play.
“We have a history of having some great closers here at the University of Kansas,” Price said. “Each one of them had one thing in common, you have to have swagger. That is a key trait as a competitor, but also as a closer, because it is a high-stress position.”
Leban and the Jayhawks continue an 11-game homestand when they host Morehead State for a three-game series at Hoglung Ballpark, March 29-31.