⚾ TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: First Pitch Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas baseball is set to play in its first and only neutral tournament of the regular season in Greenville, South Carolina Feb. 28-March 1 in the First Pitch Invitational hosted by Michigan State.
Kansas at First Pitch Invitational (Probable Starters)
Friday: Feb. 28 at 12 p.m. (Ryan Cyr)*
Saturday: Feb. 29 at 9 a.m. (Everhett Hazelwood), 12 p.m. (Cole Larsen)
Sunday: March 1 at 9 a.m. (Eli Davis)
Where: Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina
Listen: Jayhawk Radio Network with Nick Springer
– Central times listed above
KANSAS VS. FIRST PITCH INVITATIONAL FIELD
- Kansas enters the First Pitch Invitational 4-3 after finishing the series at Charleston Southern 2-2. The Jayhawks open the invitational against Michigan State, which boasts a 5-3 record and last played vs. Merrimack at Fluor Field Feb. 21-23, finishing 1-3.
Ball State is 2-4 and earned its first two victories of the the season against Houston Baptist in two 11-inning games. Wester n Carolina plays Georgia State Feb. 26 prior to the invitational, and has a 5-2 record entering the midweek clash.
HAZELWOOD NAMED BIG 12 CO-NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
- Everhett Hazelwood was named Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week after his 12-strikeout and one-walk performance at Charleston Southern Feb. 22. Hazelwood’s strikeout total was a season-high.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SUNDAY
- Dating back to last season against Baylor (March 31, 2019), Kansas has won 10-straight Sunday contests. Redshirt-sophomore Eli Davis has started eight of the contests and has a 4.98 ERA and 5-0 record in that span.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: MICHIGAN STATE
- The Michigan State Spartans have been coached by Jake Boss Jr. since July 1, 2008. Boss Jr. has spent the past 11 years at MSU and his 333 wins are the most over an 11-year span in program history.
- Michigan State is led at the plate by Bailey Peterson, who leads the team in batting average (.613), hits (19), RBI (14) and walks (7). Bryce Kelley (15) and Peter Ahn (11) are close behind in hits and have posted four and eight RBI, respectively. Andrew Morrow leads the team in doubles (5) and is second in batting average (.500).
- MSU has had five pitchers make starts this season – Mason Erla, Caleb Sleeman, Jarret Olson, Sam Benschoter and Zach Iverson. Erla holds a 1.29 ERA with 22 strikeouts in two starts and Olson posts a 1.93 ERA with 14 strikeouts and a complete game in two starts.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: BALL STATE
- The Ball State Cardinals are coached by Rich Maloney, who has coached the Cardinals in two different stints, totaling 15 seasons at the helm.
- Ball State is led offensively by Justin Conant, Aaron Simpson and Ross Messina who all have a team-leading eight hits. Simpson also leads the team in doubles (3), triples (2), home runs (1) and RBI (6).
- BSU has had four pitchers start a game this season – Kyle Nicolas, John Baker, Chayce McDermott and Mike Pachmayer. Nicolas posts a 2.45 ERA in two starts and has a team-leading 15 strikeouts.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: WESTERN CAROLINA
- The Western Carolina Catamounts have been coached by Bobby Moranda since July 19, 2007.
- The Catamounts are led at the plate by Will Prater who leads the team in batting average (.435) and hits (10). Andrew Bullock follows close behind and is second in average (.429), hits (9), doubles (2), RBI (5) and is tied for the lead in home runs (1).
- WCU features five pitchers who have made starts this season – Corey Bright, Alec Woodard, Zebby Matthews, Ty McCulloch and Chase Walter. Bright leads the starters with a 1.13 ERA in eight innings pitched and Matthews is the team-leader with 14 strikeouts in two starts.
Kansas is slated to host Creighton March 4 at 2 p.m. for its home opener at Hoglund Ballpark. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.