Zeferjahn shines in game one of Dillons Sunflower Showdown
LAWRENCE, Kan. – An elite pitching performance by Ryan Zeferjahn paved the way for Kansas as it shutout Kansas State, 10-0, in the first game of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
In likely his final game at Hoglund Ballpark, Zeferjahn (5-2) was dominant for Kansas (29-24, 10-12 Big 12) through seven and 1/3 innings, shutting down the Wildcats’ (25-29, 8-14 Big 12) offense while striking out eight batters and only surrendering three hits.
After recording two strikeouts in the top of the sixth frame, Zeferjahn tallied his 100th strikeout to become the first pitcher in Kansas history to record two seasons with 100 or more strikeouts.
The Jayhawks pounced on the Wildcats early, scoring five runs in the first inning with the help of a walk and four-straight singles by the middle of the batting order.
Junior Benjamin Sems led the Kansas offense with a 2-for-4 performance while recording two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
- Junior starting pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn became the first KU pitcher to record two seasons with 100 or more strikeouts, doing it in back-to-back years.
- Zeferjahn’s 254-career strikeouts rank third all-time, and are the most by a three-year player.
- Tonight’s win marks the largest shutout victory since Kansas shut out Morehead State last year, 12-0, on March 31, 2018.
- Junior shortstop Benjamin Sems tallied two hits in the contest, marking his 15th multi-hit game this season.
- The Jayhawks scored 10 runs for the 10th time this season. Kansas now owns a 10-0 record when scoring 10 or more runs.
- Kansas is now 11-3 when leading the game after the first inning.
- It was the largest margin of victory in a shutout against Kansas State since April 8, 1978 when the Jayhawks blanked the Wildcats, 11-0, in Lawrence, Kansas.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Ryan Zeferjahn’s performance and being the first KU pitcher to have back-to-back 100 strikeout seasons…
“From the day he walked on our campus, we’ve been expecting big things of him and I am really proud of his development. For his final appearance at Hoglund Ballpark, he couldn’t have been any better than he was tonight. I told him after the game, now he has to go to Bricktown to redeem himself from last year when he got knocked around. That’s the next step, to walk into there and be as dominant as he was tonight.”
On what Zeferjahn has meant to the program…
“It’s awesome to have a Kansas kid stay home that could’ve went to LSU, Texas, or any place in America. He is loyal to KU and his family is loyal to KU, and I appreciate his loyalty. It has been an honor and privilege to have him in our program. I can’t wait for the day that he pitches in the big leagues.”
On his development over the last three years…
“His command is 10 times better than it was when he first got here. His delivery wasn’t very good either, so he’s really improved his mechanics. He has improved his command, and obviously he has improved his off-speed pitches. His ability to throw a slider now, there are days where his change-up is his best pitch and when he got here, he couldn’t even throw a change-up. He has made really good progress and he will get better when he gets to the minor leagues.”
Junior starter Ryan Zeferjahn
On being the first pitcher in Kansas history to have two seasons with 100 strikeouts or more…
“I didn’t really know coming in that there hadn’t been two back-to-back and I kind of saw the sign and then everyone told me. It’s kind of cool and surreal. All the guys that have come through here and all those great pitchers, to have that accomplishment really means something to me.”
On his last start at Hoglund Ballpark and what KU means to him…
“I knew it was probably my last start coming in and just walking off the mound with all my family and everyone there just cheering and being around my teammates, it’s kind of sad. It’s been a great career here, I’ve had pretty good success at home and this team just means a lot to me. The coaches helped me develop as not only a player, but off the field as well. It’s been a great three years here.”
Kansas continues the series against Kansas State on Saturday, May 18 at Hoglund Ballpark with an 11 a.m. first pitch.