After coming off one of their better weeks of the 2015 season, Kansas baseball drops three of four this week, including a midweek home matchup with Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Not exactly good news, but as you'll see, based on some of his comments recently it seems as if coach Rich Price is looking at building toward the future at this point in the season.
Wednesday, April 29 - Arkansas Pine Bluff 6, @ Kansas 5
UAPB put up five runs in the top of the sixth inning, and Kansas couldn't complete the comeback in the later innings. The Jayhawks used a collection of eight pitchers during the contest, who collectively put up a line of 9 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. KU was led offensively by LF Connor McKay (4/5, 3 R, RBI) and RF Dakota Smith (3/4, R, RBI, BB) who combined for seven of KU's nine hits. Jayhawk batters also collected six walks.
Said coach Price, "We pitched four or five freshman tonight that are still developing, but they are getting better and making progress. However, there are days like today where they can take a step back."
Friday, May 1 - @ Kansas 2, Baylor 0
Junior SP Ben Krauth is quickly establishing himself as KU's ace. Krauth has not allowed more than two runs in a start since March 27, and Friday night was no exception. Krauth (7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) shut down the Bears, and CL Stephen Villines (1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 5 K) struck out every batter he faced to shut the door on Baylor. The Jayhawks were led offensively by LF Connor McKay (1/3, 2 R, BB), RF Dakota Smith (2/4, RBI), and C Michael Tinsley (2/3, RBI).
Saturday, May 2 - Baylor 6, @ Kansas 3
The bullpen failed the Jayhawks after SP Drew Morovick (7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K) checked the Baylor offense throughout most of the afternoon. Unfortunately, Blake Weiman (0.0 IP, H, R, ER) and Sam Gilbert (1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) couldn't finish it out as the Jayhawks fell. Kansas was led offensively once again by LF Connor McKay (2/5, R, 2 H, RBI).
Sunday, May 3 - Baylor 14, @ Kansas 4
Baylor scored early, late, and often while abusing the KU pitching staff on Sunday afternoon. SP Sean Rackoski (4.0 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, K) took the loss, but no Jayhawk pitcher was effective on the day as the staff put up a combined line that looked like this: 9.0 IP, 14 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 8 BB, 6 K, 2 WP, HBP, 3 HRA. Seven of Baylor's 14 runs came via the longball. RF Dakota Smith (2/4, R, RBI) and 1B Blair Beck (2/4, R, RBI, HR) were the only two Jayhawks with multiple hits for what is usually a potent Kansas offense.
Coach Ritch Price after the game: "The reason we struggled this whole weekend is because we have so many guys struggling at the plate. The only way we are going to win is if Connor McKay, Blair Beck, Dakota Smith and Michael Tinsley are impact players. If three of those guys are struggling in the same weekend, we are not going to score and you saw that first hand this weekend."
The Jayhawks (20-28, 7-11) will play a two-game midweek series in Evanston, IL, vs the Northwestern Wildcats (15-31, 5-13) on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Fort Worth to take on #5 TCU (37-9, 13-5)
Kansas has six conference games left (@ TCU, vs KSU) and is currently in 7th place in the Big 12 Standings, a full game up on West Virginia and a half game up on Baylor. This is key because whoever finishes ninth (last place) does not get to play in the Big 12 Baseball Tournament.
All five games this coming week can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network through KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official Kansas Jayhawks mobile app.