It's been about a month since we last checked in on the KU baseball squad, which means I'm long overdue for the weekly update. Unfortunately, not much has changed since last we spoke. Kansas has struggled to a 17-22 (3-8 Big 12) record.
There has been one highlight, however, when Kansas knocked off still-Top 10 TCU back on April 9. Unfortunately, conference play hasn't been kind to the Jayhawks, and they find themselves 2.5 games behind K-State in last place. The last-place team does not get to play in the conference tournament, so KU has work to do.
Kansas has already played TCU, Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor, so they still have a chance to make up ground on the Wildcats and/or Sooners.
The Jayhawks are in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories except home runs, in which they are still dead last in the Big 12. C Michael Tinsley (.371, 26 RBI, 1 HR) is third in the Big 12 in hitting, and Kansas has four regulars hitting over .300 on the season.
However, despite having one of the best starters and one of the best closers in the conference, KU has the worst pitching staff by far in the Big 12, and in many categories, it isn't even very close. SP Ben Krauth (3-3, 3.02 ERA, 75/19 K/BB) is worth the price of admission on Friday nights, and if the game is close late, CL Stephen Villines (5-1, 2.10 ERA, 31/7 K/BB) has been very good. The rest of the pitching staff basically throws batting practice, as only five of the 15 pitchers on the roster have an ERA under 5.00.
Kansas just wrapped up a non-conference series at Samford (AL), during which the 'Hawks dropped the first two games before salvaging the finale. I guess I don't really know anything about Samford, but I don't recall them being a traditional baseball power (unlike Cal-State Fullerton or Long Beach State, for example).
The Jayhawks continue with a few more non-conference games this week sprinkled in with their Big 12 games. On Tuesday, April 26, KU will take on Grand Canyon University (19-18, 8-7) in Lawrence.
On Wednesday evening, April 27, KU will face Nebraska (25-15, 7-5) in Kauffmann Stadium, so KC Jayhawks, come on out. Adult tickets start at $10. Check out the Royals website for more information or call the KU Ticket office (800-34-HAWKS).
On Friday, April 29, the Jayhawks will host the Oklahoma Sooners (20-20, 6-9) in Lawrence for a three-game weekend set.
All five games this week are available on ESPN3/WatchESPN. The Nebraska game and the Saturday/Sunday games against OU are also available on the Jayhawk Television Network (aka Time Warner Cable, amirite?).