If you were surprised last week to find Kansas atop the Big 12 baseball standings after the first weekend of action, prepare to be shocked this week. The Jayhawks are unbeaten an 8-0 and off to one of their best starts in program history.
Picked by the conference coaches prior to the start of the season to finish in the basement in the Big 12 in 2014, the Jayhawks ended their four-game series in the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., with a 9-4 victory over St. Bonaventure on Monday. Kansas has cranked out 10 or more hits in fivc of its eight wins, which generally going to win you more games than not.
While front-running Kansas is on an early season roll, their Sunflower State rivals at Kansas State can’t wait to get back to the colder climate in the Midwest after losing seven of eight games on the West Coast to begin the 2014 season. The defending conference champion Wildcats are picked by the coaches to repeat in 2014, but they haven’t managed to get their offense and pitching on track yet in the new season.
“We left too many guys on base,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said after the Wildcats 10-5 loss on Saturday to Cal Poly. “We didn’t finish off innings. (First-baseman Shane Conlon), Fish (shortstop Austin Fisher) and RJ (third-baseman RJ Santiago) are doing pretty well, but we need more guys to starting coming along a little bit.”
The Wildcats ended their 10-day West Coast road trip on Sunday, dropping a 7-3 decision to host St. Mary’s in the Gael Invitational in Moraga, Calif. The Cats will open their home season this Friday in a three-game series with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kanas edged UWM 9-8 on Saturday in the Snowbird Classic.
In other Big 12 games over the weekend, 18th-ranked Oklahoma State won two of three at home over Oakland (Mich.) University to keep pace with the league-leading Jayhawks. The Cowboys’ record now stands at 8-1. Texas Tech and 23rd-ranked TCU both swept three-game series over the weekend, raising their records to 6-1 The Red Raiders took three ganes from at home from Oral Roberts, and TCU defeated Brigham Young, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the University of Texas-San Antonio to win the Kieburg Bamk College Classic in Corpus Christi.
Texas (5-3) took the first two games of its weekend series in Austin withy Stanford, but dropped the series finale on Sunday. The Longhorns took the series opener 9-3 behind a four-for-five outing by the Big 12′s top hitter a year ago, Mark Payton, and starting pitcher Parkier French’s career-high eight strikeouts. Meanwhile Oklahoma lost two 0f three in a tournament hosted by the University of Central Florida. The Sooners (5-3) won their first game of the toirnament on Friday over The Citadel, but fell victim the next to days to Central Florida and Ohio State.
Baylor, conference champions two years ago, hammered Austin Peay, scoring 32 runs in three games to Peay’s four and sweeping the weekend series in Waco.
West Virginia had perhaps the most difficult assignment over the weekend, traveling to San Diego State for a three-game set. The Mountaineers captured one of the three to move their record to 2-4 for the season.
This weekend’s games include tournaments in Houston, Surprise, Ariz., and at Kansas. The Jayhawks are at home to host the Salty Iguana Tournament. Texas Tech, Texas and TCU are all particpating in the Houston College Classic and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise. West Virginia is in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the Caravelle Resort Tournament.