The Kansas Jayhawks have won 12 of their past 13 games and are on top of the pile in the Big 12 standings. So what’s new about that, you ask? How about the fact we’re talking baseball and not basketball.
The Jayhawks (12-1) continue to defy the odds and are making a strong case that they are not a team to be overlooked in the conference race this season. Of the Jayhawks 12 wins, all have been on the road. Kansas made the decision to start its season on the West Coast this year, and considering the brutal winter weather in the Midwest this year that turned out to be a fortuitous decision. Kansas does not play its first home game at Hoglund Park until early next week when the Hawks host Oral Roberts.
Left-fielder Michael Suiter blistered a single to left and fellow outfielder Connor McCay followed with a double scoring Suiter as Kansas defeated Stanford 4-2 in 13 innings in Palo Alto on Friday in the opening game of a three-game weekend series. The Jayhawks got a four-hit, seven-inning performance from right-handed ace Wes Benjamin, who didn’t give up an earned run.
“Talk about fighting through adversity and grinding it out and showing some toughness,” said Kansas head coach Ritch Price in his postgame briefing with the media. “That win (over Stanford) is one of the best wins we have had in the 12 years I have been at Kansas.”
Kansas leads the Big 12 in hitting and is fifth nationally with a .370 batting average as a team.
The Jayhawks were picked to finish last in the conference this season by the Big 12 coaches in their annual preseason poll. Early on in the season, it appears the coaches may have mixed up the two Kansas teams. Kansas State, the preseason favorite to defend its 2013 league crown, started the year 1-7, but has won its last three games to raise its record to 5-7.
Coming into this weekend, Kansas is one of three Big 12 teams who have yet to host their home openers. Kansas State played its first home game on Friday with a 3-2 win over Iowa for its third consecutive victory. West Virginia will not play its home opener until March 25 because of work being done to its home stadium.
Kansas’ 12-1 start to the 2014 college baseball season is the Jayhawks’ best start in program history. Kansas is ranked No. 26 in the latest Collegiate Baseball weekly poll. Texas is the highest-ranked Big 12 school in the current national polls, at No. 10 in the Baseball America poll.
Texas Tech (12-3) is one game behind Kansas three weeks into the 2014 season. The Red Raiders already have four wins over top-10 teams among ints 12 victories.
This weekend, Baylor (6-7) and Oklahoma State (11-3) are both playing top-25 teams from California. Baylor hosts third-ranked Cal State Fullerton anf 24th-ranked San Diego is in Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State.