Entering the fall baseball season, Kansas is set to start Oct. 13 against Oral Roberts.
The infamous matchup against Oral Roberts took place in February 2017, in which Kansas lost 12-1. This game was dominated by Oral Roberts’ Noah Cummings and Brent Williams, who had a combined total of six runs and six RBIs in their combined nine at bats. Kansas came back a month later, winning 7-2, thanks to then-freshman pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn who pitched five scoreless innings.
Last season, Kansas finished with a winning record of 32-26, acquiring fifth place in the Big 12 with a conference record of 12-12. Catcher Jaxx Groshans led the team with a .340 batting average, 67 hits and 12 home runs in his sophomore campaign.
However, this game won’t have the same star lineup taking the field as Oral Roberts saw a few seasons ago. Since their last appearance in Tulsa, both Zeferjahn and Groshans were selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2019 MLB draft.
The lack of these two key players leaves room for new players to fill their spots. Freshman pitcher Jake Baker shows potential for the team this year. Baker, a Lawrence Free State graduate, maxed his fastball at 81 miles per hour in his high school career.
With the loss of starting players, Kansas will have to work for the win against the Golden Eagles. It doesn’t hurt the Jayhawks that last season Oral Roberts’ conference rank dropped to third, after being the conference champions for four consecutive years. They finished the season with a conference record of 17-12, compared to their previous years of single-digit losses. Contrarily, Kansas finished last season with a neutral conference record, improving from the previous years of having losing seasons.
Kansas will also travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Oct. 19 to play the Huskers in another exhibition game.
Nebraska finished last season with a 32-24 record. Last season, Nebraska tied for third in the Big 10 with a 15-9 record.
Both road games are free of charge and open to the public. The remainder of the season schedule has yet to be announced.