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The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a midweek sweep of the Air Force Falcons and now have a record of 19-18 and 5-7 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks will now welcome the No. 24 ranked team, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, to Lawrence, Kansas, for a three-game series at Hoglund Ballpark. The Cowboys are 25-13 and 8-7 in the Big 12.

The Jayhawk Pitching Staff Needs to Eliminate the Cowboys’ Powerful Offense

The Oklahoma State offense is known for driving the baseball in the gaps and over the fence leading all Big 12 teams with 71 home runs. The next closest team in the Big 12 is Texas Tech, with 58. This stat ranks the Cowboys at 7th in D1 baseball. They average 1.87 home runs per game, ranking them 11th in the nation. Infielder Roc Riggio leads Oklahoma State with 12 home runs. Riggio is hitting .340/.480/.723 with 48 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, 37 RBIs, and a team-leading 48 runs scored. Oklahoma State can flat-out hit the baseball, leading the Big 12 in doubles with 92 ranking them 6th in D1 baseball. They average 2.42 doubles per game, ranking them 12 in the nation.

The Jayhawks' pitching staff will be tested this weekend, but they have done well in these statistical categories. Kansas is ranked 6th in the Big 12 with 37 home runs allowed and 6th in the Big 12 with 68 doubles allowed. Both are positives for the Jayhawks' staff. Even though the Cowboys hit the baseball far, they also strikeout at a very high rate leading the Big 12 with 349. Lately, the Kansas staff has limited walking opposing hitters and have elevated their strikeout numbers. Currently, the Jayhawks have struck out 279 opposing hitters. Kansas averages a 1.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio, ranking them 158th in D1 baseball. Kansas will have to approach this series with the intent of limiting long innings in the field and striking out the Cowboy hitters.

The Jayhawks Need to Emulate the Cowboys’ Powerful Offense

The Jayhawk offense has been performing, raising a majority of their stats. Kansas is currently hitting .280/.376/.465 in 1251 at-bats. The Jayhawks are 4th in the Big 12 with 81 doubles and 27th in D1 baseball. They are 7th in the Big 12 with 45 home runs and tied for 92nd in D1 baseball. Freshman Kodey Shojinaga is having an impressive season hitting .374/.410/.570 in 107 at-bats. He has 40 hits, six doubles, five home runs, and 25 RBIs. Another Jayhawk hitter who is having a phenomenal season is Chase Jans. Jans continues to hit the baseball logging a .333/.409/.530, slash line in 132 at-bats. Jans should be on the Big 12 post-season awards list. He has 44 hits, nine doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 36 RBIs. These two hitters must continue their hot streak at the plate if they want to compete with the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State has two talented starting pitchers, Isaac Stebens and Juaron Watts-Brown. Between these two pitchers, they have logged 92 1/3 innings posting an 8-3 record, but for the remaining staff, there is a noticeable difference. The Cowboys are sixth in the Big 12 with a 5.32 earned run average in 362 innings. They have surrendered the 4th most home runs, giving up 42. The Jayhawk offense must draw out at-bats, looking to raise the Cowboys' pitch count and get to the bullpen.

Game one of the series will take place tonight, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:00 PM CST. Game two is on Saturday, April 22nd, at 2:00 PM CST, and game three is on Sunday, April 23rd, at 1:00 PM CST.