Kansas Jayhawks: Baseball Team to Open at No. 2 LSU

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If you want to test the mettle of your young team early, opening the season at one of the most prestigious venues in all of college baseball is a pretty good start.

The Kansas Jayhawks, coming off a season where they finished 35-26 with an NCAA Tournament victory over Kentucky, will open this season Friday at Alex Box Stadium against the LSU Tigers.

The SEC powerhouse is ranked in the top ten of all the major baseball polls, and has a tradition as rich as any with 27 NCAA Tournament appearances and six national titles. The Tigers are ranked as high as No. 2 in a poll by Baseball America.

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“It’s the greatest environment in college baseball,” Kansas head coach Ritch Price said. “It’s like Allen Fieldhouse. The passion of their fans is off the charts.”

It will be a true test for the Jayhawks, but for Price this is nothing new. It is the third time he has taken a Jayhawk squad to Baton Rouge, and both times before, his team won the series.

In 2010, the Tigers were 18-0 when Kansas won two-of-three games, and in 2006 the Jayhawks did the same.

This year however, Price will be taking the youngest pitching staff he has had during his tenure at Kansas which began 13 years ago.

“Talk about an opportunity to grow up,” he said.

Price said four of his pitchers were lost to the MLB Draft last year, but there is some good news.

This is the first time in five years the Jayhawks did not lose at least two freshman pitchers to the June MLB draft who were committed to coming to Lawrence. All of the rookies showed up this year.

“It’s the most talented group I’ve had, but they are freshman. There will be peaks and valleys,” Price said.

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