Kansas baseball suddenly looking like Big 12 contender, NCAA Tournament team

Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

Don’t look now, but one of the hottest teams in college baseball resides in Lawrence, Kansas. The Kansas Jayhawks – led by second-year head coach Dan Fitzgerald – have won six straight and 10 out of their last 11 games following a weekend sweep of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The six-game winning streak is tied for the Jayhawks’ longest winning streak of the season, and their sweep this past weekend was the first against Texas Tech since 2014. KU has now won four Big 12 series this season – their most since 2017.

During their recent 10-out-11 winning spree, the Jayhawks have averaged an impressive 10.7 runs per game.

“We’ve played pretty clean baseball for the most part," Fitzgerald said following the series win against Texas Tech on Sunday. “I think our approach at the plate has been really good. Our strikeouts for the most part, although we gave some away today, have been low and our walks have been high offensively.”

KU baseball now sits at 25-15 overall and 12-9 in Big 12 play. They are currently ranked No. 5 in the conference standings behind Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma with under a month left to play before the Big 12 Tournament begins May 21-25 in Arlington, Texas.

They’ll have a chance to add to their winning ways with a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

KU will next face the Wichita State Shockers in Lawrence on Wednesday. The Shockers sit at 22-23 overall and are 5-11 on the road this year. Then, the Jayhawks will head to Manhattan for the Sunflower Showdown against the 26-17 (10-11 in Big 12 play) Wildcats.

KU will follow that up with a neutral site game against Nebraska Omaha (14-24-1 overall), a three-game home stand against Houston (22-22 overall, 6-15 in Big 12 play), and a three-game series at Texas (27-18 overall, 13-8 in Big 12 play).

If the Jayhawks can win their nonconference games, win or sweep the Houston series, and at least win a few games between KSU and Texas, there’s a good chance KU will make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014.

The Jayhawks currently find themselves at No. 64 in the Division I RPI rankings. The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is a system used to rank teams based on their strength of schedule and ability to win against different levels of competition, which the NCAA uses to select teams for the tournament.

With only 64 teams making it to Regionals (the first round of the NCAA Tournament), that puts KU squarely on the bubble as it stands today.

What a feat it would be for Fitgerald, in just his second year at the helm, to lead Kansas baseball to an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in a decade.

You can watch the Jayhawks take on the Shockers on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT live at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence or on ESPN+.