LAWRENCE, Kan. – Thirty-one games at Hoglund Ballpark, including series against in-state rival Kansas State and 2016 College World Series (CWS) participant Oklahoma State, highlight the 2017 Kansas baseball schedule released by the team Thursday.
Among the 56 games slated for the 2017 campaign, Kansas will play 14 against teams who competed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including nine games against CWS participants.
“It is a quality schedule,” head coach Ritch Price said. “One of the great things about our conference is you have three teams that played in the CWS coming back and probably be ranked in the top-10 in the country. The challenge is in our conference, and then with the traditional nonconference games with Wichita State, Creighton and Missouri State.”
Kansas will play 31 home games – the second-most in Price’s tenure – in 2017, something he hopes will prepare his rookie squad to play on the road.
“The last few years we have had more road games than home games,” Price said. “With such a young team, I think it is important to play a significant number of games at home to help us prepare to go on the road to play at TCU and at Oklahoma. It is a challenge, but something I hope our players will embrace.”
The Jayhawks will have a chance to embrace the challenge early as they open up the season February 17-19 in Charleston, South Carolina. There they will play The Citadel, Liberty and the 2015 National Champion Virginia Cavaliers, something Price and his players are looking forward to.
“This year we open up in South Carolina,” Price said. “You see we get to play the 2015 National Champion in Virginia, and The Citadel has a program that wins over 30 games every year. It is a quality tournament and it is a great way to open up the season.”
That early start to the season should propel Kansas later in the month when the squad will take its third trip in the last four years to Stanford (Feb. 24-26), one of the highlights for all the players from the West Coast.
“For the players on our team from the West Coast, it is an opportunity for them to play in front of their friends and family,” Price said. “The Jayhawks really draw well when we play at Stanford.”
KU will then return to Hoglund Ballpark to open up an eight-game homestand with Oral Roberts (Feb. 28), Northwestern State (March 3-5), Omaha (March 10) and Houston Baptist (March 10-12), before conference play March 17-19 at TCU – one of three CWS participants circled on the schedule.
From there, Kanas heads back to Lawrence and will play host to Creighton (March 22), Samford (March 24-26), Minnesota (March 28-29) and Texas (March 31-April 2).
April 7-9, KU finds itself heading east again to continue Big 12 play at West Virginia, before returning to Hoglund Ballpark to host Oklahoma State (April 13-15). Kansas will then head back out on the road for its longest trip of the year, 10 games, at Wichita State (April 19), at Oklahoma (April 21-23) and at Grand Canyon (April 25-26).
The Jayhawks close out the home slate with a 10-game homestand beginning with Baylor (April 28-30), Missouri State (May 2), Texas Southern (May 5-7) and Kansas State (May 12-14). The season concludes with a three-game series at Texas Tech, May 18-20.