KU sweeps K-State in the baseball edition of the Sunflower Showdown

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LAWRENCE, Kan.– For the first time since 2008, Kansas swept the series against in-state rival Kansas State on Senior Day during the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Sunday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.
 
In the second game of a doubleheader, the Jayhawks (31-24, 12-12 Big 12) came back from a deficit three times against the Wildcats (25-31, 8-16 Big 12) to earn the series sweep and ninth-straight Sunday victory.
 
Senior pitchers Ryan Ralston and Brandon Ponticelli each saw action in the Senior Day contest, with both hurlers posting scoreless outings. Senior infielder Blake Shinkle also made his 13th start this season. 
 
Both teams traded jabs and there were five different lead changes throughout the contest.
 
After a pair of home runs gave Kansas State a 4-3 advantage, the Jayhawks battled back and took the series off of an RBI-double from sophomore Tom Lichty.
 
Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans launched his 12th home run of the year in addition to leading all hitters with a 2-for-4 performance while recording three RBIs and a double. 
 
NOTES

  • Kansas’ sweep of Kansas State is the first for the Jayhawks since they took all three games from the Wildcats on May 2-4, 2008. It is only the second time in Big 12 play that the KU has swept K-State.
  • Today’s contest marked the ninth-straight victory on Sunday. Kansas now holds a record of 11-2 in games played on Sundays, including an 8-1 mark in conference play.
  • Junior second baseman James Cosentino was hit by a pitch for a team-leading 21st time this season.
  • Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans launched his 12th home run on the year and his first home run in 117 plate appearances, dating back to April 2 against Wichita State. In addition to his four-bagger, Groshans recorded his team-leading 17th multi-hit game of the year
  • This is the fourth time in the Big 12 era that Kansas finished league play in fifth place or higher and it is the highest finish since 2014 when the Jayhawks finished in third place.
  • The sweep of Kansas State marks the third different opponent the Jayhawks have swept this season and it is the most since 2014 when KU earned series sweeps over four different opponents.

QUOTES
Head Coach Ritch Price 
On sweeping Kansas State…
“It feels good. I want to give a lot of credit to their team and our staff … They have great fans at Kansas State and that program is going to get back on track. I look forward to battling them for several years to come.”
 
On the team getting hot at the right time…
“I challenged our guys. If you find a way to sweep an in-state rival and get to Oklahoma City, you could get a chance to play your way in … I like our chances.”
 
On what the seniors have meant to the program . . . 
“We pride ourselves in this being a player’s program and those are some of the best young men to walk on the planet. It has been an honor and a privilege to coach those guys.”
 
Senior pitcher Ryan Ralston 
On what the program has meant to him . . .
“This has been my family. Skip recruits nothing but good guys and every guy that is in that dugout is an unbelievable person. I have friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime.”
 
On how he has developed in his time with the program . . .
“I feel like I have grown a ton, not just as a baseball player, but as a man. Skip preaches grind every day and I feel like I have instilled that into my life.”
 
Senior outfielder Rudy Karre
On what the program has meant to him . . .
“You build relationships that will last forever here. I am a senior now, but I still keep in touch with guys who have graduated in the past. It means more to me than words can explain. You become a family, they become one of your own. You live with them day in and day out here and there are no other words to describe it other than a family.”
 
On how he has developed in his time with the program . . .
“I have definitely matured, not just baseball-wise but as a man. I had a lot of difficulties over my four years here and worked to overcome them. This program has helped me become more of a man and prepared me for life.”
 
On if his experience was different given all of his injuries . . .
“I wouldn’t say it was much different. It was just another obstacle for me to overcome and everybody deals with them, I just happened to get a little more than usual. I have learned to conquer them one after another and just push through it.”

UP NEXT
Kansas opens up the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship against No. 4 seeded West Virginia. 

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