Three-Peat for Piché as Big 12 Newcomer of the Week
LAWRENCE, Kan. – National Stopper of the Year candidate Jordan Piche’ became the first three-time winner of the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week Award, when the conference announced its weekly honorees Monday afternoon. Piche’ joins only four other players winning the top-newcomer honor, in its third year of existence, on multiple occasions in a single season.
The right-handed closer from Greeley, Colo., pitched in four of Kansas’ (30-18, 12-9 Big 12) five wins last week, earning his team-leading sixth win of the season and saved Friday night’s series opening win against Baylor. Piché threw a total of 6.1 innings and added six strikeouts to his season total.
“Obviously, the key to our success this season has been Jordan Piché at the back end of games,” said Kansas head coach Ritch Price, who has led the Jayhawks to its eighth 30 win season in the last 11 years. “He’s having as great a year as any player I’ve coached in the 35 years that I’ve been in the game.”
The nation’s leader in ERA entering the week, Piché helped Kansas shut out Wichita State Tuesday night before pitching in every contest in KU’s first-ever sweep of Baylor over the weekend. In four outings, Piché was tagged with just one run, raising his miniscule ERA to 0.72 for the year in 24 total appearances. That mark still ranks as the second-best mark in the country through games completed as of May 5th.
Piché, transferred to Kansas from Indian Hills Community College prior to the 2012-13 school year and leads the Big 12 in ERA and saves (9), and is second among his conference mates in opponent batting average (.200).
“The numbers that he’s put up are absolutely incredible and he’s certainly deserving of the recognition,” Price said. “He’s gone out there each and every time he’s been handed the ball and been absolutely special.”
Piché, who claimed the conference’s Newcomer of the Week award in back-to-back weeks April 8 and 15, was joined by West Virginia’s Matt Frazer (Player of the Week) and Oklahoma State’s Mark Robinette (Pitcher of the Week) as honorees Monday.
After sweeping Baylor, Kansas sits in fourth place in the league standings at 12-9, a half game back of a three-way tie for first between Oklahoma, Kansas State and West Virginia, who are all 11-7 in Big 12 play. Kansas has one Big 12 series left next weekend against K-State at Hoglund Ballpark. Kansas will travel to Wichita State Tuesday to return the trip the Shockers made to Lawrence last Tuesday. That game at Eck Stadium will start at 6:30 p.m.