Taylor, Jayhawks Blank Belmont, 2-0
Feb. 18, 2012
- Coach Price
- T. Taylor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Redshirt junior Thomas Taylor pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up his first victory of the season, while freshman Justin Protacio drove in both Kansas runs as the Jayhawks shut out Belmont, 2-0 in their second game of the day at E.S. Rose Field Saturday in Nashville, Tenn. Earlier in the day, KU knocked off Bowling Green, 3-1, at the same site.
KU improves to 3-0 on the season, while the Bruins – NCAA Tournament participants in 2011 – fall to 1-1. The Jayhawks are 3-0 for the first time since 2007 when the team won their first five contests.
Pitching and defense were the story of Saturday’s game as Taylor went a career-best 8 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. However, his most impressive number may have been 89 – the number of pitches it took the junior right to get the team to the ninth inning.
Taylor was incredibly efficient in the game, recording four innings where he threw less than 10 pitches to get through them. He faced the minimum 12 hitters through the first four innings, needing just 35 pitches to get there.
The junior’s defense helped him out throughout the game as catcher James Stanfield threw two would-be base stealers out at second and also picked a base runner off of first base. While right fielder Tucker Tharp came up with the biggest assist of the game.
With one out in a 1-0 game, the sophomore right fielder gunned Belmont’s Drew Ferguson out at the plate following a walk, a sacrifice and a single through the right side. Tharp charged the ball perfectly and fired a one-hop strike to Stanfield, who blocked the plate perfectly and applied the tag on the Bruin baserunner to preserve the 1-0 score.
Senior relief pitcher Jordan Jakubov picked up his first career save, recording the final two outs of the game after Taylor plunked back-to-back hitters with one out in the ninth.
Kansas scratched out two runs off the bat of Protacio. The freshman infielder hit a slow roller to short with the bases loaded in the sixth, which plated Jordan Dreiling to give the Jayhawks a 1-0 lead. After a Chris Manship triple to center field in the ninth, Protacio gave KU breathing room with a shot to left field for his first multi-RBI game of his career.
Fellow freshman Michael Suiter also swung a hot bat, going 3-for-3 in the game with three singles and a walk. The bottom third of the Jayhawk batting order went 6-for-11 in the game.
Kansas will wrap up the weekend in Nashville with a 1 p.m. contest against Lipscomb Sunday at Ken Dugan Field. Fans can listen to the game live on Jayhawk All-Access at kuathletics.com.