Jayhawks Blank Niagara, 7-0
March 7, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshman second baseman Tommy Mirabelli went 2-for-2 with a career high three RBIs, while sophomore Drew Morovick and three Jayhawk relievers combined the shutout as Kansas cruised past Niagara, 7-0, in its home opener Thursday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks improve to 7-5 on the season, while the Purple Eagles fall to 3-10. The shutout win was KU’s third of the season. The Jayhawks had just four shutouts in all of 2012.
Offensively, KU stole nine bases in the game – the most by a Jayhawk team in the Ritch Price era – and used some timely hitting to produce seven runs. Mirabelli gave KU its initial lead in the second inning with a two-run double to left field and added a sacrifice fly in the sixth for his career best three RBIs.
The Jayhawks scored two runs in the second and then added to their lead, scoring runs in each of their final four at bats.
Senior Jordan Dreiling and sophomores Dakota Smith and Michael Suiter also chipped in two hits for the Kansas offense. Dreiling recorded his first triple of the season and drove in two runs, while Suiter stole three bases and scored twice.
That was more than enough support for Morovick, who looked sharp on three days rest. The sophomore righty retired the first 10 hitters he faced, until an error with one out in the fourth gave the Purple Eagles their first base runner. The Kansas starter went five innings and allowed no runs on three hits.
KU’s bullpen tandem of Junior Mustain, Robert Kahana and Colin Toalson kept the visitors at bay. As a staff, KU recorded just two strikeouts in the game – the fewest by a Jayhawk staff since April 7 of last year against Oklahoma State. Kahana came into a bases loaded jam in the seventh and fanned Evan Wexler, while Toalson struck out the Niagara catcher to end the game.
The Jayhawks will face Niagara in a doubleheader on Friday, beginning at 2 p.m., and then play the series finale on Saturday at 1 p.m. Should Saturday’s game get rained out, the teams will finish the four-game set on Sunday at noon.
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