Taylor, Jayhawks Hold Off Houston Baptist, 3-2
March 18, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Kansas starting pitcher Thomas Taylor allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts, while the Jayhawk offense did just enough to conquer Houston Baptist, 3-2, Sunday morning at SAISD Sports Complex in the final day of the Irish Baseball Classic.
The win snaps a long losing streak in the state of Texas for Kansas. After taking the final game of a series at TCU last season, the Jayhawks had dropped 12-straight games in the Lone Star State, including six in San Antonio this season. KU improves to 9-10 on the year, while Houston Baptist falls to 5-14.
Taylor evened his record at 2-2, needing just 89 pitches to get through 7 2/3 innings. The redshirt-junior scattered seven hits in the game and allowed just the one run – scored in the second inning on a double play off the bat of Asai Adame. Taylor dropped his season ERA to 2.62, which ties him for seventh-lowest in the Big 12.
Trailing 1-0 after two innings, KU’s offense played small ball to grab the lead.
In the sixth inning, Michael Suiter led off with a single through the left side and moved to second after Connor McKay walked with one out. Redshirt junior Jake Marasco’s fly out to right field moved Suiter to third and eventually scored him when McKay stayed in a rundown long enough after being caught off first base.
KU added two unearned runs in the seventh to take the lead. The Jayhawks put two on with one out when Kevin Kuntz hit a grounder to second that HBU second baseman Josh Faust fired wildly to first, which allowed the go-ahead run to score. KU sophomore Ka’iana Eldredge then laid down a perfectly placed safety squeeze to increase the lead to 3-1.
The Huskies threatened in the ninth inning against Tanner Poppe, but the junior closer induced a pair of ground ball outs to end the game and pick up his third save of the season. Poppe allowed an unearned run after an infield hit and an error put the first two men on in the final frame.
Offensively, the Jayhawks were paced by the bottom of their batting order as Jake Marasco, Chris Manship and Jordan Dreiling each collected two base hits. Eldredge had KU’s lone RBI.
After spending the last five weekends on the road, KU will finally return home Tuesday to face non-conference foe Southern Utah at 3 p.m. in the first contest in a two-game series at Hoglund Ballpark.