Kansas Drops Finale, Wins Series in Final Meeting with Border Rival Missouri
May 19, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. –Squaring off for the final time as members of the same conference, the Kansas baseball team rallied for a three-run fifth, but Missouri held on for the team’s only win of the series, 6-3, Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks finished the regular season 22-32 overall and 7-16 in the Big 12, while Missouri ended 2012 to 28-26 and 10-14 in conference play. With the Kansas State loss earlier in the day, KU secured the No. 7 seed in next week’s conference tournament and will take on No. 2-seeded Texas A&M in the opening round on Wednesday. The game time will be announced when available.
Saturday’s matchup not only marked the Jayhawks’ Senior Day, all eight of which were honored prior to first pitch, but was also amped up by the end of an 118-year old history between the conference rivals. Kansas and Missouri met for the first time in 1894 before closing the storied tradition in 2012.
With the added incentives on the line, seniors James Stanfield and Jake Marasco combined for three hits, including an RBI double for Stanfield. Freshman left fielder Michael Suiter connected on his fourth homer of the season, while sophomore Tucker Tharp chipped in a RBI during the Jayhawks’ three-run fifth.
KU’s offensive output in the frame cut a 4-0 Missouri lead to one, but the Tigers would keep the Jayhawks off the board for the remainder of the game adding a run in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win.
Redshirt junior Taylor Thomas (4-7) took the loss for Kansas after facing an unfortunate hole in the top of the first. Two more runs in the second and another in the top of the sixth finished his outing for reliever Jordan Jakubov. In his 1 2/3 innings of work, he allowed one run on three hits. Matt Kohorst and Tanner Poppe each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the afternoon.
For the Tigers, senior third baseman Conner Mach led the offense with a 4-for-5 performance. All three of his RBIs came with two outs. Catcher Ben Turner contributed a 3-for-4 effort. Junior lefty Blake Holovach (6-4) earned the win on the mound, while Dusty Ross picked up his third save of the season.
For the first time over the weekend, Missouri struck first using a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. After Taylor picked up two quick outs in the opening frame, Turner reached on an infield single before an error extended the inning and landed Missouri runners on second and third. Mach’s single knocked both runs in, but ended the inning when right fielder Tucker Tharp threw him out trying to take second.
Facing the 2-0 deficit, Thomas worked through a quick top of the second but Missouri doubled its lead in its next trip to the plate. Again Thomas racked up two outs against the first two batters, but Missouri rallied on two – putting four-straight runners on using three singles and a walk. Mach picked up his third two-out RBI of the game and first baseman Andreas Plackis drove in another to increase the Tigers’ lead, 4-0.
Trailing the Tigers, the Jayhawks appeared to shift into comeback mode when Suiter’s leadoff homer kicked off the bottom of the fifth. Looking to rally on senior day, Marasco and Stanfield highlighted the remainder the inning with a single and an RBI double, respectively, cutting the deficit to one, 4-3.
The Jayhawks would rally no further, however, as Missouri would go on to claim the finale 6-3, leaving Kansas with the 2-1 series victory.