Baylor powers past Kansas in Big 12 Championship
OKLAHOMA CITY – Three Baylor two-run home runs in the third inning were too much to overcome as the Kansas baseball team fell to the Bears, 10-5, Thursday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The winner’s bracket contest of the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship featured Kansas hurler sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn (8-5) pitted against the red-hot bats of Baylor (34-19). Zeferjahn couldn’t find his command on the mound allowing six free passes – four walks and two hit-by-pitches – in his two-plus innings of work. He surrendered six runs off five hits in the loss.
On the flip side, BU starter Hayden Kettler (8-4) had no issues keeping the Kansas (27-29) bats at bay, allowing just one run off three hits in seven innings on the bump. The lone run came in the second after redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta led off with a double before scoring on a RBI-groundout by senior first baseman Owen Taylor.
After giving up that run, Kettler retired 15-straight hitters before giving way to his bullpen.
The Jayhawks hit up BU reliever Joe Heineman for four runs in the eighth that included a double by freshman third baseman Skyler Messinger and a two-run home run by senior catcher Tanner Gragg.
Two-for-two: Senior catcher Tanner Gragg has hit a home run in each of his last two games played. The first on Saturday, May 19 against Oklahoma with his second coming today against Baylor.
Against the Sooners: Kansas will play Oklahoma for the eighth time in conference tournament play dating back to the Big Eight on Friday, May 25. In the previous seven matchups, KU holds a record of 3-4, with a mark of 1-2 coming in the Big 12 Baseball Championship.
Bottom of 1st
Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin led off with a walk before designated hitter Richard Cunningham single through the right side. The duo scored on a one-out single to left field by first baseman Andy Thomas – BU 2, KU 0.
Top of 2nd
Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta led off with a double in the left-center gap and scored on a RBI-groundout by senior first baseman Owen Taylor – BU 2, KU 1.
Bottom of 2nd
Baylor tacks on another pair of runs after Loftin (HBP) and Cunningham (2B) score with sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers driving in the latter – BU 4, KU 1.
Bottom of 3rd
BU hits three, two-run home runs – BU 10, KU 1.
Top of 8th
Taylor led off with a walk before freshman third baseman Skyler Messinger doubled. The duo scored on a wild pitch and a fielding error by Thomas. Senior catcher Tanner Gragg then hit a two-run home run – BU 10, KU 5.
Kansas plays No. 4 seed Oklahoma at 3:15 p.m. Friday, May 25. Fans can watch the game live on FSN or tune into an audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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