Cardinal Big Inning Sinks Jayhawks, 10-4
STANFORD, Calif. – A seven-run Stanford fifth inning was too much to overcome as the Kansas baseball team dropped game two of the weekend series, 10-4, Saturday afternoon at Klein Field in Sunken Diamond.
Stanford (9-5) pounded out seven runs off seven hits with help from three Kansas (7-10) errors in the frame. The Jayhawks sent three different pitchers to the mound to try and stop the bleeding including redshirt-sophomore righty Jon Hander and freshman right-hander Zack Leban.
“I think you’re in trouble anytime you have to make three pitching changes in an inning,” head coach Ritch Price said. “The game got away from us as we went from one guy to the next. The next thing you know is they have seven runs on seven hits. If you pitch poorly in an inning, it escalates into worse things that happen in a game. If you take out the fifth inning, it was a spectacular college baseball game.”
Hander started the fifth inning for KU and allowed all three batters he faced to reach base. Stanford designated hitter Alex Dunlap doubled to left to start off the inning. Cardinal first baseman Matt Winaker followed with a RBI-single before Hander hit left fielder Duke Kinamon with a pitch.
Kansas then called to its bullpen again and brought in Leban with runners at first and second. Leban managed to get two outs in the inning but gave up four runs off four hits in the process. Compound that with three Jayhawk errors and KU found itself in an eight-run hole.
The Jayhawks scored two runs in the first after Stanford starter Brett Hanewich couldn’t find the zone. The big righty gave up two runs off three walks and a hit, before exiting the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the first. Sophomore first baseman Owen Taylor took to the box against Cardinal reliever Chris Castellanos (2-1), who struck out the switch hitter on four pitches.
“We took advantage of that situation,” Price said. “The only thing I was disappointed about was when we had the bases loaded with two outs and two runs scored, we had a very non-competitive at bat. When you have runners in scoring position, you have to stay aggressive and look for the fastball. We aren’t doing that very well right now.”
Much like Stanford’s starter, KU hurler freshman Jackson Goddard couldn’t find his rhythm on the mound in the first frame. Goddard forced a ground out from the first batter he faced, before loading the bases by way of two walks and a single. The rookie pitcher then walked in a run and gave up a RBI-single to knot the game up, 2-2, at the end of the first inning.
Goddard struggled in the second after getting two quick outs and Kansas called to its freshman Blake Goldsberry (0-2) and the rest of the bullpen to string something together the remainder of the game. Eliminate the fifth-inning blunder, and the bullpen gave up just one run in five and 1/3 innings of relief.
Kansas battled at the plate and scrounged out four runs off eight hits. Freshman designated hitter Rudy Karre (2-for-3) and senior second baseman Colby Wright (3-for-4) boasted multiple-hit efforts, while Wright drove in two RBIs. The Jayhawks hit four doubles on the day – two from Wright and one each from Karre and junior centerfielder Joven Afenir.
“The quality of (Wright’s) at bats are really good,” Price said. “He is on time with the fastball and he is getting the ball elevated. He is being real aggressive too. When Wright is hitting, you see good at bats from the majority of our lineup.”
KU got the lead-off man aboard in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, with a double, however, were not able to convert any runs until the seventh frame.
Karre led off the inning with a walk before Afenir and sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin recorded back-to-back outs. Junior catcher Michael Tinsley hit a RBI-single to right field to drive in KU’s first run since the first inning. Then it was up to Wright who smoked a 2-1 pitch off the top of the wall in deep left center to drive in Tinsley and round out the Jayhawks’ scoring on the day, 10-4.
The two teams conclude the series Sunday, March 20. Sophomore lefty Blake Weiman will get the nod for KU with first pitch at 2 p.m. (CT). Fans can listen to the game live on the air on KWOD 1660 AM and the Jayhawk Radio Network KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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