Creighton long balls doom Jayhawks
LAWRENCE, Kan.– A trio of long balls and stranded baserunners proved costly for Kansas as it fell to Creighton, 6-5, Wednesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Blue Jays (24-8) hit three home runs and shut down the Jayhawks’ (20-19) offense late in the game to secure the victory. Kansas had the bases loaded in the seventh but could not find a way to bring any of the runners home.
Kansas starting pitcher Steve Washilewski labored through four innings while striking out four batters and allowing four runs. The southpaw’s day ended after he allowed a solo shot and a hit batsman while failing to record an out in the top of the fifth.
Sophomore first baseman Nolan Metcalf got the Jayhawks on the board early with a three-run dinger to straight-away center field in the bottom of the first that scored senior Rudy Karre and junior Brett Vosik.
After Creighton put up a three spot in the top of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead, sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger roped a two-run double down the first-base line to even the score for the Jayhawks in the bottom of the sixth.
The Blue Jays responded and tagged relief pitcher Stone Parker (1-1) for a run in the top of the seventh to take the lead, 6-5. Parker got the loss as Creighton never relinquished the lead.
Junior Benjamin Sems went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk on the day.
- Sophomore first baseman Nolan Metcalf tied a career-high with three RBIs when he launched his third home run on the year.
- Junior shortstop Benjamin Sems has five hits in his last three contests with three doubles and two walks in that span. With his two hits tonight, he pushes his season total to 12 multi-hit games, ranking second on the team.
- Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans extended his hitting streak to five games with a single.
- Including tonight’s contest, the Jayhawks’ last six games have been decided by one run. KU now owns a 3-3 record in that span.
- Senior center fielder Rudy Karre extended his hitting streak to six games, which is the longest active hitting streak on the team.
Head coach Ritch Price
On the bullpen’s performance…
“Obviously (Steve) Washilweski didn’t have a very good outing and he had trouble commanding his fastball, he was behind in the count. Then when he got ahead, he wasn’t able to finish guys because his breaking ball wasn’t very good tonight. We were 5-2 in weekday games going into the game and he’s been a big reason for that. Our bullpen came in and picked us up and did a really nice job. They kept us in the game and gave us a chance to tie it. You look at the stat sheet and their first three hitters got seven hits and three home runs and the difference in the game was that their three impact guys won the ballgame for them.”
On what caused the three home runs…
“It’s about being behind in the count and throwing a fastball in fastball counts and then throwing the ball down the middle of the plate. They didn’t miss them, those three home runs were hammered. That’s what happens when you can’t command a ball down in the zone and you’re behind, it’s a bad formula for success. Our pitchers understand that, they know that and they’re not trying to do it. It’s just a night where we were not very sharp on the mound.”
On Skyler Messinger’s game-tying double in the sixth inning…
“It was huge. A two-strike, two-out double to tie the game was a really big offensive play for us. Then we had the bases loaded and a chance to take the lead and end up hitting a double play ball. You know, those things happen. I give their pitchers credit. We had guys in scoring position three times and they managed to get double play balls rolled up to get out of the innings.”
The Jayhawks head back out on the road for a nonconference series at Furman, April 26-28.