Defense, Turski lead Jayhawks in win against Texas
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Six shutout-innings from its ace Taylor Turski and a huge outfield assist by sophomore Devin Foyle to end the game paced the Kansas baseball team to a Saturday afternoon victory over Texas, 2-1, at Hoglund Ballpark.
Trailing 2-0, the Longhorns (19-11, 4-4 Big 12) strung together a late rally in the top of the ninth inning against Kansas (11-15, 2-3 Big 12) senior closer Stephen Villines. A leadoff single and a double down the right-field line gave UT its lone run of the contest. However, the validity of that statement was only made possible when Foyle threw out the tying run at home plate to end the game following a Texas single through the left side with two outs.
“We practice that play at least twice a week,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That was a perfect scoop and throw by Foyle, and Jaxx Groshans made the tag. What a great way to beat a team like Texas.”
Amidst the excitement to end the game, Villines recorded the final five outs of the contest, including three strikeouts, to pick up his fifth save of the season and tie the all-time career mark set by KU great Don Czyz (2003-06) at 30.
It took 32 pitches to record those five outs and they didn’t come easy, but Villines buckled down and did what he has done 30 times before – preserve the Kansas victory.
“Czyz was the national closer of the year his senior year and is one of the greatest players to put on a Jayhawk uniform,” Price said. “He is in great company now that Villines joins him atop that list, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Sophomore reliever Zack Leban set that save up with one and 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball where he struck out two batters. He came on to start the seventh after Turski (2-2) exited the game having pitched another gem.
Turski held the Longhorns to no runs off three hits in six innings while striking out at least eight batters for the second time in as many Big 12 starts. He pitched in and out of trouble through those six frames and kept the Texas hitters off balance.
“He has been special all season,” Price said. “He pitched well today. He has great makeup and great maturity. He came here to pitch against the great programs in our conference and he showed it today.”
The Jayhawks tallied nine hits in the contest with seven of them coming off the bat of a freshman. Rookies right fielder Brett Vosik (2-for-3), second baseman James Cosentino (2-for-3) and catcher Groshans (2-for-4) each posted multi-hit efforts with Vosik driving in the would-be-winning run in the sixth inning.
“I was proud of our freshmen today,” Price said. “They got dominated yesterday at the plate with opportunities to score. It was good to see those guys grind and produce the way they did. That was a huge step forward for that class.”
The rubber match between Kansas and Texas is slated for Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on the Jayhawk Television Network (in the state of Kansas) or on ESPN3 (outside the coverage area). A live audio broadcast of the game is also available on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
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