Defensive woes plague Kansas at Grand Canyon
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Seven unearned runs off five errors dug a hole too deep for the Kansas baseball team to climb out of Tuesday night in a 12-2 loss to Grand Canyon at Brazell Field inside GCU Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (12-8) matched a season-high five errors, including two in the bottom of the third, that gave the ‘Lopes (7-12) an early lead they never relinquished. Those five miscues were the most for KU since committing the same exactly two weeks ago at then-No. 4 Florida State (March 6).
“Today we played bad defense, and followed it up with bad pitching,” head coach Ritch Price said. “The next thing you know, we are having really bad at bats. It is the worst performance of the season for us. There aren’t many times I have been disappointed in my team in my tenure at KU, but I am disappointed in the outcome here tonight in every aspect of the game.”
Because of the extra outs provided to Grand Canyon, Price was forced to use six different pitchers to get through the game. Senior righty Jon Hander (0-1) started on the bump and lasted just two and 2/3 innings, exiting in that five-run GCU third – all five runs charged to Hander were unearned.
The ‘Lopes didn’t register an earned run in the game until freshman lefty Daniel Hegarty gave up two in his one and 1/3 innings of relief – the first came in the bottom of the fourth with two outs.
Kansas didn’t do itself any favors offensively, mustering just five hits after entering the day averaging 9.4 hits per game. Those five knocks mark a season-low breaking its previous mark set just two games ago at Texas (6 – March 17).
“We were bad offensively, we were bad on the mound, and we were bad defensively,” Price said. “When you combine all those things together, you get beat as bad as we did tonight.”
Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta had the lone extra-base hit for Kansas, a double in the first inning. Sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems drove in one of the two KU runs with an RBI-single in the second. The Jayhawks scored their final run of the game via a RBI-single by sophomore designated hitter Brett Vosik in the fifth.
Kansas concludes its two-game series at Grand Canyon on Wednesday, March 21, at 3 p.m. (CT). Fans can tune into a video broadcast on the WAC Digital Network, or listen in live on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-error third: After taking a one-run lead, Kansas kicked the ball around two times in the bottom of the third inning that led to five unearned GCU runs. That proved to be the tipping point for Kansas, and the ‘Lopes went on to outscore the Jayhawks 7-1 the final six frames for the win.
Two-on, no out: Kansas gave up a five-run third, but found itself in a prime position to immediately get some of those runs back. In the top of the fourth, the Jayhawks got the first two hitters aboard with no outs. That didn’t faze GCU pitching as it sat the next three hitters down to kill any hopes of a rally.
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