Goddard Paces Jayhawks in 5-3 Win Over Saint Louis

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a strong start on the mound by freshman righty Jackson Goddard, the Kansas baseball team topped Saint Louis, 5-3, to pick up its second-straight win Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Goddard (1-1) pitched six scoreless frames before getting into a little trouble with one out in the seventh. He exited the game after six and 1/3 innings with runners at second and third and one out, Kansas leading 5-0. However, the bullpen wasn’t able to hold the shutout and Goddard was credited with two of Saint Louis’ (6-9) three runs on the day.
The rookie pitcher faced 24 batters in the longest start of his career and tied his career high with three strikeouts. Goddard was nearly flawless taking a no-hitter with him into the fifth inning. Then with two outs, SLU third baseman Josh Bunselmeyer drove a double to the left-center gap. Goddard then loaded the bases with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, before inducing a fly ball to right to get out of the jam.
After a perfect sixth, Goddard found himself in trouble in the seventh after he gave up a single and a double with one out. Head coach Ritch Price called to his bullpen and brought in freshman Zack Leban with runners at second and third. Leban walked the bases loaded and gave up a RBI-single to centerfield and forced Price’s hand again.
The Kansas skipper called to fellow righty, senior Sam Gilbert, to get out of the bases loaded jam. Gilbert gave up a sacrifice fly for the second out and put Saint Louis within two runs, 5-3. Gilbert then walked and hit a batter to load the bases, but got a big fly out to end the inning and keep it a two-run game.
Six different Jayhawks contributed to the team’s eight hits, with senior right fielder Joe Moroney (2-for-3) and junior catcher Michael Tinsley (2-for-4) tallying multiple hit performances. Senior second baseman Colby Wright (1-for-2) hit his first home run of the season while sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin and Tinsley joined him with one RBI apiece.
Kansas broke open the scoring in the fourth inning after Wright smoked a 3-2 fastball over the wall in left field with one out. The Jayhawks followed in the fifth with a four-spot to add to their lead, 5-0.
Moroney started the rally with a one-out single through the left side. Freshman third baseman Rudy Karre followed suit with his own single to left field to put runners at the corners and force SLU to make a pitching change. Junior centerfielder Joven Afenir drew the walk to load the bases before McLaughlin hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run.
Tinsley then singled up the middle and Wright drew a walk to bring up junior first baseman Marcus Wheeler, who forced Saint Louis into a throwing error. Tinsley and McLaughlin both scored and the Jayhawks took the 5-0 lead.
The Billikens took advantage of a rocky KU bullpen in the seventh and scored three runs before Kansas called to its closer, junior Stephen Villines (2) to shut the door.
Kansas continues play in the Millard Management Classic Saturday night with a game against Purdue that was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The Jayhawks then play host to Murray State Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15-16, before hitting the road to play three games at Stanford.  Both games against the Racers can be seen on ESPN3. Fans can also tune into the Jayhawk Radio Network for a live audio broadcast via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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