Goddard's seven scoreless lifts Kansas over HBU

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – A career-day from sophomore righty Jackson Goddard paved the way for a Kansas baseball victory Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark after the Jayhawks defeated Houston Baptist, 4-2.
Goddard (2-0) controlled the tempo of the game from his very first pitch and gave head coach Ritch Price and the Jayhawks (7-8) exactly what they were looking for – a quality start. That start not only exceeded the skipper’s expectations, but kept Houston Baptist (8-6) off the board.
“I have been waiting for Goddard to take that step forward and be an impact guy for us,” Price said. “That is the first time we have seen the whole package. That was seven really strong innings and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.”
Goddard’s step forward included a career-high seven innings pitched where he gave up no runs off four hits while striking out a personal-best six batters. If that wasn’t enough, the hurler didn’t surrender a walk in the 99-pitch effort and stranded all six base runners that made it on.
“He commanded his fastball and it made it hard for Houston Baptist to sit on his off-speed pitches,” Price said. “He located the ball at the knees and was able to spin his breaking ball for a strike. That allowed him to disrupt tempo and finish guys with his fastball.”
That start by Goddard marked the first where he pitched at least five scoreless innings without allowing a walk. In fact, that was just his second start of five or more innings where he didn’t surrender a free pass and the first that he won.
Goddard was able to pitch with confidence after Kansas gave him a four-run putting up two-spots in the second and third innings, respectively.
Sophomores Rudy Karre and David Kyriacou hit back-to-back singles in the second with one out. Freshman James Cosentino smoked an RBI-double to drive in Karre and junior Owen Taylor connected for a sacrifice fly to bring in Ty Denzer – who pinch ran for Kyriacou – to put KU on top, 2-0, after two.
Then in the third inning, a hit by freshman Jaxx Groshans and a fielding blunder allowed two Jayhawks to score and push HBU’s starter Zach Carter’s (3-1) run total to four.
“There were a lot of freshmen on the field today,” Price said. “We are making progress and those guys did a great job of limiting the mistakes. If we can get to the point where you are up five times and have four quality at bats – you will get your hits.”
The young Kansas hitters mustered just five total hits, but all by a different player. Karre led the pack with a single and two runs scored, while freshman Brett Vosik and Cosentino boasted doubles for the Jayhawks’ two extra-base hits on the day.
After KU rode Goddard through seven, Price handed the ball to his closer Stephen Villines with a four-run lead. The Huskies knocked him around and scored two runs off four hits in the eighth inning and it looked like a comeback was inevitable. However, Villines settled down and kept the damage at two runs to preserve the Kansas victory, 4-2.
Kansas heads back out on the road Wednesday, March 15, when the Jayhawks travel south to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a midweek matchup at Oral Roberts. KU will then continue south and open up conference play at No. 1 TCU on the weekend, March 17-19.
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