Jayhawks stay hot in win at Grand Canyon

Stats Box Score (.pdf)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Kansas baseball team picked up its 10th win in the last 15 games Tuesday night at Grand Canyon when the Jayhawks defeated the Lopes, 9-4, at Brazell Stadium.
Kansas (20-20) relied on five strong innings from its starter redshirt-junior Sean Rackoski (4-4) and great plate discipline from its young hitters against five different Grand Canyon (19-20) hurlers. Rackoski threw 81 pitches and gave up just one earned run off five hits to pick up his first win since March 24 against Samford.
The Jayhawks backed Rackoski’s effort with four innings out of sophomore righty Blake Goldsberry who picked up his first-career save after entering the game with a one-run lead in the sixth. Goldsberry struck out two hitters in back-to-back innings to start his relief appearance, and gave up just one lone run against the 15 batters he faced.
“Rackoski gave us five great innings,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That was a huge step forward for him after missing the time he did, and how about Goldsberry. He saved our bullpen with his four-inning outing. It was a good team win”
Sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre led all hitters and matched his career best with four RBIs, while sophomore left fielder Devin Foyle, freshman catcher Jaxx Groshans and senior first baseman Marcus Wheeler each tallied two runs scored.
Those runs were able to cross thanks to the plate discipline that allowed Kansas to draw a season-best 17 free passes – 11 walks and six hit-by-pitches (HBP). Karre wore two of those pitches for his 19th and 20th HBP on the season and ranks second in the nation in that category. Foyle and Groshans joined in and each matched a personal-best three walks.
“I thought it was a grinded out win,” Price said. “We had a chance to blow the game wide open and just left too many guys on base. We found a way to get enough clutch hits, but we left way too many on.”
The Jayhawks left season-high 14 runners on base and had just one hit – a Karre two-run single – in seven tries with the bases loaded.
Stud Chart: Kansas head coach Ritch Price prides himself on having one of the toughest teams in the nation. That toughness starts with sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre who wore his 19th and 20th pitch, respectively, on the season. Those two hit-by-pitches (HBP) not only moved him into a tie for second in the nation in that category, but moves him into second in the Jayhawk record books for most HBP in a single-season. Both those plunks in tonight’s game also led to RBIs for Karre, as they came with the bases loaded.
Errors: For the seventh time this season, Kansas committed three or more errors in a game with two of those errors coming in the bottom of the fourth inning. Those two miscues in that frame led to two of the Lopes’ runs as sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou and junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin each threw a ball away to first.
Hometown crowd: Sophomore outfielders Rudy Karre and Devin Foyle, senior first baseman Marcus Wheeler and redshirt-junior righty Sean Rackoski hail from the Copper State and played important roles in the Jayhawks’ victory over Grand Canyon. Rackoski pitched five solid innings and gave up one earned run while Karre tied his career high with four RBIs. Foyle added two runs scored while Wheeler touched home twice and drove in another.
Fourteen left: Kansas left a season-high 14 runners on base and hit into two double plays with runners at third and less than two outs – once with the bases loaded and once with runners at the corners. That marks the 15th game KU has left double-digit runners on base and fifth in its last eighth contests.
Kansas closes out its six-game road swing when it wraps up its two-game series at Grand Canyon on Wednesday, April 26. First pitch against the Lopes is slated for 3 p.m. (CST) and can be seen on GCU.tv. Fans can also tune into an audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
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KUAthletics.com:  The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.