Jayhawks blank Texas Southern in series finale
MELISSA, Texas – Headlined by a strong start from freshman left-hander Hunter Freese, the Kansas baseball team defeated Texas Southern, 1-0, Sunday afternoon at Melissa Sports Complex in the final game of a four-game set.
Freese (1-0), who made his second-career start for the Jayhawks (5-3), tossed five shutout innings before leaving the game in the sixth. He limited the Tigers (1-7) to four hits in his appearance while striking out one and walking four.
The lone run of the ballgame came off the bat of redshirt-sophomore designated hitter Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi in the second inning, when he grounded out to second base. Junior shortstop Benjamin Sems scored on the play.
After Freese’s departure, four members of the Kansas bullpen combined to blank Texas Southern for the final four innings. Redshirt-juniors Brandon Ponticelli, Nathan Barry and Blake Goldsberry pitched through the eighth inning. They gave way to redshirt-sophomore right-hander Jonah Ulane (2) in the ninth inning, whom retired the Tigers in order and picked up two strikeouts in the process.
- Freshman starting pitcher Hunter Freese tied his career high in strikeouts with one. He also struck out a batter against USC Upstate on February 18, 2019.
- Freese earned his first-career win for his efforts against Texas Southern.
- Freese also set a new career high in innings pitched with five. His previous high also came against USC Upstate when he worked two and 2/3 innings.
- The Kansas pitching staff recorded a shutout for the first time this season. The Jayhawks last blanked an opponent on March 31, 2018 against Morehead State.
- The Jayhawks and Tigers combined to send 64 batters to the plate, of which only six players struck out.
Head coach Ritch Price
On freshman starting pitcher Hunter Freese’s strong start…
“I thought (Hunter Freese) was absolutely outstanding. That’s a big jump from a week ago in South Carolina. He had a really good first inning and was shaky the next two, and it was good to see him go out there and give us five outstanding innings.”
On the performance of his bullpen…
“Our bullpen did a really nice job today. We need to get to the point where we get four quality starts from our starters each week. That sets you up to use your bullpen properly. A week ago, we got four really good starts in South Carolina. This week, we only got two. As a result, we win three out of four.”
The Jayhawks will welcome Northern Illinois to Hoglund Ballpark on Friday, March 1 for their 2019 home opener. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and aired on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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