Jayhawks blast past No. 19 Oklahoma

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NORMAN, Okla. – The Kansas baseball team used 11-unanswered runs and five scoreless innings from its bullpen Friday night to defeat the No. 19-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, 15-10, at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Oklahoma (27-14, 5-5 Big 12) jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the fourth after Kansas (18-19, 7-6 Big 12) committed a crucial error in each of the first three frames, and then had a meltdown on the mound. However, the right mix of relievers out of the bullpen and five multi-hit performances at the plate propelled the Jayhawks to a five-run upset of the Sooners for their first Friday night win of the season.
“It all started with those five zeroes we put up on the scoreboard,” head coach Ritch Price said. “The only way you can come from behind like that is if you put zeroes up and that is what our bullpen did. That was a tremendous team win. I can’t say enough, that is the best offensive performance of the year from our club.”
It took seven different pitchers to piece together the nine-inning game with junior lefty Chase Kaplan (1-0) recording his first-career win. Kaplan and four other Jayhawks pitched the final five innings and combined to give up just two hits and a walk while facing 17 batters.
That dominant effort by the bullpen came after junior starter Taylor Turski and sophomore reliever Blake Goldsberry allowed 10 runs in four innings. Turski pitched the first three and 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs off six hits and three walks while Goldsberry lasted just 2/3 of an inning and gave up three runs.
The duo allowed Oklahoma to score a run in the first, a run in the second and two runs in the third to take the four-run lead. Kansas battled back and scored four in the top of the fourth to tie it, but then gave it right back with a Sooner six-spot in the home half of the frame.
Trailing 10-4, the Jayhawks used a five-run fifth to cut it to a one-run game, before taking the lead in the seventh with a two-run frame, 11-10. A four-run eighth provided a cushion, and Kansas hung on for the 15-10 victory – the most runs a KU team has scored in Norman since April 20, 2003 (Won, 16-6).
Sophomore centerfielder Rudy Karre put the team on his back and was responsible for eight of the Jayhawks’ 15 runs. Karre boasted perfection at the dish with a 3-for-3 performance with two doubles, four RBIs, four runs scored and three walks. He reached base in all six plate appearances.
“We have been waiting for Karre to play like that,” Price said. “Before he hurt his shoulder his freshman year, he was playing at an All-American level. I have been waiting for him to get back to that and it was nice to see him have a huge night.”
Freshman second baseman James Cosentino (2-for-5), freshman designated hitter Jaxx Groshans (3-for-6), junior first baseman Owen Taylor (3-for-6) and junior catcher Tanner Gragg (3-for-6) joined Karre with multi-hit efforts, with Groshans tying for the team-high in RBIs with four.
“It ends up being a great win,” Price said. “You don’t expect to win 15-10 on Friday night in the Big 12, it is usually a one- or two-run game. Now we need Jackson Goddard to walk out there tomorrow – as dominant as he was last weekend – and find a way to win the series on Saturday. That was our first Friday night win of the year.”
Two errors: Oklahoma had two crucial errors – one in the fourth and one in the fifth – that led to eight Kansas runs. OU starting pitcher Jake Irvin threw a ball away in the second inning that led to three runs, while right fielder Ben Hallas let a ball through his legs that led to the five-run fifth for the Jayhawks.
Two-out RBIs: Seven of Kansas’ 15 runs were driven in with two outs with Groshans leading the way with four two-out RBIs. Sophomore left fielder Devin Foyle joined in with two two-out RBIs, while Karre added a two-out RBI-double.
Sixteen hits: The Jayhawks pounded out 16 hits against the Sooners, including three doubles. Those 16 base knocks were the most for a Kansas team in conference play since May 20, 2011, when KU matched that same hit total at Kansas State.
Sophomore righty Jackson Goddard gets the ball Saturday, April 22, for game two of the three-game conference series at No. 19 Oklahoma. First pitch against the Sooners is slated for 2 p.m., and can be seen on SoonerSports.tv. Fans can also listen in on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on KJHK 90.7 FM.  
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