Jayhawks drop midweek tilt to Creighton
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ hot start halted after the first inning as the Jayhawks fell to Creighton, 7-3, Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark in midweek action.
KU (9-11) scored its first run after two pitches in the game when junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin and freshman right fielder Brett Vosik smoked back-to-back first-pitch doubles. Kansas tacked on another run by way of an RBI-single by freshman catcher Jaxx Groshans to take an early 2-0 advantage.
However, that early rally ended after a Devin Foyle strikeout with runners at first and second and an inning-ending double play kept the scoring tight, 2-0.
“One of the biggest plays of the game is that we hit back-to-back doubles and Rudy Karre wears one with no outs,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We have runners at first and second and we can’t execute the sacrifice bunt. If we get that down, we score another run in the inning. Those are the little things we have to do. Inability to get the bunt down cost us a run because the double play ball wouldn’t have happened.”
That double play ball helped Creighton (5-11) keep the damage to a minimum and put the pressure back on Kansas starter Ryan Zeferjahn (3-2), who cruised through the first frame, but found himself in trouble in the latter part of his outing.
The Bluejays tagged Zeferjahn for four hits in the fourth inning and stole the game’s momentum with a three-spot in the frame. They tacked on another run in the fifth ending the rookie’s day at five innings pitched, eight hits, four runs, one walk and six strikeouts.
“If you are behind in the count and throwing fastballs in power counts, you are going to get hit,” Price said. “We had a chance to make two plus-plays to get out of the fourth inning – if we make either one of those plays, we get out of the inning unscathed. Creighton came up with a couple clutch hits after that.”
Eight of the Bluejays’ hits came in the first five innings off Zeferjahn, but Creighton managed just two base knocks the remainder of the game.
“He is still learning and still developing, it is part of being a freshman,” Price said. “As soon as he figures out that delivery on a consistent basis, he will take another huge step forward.”
The Kansas bullpen held Creighton to just those two hits, but they were clutch as the Bluejays scored three more runs the final four innings to steal the win, 7-3.
“Creighton played better than we did today,” Price said. “They beat our pitching up. They executed better than we did today. They mixed and matched it on the mound and threw enough strikes to pick up a win.”
Six different Jayhawks each recorded one hit with McLaughlin, Vosik and junior designated hitter Luke Bakula smoking doubles. The trio each added a run scored to round out KU’s three-run total on the day.
Kansas continues its nine-game homestand as the Jayhawks play host to Samford in a three-game set, March 24-26, at Hoglund Ballpark. All three games can be seen on ESPN3 or heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
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