Jayhawks’ late rally falls short at No. 3 TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas – No. 3 TCU starter Jared Janczak retired the first 22 batters he faced as the Kansas baseball team dropped game two of the conference-opening series, 5-1, Saturday evening at Lupton Stadium.
Kansas (8-10, 0-2 Big 12) didn’t register a single baserunner until the eighth inning of the contest on a TCU (15-4, 2-0 Big 12) fielding error in the top half of the frame. Until that time, Janczak (5-0) boasted perfection en route to striking out 14 Jayhawk hitters.
“Janczak was special tonight, there is no doubt about it,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I think the last time I saw a performance like that was my first year at Kansas when we faced a really good Baylor rotation.”
Not quite as special as TCU’s ace, KU left-handed starter Taylor Turski (1-2) matched Janczak inning for inning until the bottom half of the seventh when he exited the game after a 103-pitch effort. Turski struck out a career-high nine batters in six and 1/3 innings and gave up three runs off four hits in the loss.
“It was about as good of a pitching performance that you are going to see from both sides in the Big 12 Conference for the first six innings,” Price said. “My guy Turski pitched about as well as we could have dreamed he would pitch. To hold TCU to one hit into the seventh inning, that is all we could have asked for.”
However, the southpaw ran into trouble in the bottom half of the seventh when gave up a leadoff single and walked the next batter to put runners on first and second with no outs. A fielder’s choice and a single later, KU found itself down, 1-0.
Price called to reliever Stephen Villines, who recorded the final two outs of the frame, but not before giving up three hits and two runs of his own to round out the Horned Frog scoring on the day, 5-0.
“I addressed it with our team after the game,” Price said. “We get in this environment and for the first time, I felt our guys played scared two nights in a row, especially at the plate.”
Price may have felt his club was scared, but they didn’t play like it in the top of the ninth facing their final at bats.
Freshman Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi started the late rally with a pinch-hit single to lead off the frame. Junior Owen Taylor followed suit and knocked Janczak out of the game after eight-plus innings pitched. Then junior Matt McLaughlin smoked a single of his own to load the bases with no outs against TCU reliever Trey Morris.
Freshman Brett Vosik grounded into the fielder’s choice and drove in the lone run for Kansas, 5-1.
“We finally had some guys go up there and attack the fastball,” Price said. “Our starting pitching has been good enough to win, we have just been getting dominated at the plate. My guys need to show some toughness and come back tomorrow ready to play. We are going to need a really good starting pitching performance from Jackson Goddard – we are good enough to win.”
The Jayhawks and the Horned Frogs conclude the series Sunday, March 19, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on Fox Sports Southwest+ or tune into the audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” mobile app.
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