Jayhawks top Omaha in Monday tilt
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Righty Blake Goldsberry’s career day on the mound and left fielder Devin Foyle’s hot bat at the plate chalked up Kansas baseball’s fourth win in five games Monday afternoon following a 6-2 victory over Omaha at Hoglund Ballpark.
Goldsberry (1-0) pitched a personal-best six and 2/3 innings of one-hit baseball, striking out five batters in the process. He took over for starter redshirt-sophomore Brandon Ponticelli, who gave up two runs off one hit and four walks over two and 1/3 innings.
“The relief effort from Goldsberry was absolutely dominant,” Price said. “It was nice to see him go out there and give us six zeroes and protect our bullpen coming off a three-game series. I was really pleased with that.”
The last time someone pitched five or more scoreless innings of relief prior to Goldsberry’s effort came in 2016 when Stephen Villines tossed six innings against Texas Tech on May 8. The junior’s outing Monday helped a rookie in Ponticelli get accustomed to Division I baseball.
“Ponticelli wasn’t quite as sharp as we would have hoped,” Price said. “He got his feet wet against Division I competition, and hopefully it will be a step forward for him.”
Price was able to keep Ponticelli in with struggling command mainly because Foyle and his offense gave him confidence.
Right out of the gates, Foyle picked up where he left off this weekend and smoked a two-run double to left field to put Kansas on the board in the bottom of the first inning. That double marked the fifth such hit in the last three games for the switch hitter, who leads the team with a .577 batting average and a seven-game hitting streak.
“I’m really seeing the ball well,” Foyle said. “My approach hasn’t changed much, I am just trying to relax up there and have good at bats. My swing feels good and I have a lot of confidence up there.”
That confidence Foyle boasts rubbed off on his teammates as sophomore designated hitter Jaxx Groshans followed suit with a two-RBI day, but in a different manner. The right-handed hitter used the opposite field and drilled a triple into the right field corner in the sixth inning. That two-out swing came after Omaha hit back-to-back batters and gave Kansas breathing room heading into the final three frames.
“Foyle was special again today,” Price said. “Then Groshans gets the triple and is swinging the bat well. With those two guys going the way they are, and once we get some other guys going, we are going to be pretty tough offensively.”
The Mavericks scored their only two runs of the game in the third inning off a two-run single. After that, it was all Goldsberry, who slammed the door shut on their offense.
Kansas is back in action Friday, March 2, as it opens a three-game series against Texas Southern. Fans unable to attend can watch all three games of that series on ESPN3, available at WatchESPN.com or streaming live on multiple devices via the ESPN app. In addition, the games can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Six and 2/3 scoreless: Prior to Monday’s outing, junior righty Blake Goldsberry’s highest inning count in a single outing was four and 2/3. His effort against Omaha set new career highs in strikeouts (5) and innings pitched (6.2). In addition, that was just the fourth time in his career that he has thrown more than four innings in an outing.
Nothing ‘Foyle’d Here: Junior left fielder Devin Foyle leads the Jayhawks with a .577 batting average through the first seven games of the season. Impressively enough, over the last four games, Foyle has only recorded five outs in 17 trips to the plate. Over that span, he is batting .667 (10-for-15) with five doubles, one home run, six runs scored and nine RBIs. He leads the Big 12 in average and doubles, and ranks second in hits.
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