Kansas bats swing past No. 20 St. John’s
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior centerfielder Rudy Karre led a trio of Jayhawks with multi-hit efforts as the Kansas baseball team knocked off No. 20 St. John’s, 7-4, Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Hitless when the day started, Karre used a bunt-single in the bottom of the third inning to spark his career-high four-hit affair. Included in the four hits, Karre scorched a triple into the right field corner in the fifth inning, and scored, marking it the first three-bagger of his career.
“I was pleased with how we swung the bats earlier in the week,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We were physical and on time with the fastball. Today, we were much of the same. That is a good win when you can put that many runs on the board when you are facing arms as good as they have.”
Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans (2-for-4) and sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems (2-for-4) were the two other Jayhawks with multiple hits on the day, while senior first baseman Owen Taylor connected for his second home run in as many games, sparking the five-run third off of the Red Storm’s ace, Sean Mooney.
Mooney (3-1) entered the day with a 0.56 ERA, allowing just one run in 16 innings. However, after back-to-back three-up and three-down innings, Kansas (9-4) found its rhythm in the third, and knocked Mooney around for five runs off five hits.
For the Jayhawks, junior righty Jackson Goddard (4-0) stumbled in a three-run St. John’s (8-2) second inning, but pitched his way through five frames for the win. He finished the day allowing four runs off four hits and three walks, while striking out four batters.
“I thought it was an outstanding college baseball game,” Price said. “They are a top program and ranked inside the top-25. Their Friday Mooney was as good as advertised. We talked about tonight being a rehearsal for a legitimate Big 12 matchup, and that is exactly what it was. It was a great team win for us.”
That team win came on the heels of a three-inning relief effort by redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cyr, who faced the minimum with four strikeouts. Junior closer Zack Leban came on in the ninth, and tossed a clean one-two-three inning for his Big 12-leading sixth save.
Kansas and St. John’s return to the diamond on Saturday, March 10, for a 2 p.m. tilt. Fans unable to attend can watch the game on ESPN3, available at WatchESPN.com or streaming live on multiple devices via the ESPN app. In addition to a video broadcast, the contest can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bunt single: Junior centerfielder Rudy Karre entered the day’s game without a hit on the season in five starts. Karre’s fist knock of the year came in the third inning, when he laid down a perfect bunt to the left side of the pitcher’s mound. Following that single, Karre erupted for a personal-best four hits, that included the first triple of his career. Those base knocks mark the second time this season a KU player recorded four hits in a game with the last being Brendt Citta against Northwestern (Feb. 25).
Extending his streak: Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans recorded two hits to extend his hitting streak to a team-high 10 games. In addition, he drove in two RBIs, and has now driven in at least one run in his last seven games. He leads the team in average (.429), hits (21), triples (2), RBIs (16), slugging (.714) and on-base percentage (.453).
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