Kansas bullpen falters in loss to USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Kansas baseball team lost the night cap of a doubleheader Saturday night at USC Upstate, 6-4, after its bullpen was unable to hang on to a one-run lead late in the game at Cleveland Harley Baseball Park.
Redshirt-freshman southpaw Eli Davis gave the Jayhawks (1-2) six strong innings where he struck out a career-best nine hitters in an 89-pitch effort.
The Spartans (2-1) tagged Davis for two runs in the first inning, but the rookie settled in to allow just one run across the next five frames. He exited after the sixth with Kansas leading 4-3.
Freshman righty Kahi Bisho (0-1) started the seventh and failed to record an out after facing four batters. Senior-transfer Zack Engelken came on to get two outs in the frame, before sophomore Steve Washilewski struck out the final four USC Upstate hitters to close out the game.
Juniors shortstop Benjamin Sems and left fielder Brett Vosik paced Kansas at the plate with two-hit efforts, with Sems driving in one of the Jayhawks’ four runs. Freshman right fielder Casey Burnham added a base-knock of his own, driving in an RBI before also scoring himself.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Redshirt-freshman lefty Eli Davis made his first-career start for the Jayhawks and recorded nine strikeouts.
- Freshman reliever Kahi Bisho made his collegiate debut in the seventh inning.
- Sophomore lefty Steve Washilewski retired all four batters he faced out of the bullpen via the strikeout.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Eli Davis:
“Eli Davis was really good tonight. I couldn’t have been more pleased. That is by far the best he has been since he has been at our place. He showed the ability to throw four pitches for strikes and stay down in the zone. For him to go six innings in his debut was the encouraging thing of the day.”
On the offense:
“I was more pleased today offensively than I was yesterday. The guys that had some really bad at bats yesterday had some really quality at bats today. When the wind is blowing in like that, it completely changes the game.”
On the bullpen:
“It was a tough situation for a freshman (Kahi Bisho) to come into. He makes his college debut in the bottom of the seventh with the lead and unfortunately he loads the bases with no outs. That is what happens when you play a doubleheader. You end up pitching guys late in the game with the lead that normally wouldn’t be in those roles. Those guys learned a valuable lesson today and hopefully it makes them better.”
Kansas and USC Upstate will wrap up the four-game series on Sunday, Feb. 17 with a 12 p.m. (CT) first pitch.
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