Kansas defeats Missouri State behind Washilewski’s strong start
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Assisted by a strong start from sophomore starting pitcher Steve Washilewski, the Kansas baseball team defeated Missouri State, 9-5, on Wednesday evening at Hammons Field.
In his third and most effective start of the season, the Kansas (14-10) left-hander diced through five and 1/3 innings while striking out a career-high eight Missouri State (5-18) batters. He was only charged with one earned run, which crossed the plate after his exit.
Offensively, junior catcher Jaxx Groshans drove in six of the Jayhawks’ runs–the first time a Kansas player has done so since 2010. Groshans jolted the game to a start with a three-run home run in the first inning, scoring junior second baseman James Cosentino and senior right fielder Rudy Karre. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded, Groshans drove in three runners with a double to extend the Kansas lead to seven at the time.
Following Washilewski’s (2-0) departure, freshman left-hander Hunter Freese took over and pitched three innings. After conceding three runs, he was replaced by redshirt-sophomore right-hander Jonah Ulane, who recorded the final two outs and allowed one run.
Freese struck out a career-high six batters in his appearance, retiring nine of the 12 batters he faced.
- With the win, Kansas ended a seven game winless streak.
- The Jayhawks are now 5-4 in their last nine games against Missouri State after an eight-game winless streak spanning from 2011 to 2015.
- Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans recorded six RBIs in the game. He’s the first Jayhawk to do so since Robby Price on March 28, 2010 against Baylor.
- Sophomore starting pitcher Steve Washilewski struck out a career-high eight batters, besting his previous mark of five.
- Freshman reliever Hunter Freese doubled his previous career high of three strikeouts, punching out six over three innings of work.
- Junior second baseman James Cosentino tied a career-high with three runs scored.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Steve Washilewski’s performance:
“We got exactly what we needed. He gets into the sixth inning and allows a run and the only way we were going to get that streak stopped was to get an outstanding performance from our starting pitcher.”
On the team’s offensive output:
“We still have to get everybody clicking and everybody having good at-bats. The good thing tonight was we finally had guys put balls in play with runners in scoring position. It’s a long season, there are peaks and valleys. After 24 games on the road, I think we’re ready to go home.”
The Jayhawks will return to Lawrence for their home opener on Friday, March 29 against Baylor. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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