Kansas errors costly in loss at West Virginia
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A dropped fly ball in center field with two outs in the fifth inning sealed Kansas’ fate against West Virginia on a cold night at Monongalia County Ballpark, 10-1.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Mountaineer (18-10, 5-2 Big 12) right fielder Darius Hill hit a high fly ball above the lights into the dark sky of center field off Jayhawk starter Taylor Turski (2-3). If finding the ball in the tough sky wasn’t enough, centerfielder Rudy Karre had to battle against wind gusts up to 30 MPH – the wind won.
Karre misjudged the ball and when he finally regained a line of sight, it was too late and three West Virginia baserunners scored to put the game all but out of reach for Kansas (13-16, 3-4 Big 12).
“We had them 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth with two outs,” head coach Ritch Price said. “When Karre lost the ball in the twilight – that was a huge play in the game. It is a three-run error and you are down five runs. Up until that point to compliment both teams – that is as cold a night I have ever been associated with on a baseball field. The wind was blowing hard and both teams played good baseball until that error.”
Those three runs by the Mountaineers added to a 2-0 lead after Turski gave up a home run to the second batter he faced in the game in Ivan Gonzalez. The southpaw buckled down and struck out the next three batters he faced to get out of the first and keep the game manageable, 2-0.
Kansas had an immediate chance to erase the two-run deficit in the top of the second inning when sophomores left fielder Devin Foyle and third baseman David Kyriacou both reached base with no outs. However, WVU starter BJ Myers (3-2) got out of the jam with a Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi fly out, and back-to-back strikeouts by Brett Vosik and Tanner Gragg.
“At that point, you are trying to cut into their lead,” Price said. “You get two on with no outs, you need to score to start to try and get some momentum back. When you don’t score, that is devastating.”
The Mountaineers added to its five-run lead in the seventh after Kansas gifted them three more runs. Junior first baseman Owen Taylor fielded an in-between hit off the bag and threw it away on the banana route by relief pitcher Blake Goldsberry. That extended the inning and allowed three more runs to score, 8-0.
A WVU home run in the eighth capped off its scoring and Kansas added a run in the top of the ninth for a 10-1 final.
Freshman James Cosentino posted three of KU’s five hits including a double and scored the lone run. Foyle recorded the other two base knocks while junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin drove in the only RBI.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-run first: Turski allowed his third home run of the season and his first career bomb in Big 12 play when WVU’s second hitter of the game Gonzalez took him deep with a runner on base. Turski buckled down and struck out the next three batters, but the damage was done and KU found itself in a hole it was unable to climb out of, 2-0.
Two on, no outs: Following that two-run first for West Virginia, Foyle led off the second inning with a base hit and Kyriacou followed with a hit-by-pitch. With two runners on and no outs, the Jayhawks couldn’t convert and stranded both on base. Kansas stranded just three runners on base the entire game, with two coming in that inning.
Doubled up: Kansas hit into three double plays on the night – two times off a line drive. In the fourth inning, Foyle was doubled off first base after Kyriacou hit a hot shot right to WVU shortstop Jimmy Galusky. In the fifth inning, Gragg grounded into a four-six-three double play before Kyriacou lined into another two-out play to double up Foyle at second base in the seventh. That ties for the most double plays the Jayhawks hit into this season as they also hit into three at then-No. 3 TCU (March 17).
Outfield error: Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Turski induced a high fly ball to center field where Karre misplayed the ball with the bases loaded. Instead of stranding all three Mountaineers on base, the Jayhawks gave up another crooked number and fell behind, 5-0.
A crooked seventh: Another error on an in-between hit to the right side of the infield forced a throwing error by Kansas’ Taylor aiding to a three-run seventh for the Mountaineers.
Unearned: Of the 10 West Virginia runs that scored, only four of them were earned. WVU hit up Turski for two runs in the first inning off a home run by Gonzalez. The squad added three more in the fifth off an error by Karre and three in the seventh off an error by Taylor. Then in the eighth, Sotomayor gave up a two-run bomb that capped off the Mountaineer scoring.
Kansas and West Virginia continue its conference series matchup on Saturday, April 8 with a 3 p.m. (CT) first pitch. Fans can watch the game live and for free on Mountaineer TV, or tune into the audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
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