Kansas falls in Sunflower Showdown finale
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – K-State scored at least one run in seven innings as the Kansas baseball team lost its sweep bid of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown finale, 10-3, Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Kansas (29-23, 11-10 Big 12) starter Ryan Zeferjahn (4-4) struggled through two and 1/3 innings allowing five runs off five hits, two walks and two hit-by-pitches. His 70-pitch effort spanned 16 Wildcats before Kansas State (27-24, 6-15) knocked him out of the game in the third inning.
Righty Sean Rackoski pitched the next four and 1/3 innings, and allowed three more K-State runs off five hits and three walks. Junior Jeider Rincon and senior Jeremy Kravetz closed out the final two and 1/3 innings, with the Wildcats plating two more.
“When you get buried early in a game, it is hard to overcome it,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We hit some balls today that would have been base hits, but they didn’t fall. If you are ahead and going good, those fall. When you get behind early, they turn into outs. That’s baseball.”
The loss wrapped up the Jayhawks’ 11-game homestand where they finished with a record of 8-3 and accomplished three of their goals: finish the season above .500, beat rival Kansas State and make the Big 12 Baseball Championship. Those three goals came on the heels of a series victory against the Wildcats after KU won the first-two games of the three-game set.
Even though the loss to K-State snapped an eight-game winning streak – the longest since 2014 – the day wasn’t all lost as the team celebrated its senior class prior to first pitch. The class consisted of great teammates and even better men.
MJ Farthing, Kravetz, John Remick, Rackoski, Stephen Villines and Marcus Wheeler took part in a Senior Day ceremony that recognized their accomplishments and thanked them for their contributions the last four seasons. These six players have helped shape this program with accomplishments that included the school’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and its highest conference regular-season finish in program history at third.
“It is a great compliment to what great teammates those seniors are,” Price said. “All those guys are great teammates. It speaks volumes to the University of Kansas what kind of experience you have as a student-athlete.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Snapped: Kansas snapped its longest winning streak since 2014 when they lost the series finale against Kansas State. With help from that eight-game winning streak, the team’s record improved to 29-23, after starting 10-15 through the first 25 games – that is a 19-8 mark down the stretch since April 1.
Seniors: Prior to first pitch, the Kansas baseball team recognized its six seniors as part of its Senior Day celebration. Those six men helped shape this program with accomplishments that included the school’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and its highest conference regular-season finish in program history at third.
Kansas closes out the 2017 season with a four-game road swing starting at Creighton on Tuesday, May 16, before finishing up conference play at No. 4 Texas Tech.
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