Kansas Ninth-Inning Comeback Falls Short at Texas, 8-6
AUSTIN, Texas – After being held to just two runs through eight innings, the Kansas baseball team managed to get the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning as the Jayhawks fell to Texas in the night cap of a doubleheader, 8-6, Friday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
KU (14-19, 3-7 Big 12) loaded the bases in the final frame with no outs for senior third baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk. The lefty bat split the gap in left field for the two-run double. Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin grounded one to the right side to score another run and junior catcher Michael Tinsley smoked a RBI-single up the middle for his third hit of the game and pull the Jayhawks within two runs of the Longhorns.
“I was proud of them,” head coach Ritch Price said of his players toughness in the ninth inning. “We had some good at bats. Things got interesting in the ninth inning and we showed some fight.”
That hit by Tinsley kept the game alive with one out and brought senior second baseman Colby Wright to the plate representing the tying run. Wright worked a full count and on the eighth pitch of the at bat rolled one over to the third baseman to start the routine five-four-three double play and end all chances of a Kansas comeback.
Take away the four-spot in the final frame and Texas (15-20, 6-5 Big 12) held the Jayhawks to two runs off seven hits through eight innings. Righty Kyle Johnston boasted a no-hitter through three before Tinsley broke it open with a double to center field. Johnston (2-1) regrouped and finished out his five and 2/3 innings of work with five zeroes on the scoreboard.
Opposite of Johnston, Kansas starter lefty Blake Weiman (1-4) struggled from the onset after a four-run first inning took him out of the game. He lasted just three innings and was responsible for six of the Longhorns’ eight runs.
“His pitches were real flat tonight,” Price said. “He battled out there for us but his command of his off-speed pitches wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”
With Weiman only able to throw three innings, that meant a short-handed KU bullpen had a daunting task ahead of it with six innings left to play. Price called to sophomore righty Tyler Davis to start the fourth. Davis gave up a home run to the first batter he faced then buckled down and threw three shutout innings until the eighth when he gave up another run.
With Davis able to pitch a career-high five innings and get Kansas through game two of the doubleheader using just four total pitchers – two that are starters – that is a win in itself.
“We needed somebody to pick us up when Weiman didn’t get through to the fourth inning,” Price said. “Davis came out and gave us five innings which helped protect our bullpen because it is so shorthanded right now. It was needed. He did a good job of mixing his pitches and keeping the ball in the park.”
Davis kept the game in check and the Jayhawks had a chance at the end with the tying run at the dish, but Wright’s double-play ball ended all chances of a comeback, 8-6.
Tinsley finished the game 3-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. Freshman left fielder Devin Foyle picked up right where he left off in the first game with two RBIs while senior third baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk extended his hitting streak to nine games and added another two RBIs to his total.
“Foyle is really coming through right now,” Price said. “He is more physical with the fastball. And how about Tinsley. This might be one of the best weeks he has had since he has been at Kansas.”
That week continues Saturday as the Jayhawks and Longhorns conclude the series with and afternoon bout at 4:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the Longhorn Network and ESPN3 where available. Fans can also listen in on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio and on the dial at KWOD 1660 AM.
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