Kansas Offense Erupts In Win Over Benedictine, 19-7
Box Score Final Box (.pdf)
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a last-minute scheduled makeup game, the Kansas baseball team exploded for a season-high 19 runs off 16 hits, defeating Benedictine College (Kan.) Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Replacing an originally scheduled game against Creighton that got rained out (March 8), the Jayhawks (9-13) scored a run in all but two innings against the Ravens (11-20), including an eight-run sixth. Half of KU’s 16 hits on the day went for extra bases with junior left fielder Michael Tinsley leading the way with three doubles.
Tinsley boasted a perfect 4-for-4 effort at the dish and reached base safely in all six plate appearances as he drew an additional two walks. The lefty bat smoked three doubles, drove in five RBIs and scored four runs. He set new career marks in hits (4), RBIs (5) runs (4) and tied his career-best two walks. Those three doubles marked the first time since Tucker Tharp in the Big 12 Baseball Championship (May 21, 2014) that a KU player accomplished that feat.
“Our players did a really good job offensively,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We took advantage of the walks, we worked counts and got the ball elevated. Tinsley had a big day. Hopefully there will be some benefit and carryover into this weekend after playing Tuesday and Wednesday this week.”
Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin joined Tinsley with a career-best four runs scored and reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances that included three hit-by-pitches – a first for a Kansas player since Michael Suiter wore three pitches against Texas Tech (May 3, 2014).
However, with the offensive display, the purpose of the game was the development of a young pitching staff.
“We needed today to develop our younger players,” Price said. “This is the youngest pitching staff I have had with the result of three of our experienced guys going down with injury. It is all freshmen and sophomores, and we felt rather than not playing the games we lost to weather the only way those guys would get better was to play against somebody else.”
By design, the Jayhawks sent eight different pitchers to the mound to garner much needed experience in game situations. Four of the eight hurlers managed to throw up zeroes with sophomore righty Tyler Davis (1-0) picking up his first-career win after two innings of scoreless relief in the fourth and fifth frames, respectively.
Freshmen Zack Leban and Ty Stahl, and senior Hayden Edwards combined for no runs off one hit and one walk, striking out four batters in the process. Sophomore Ryan Ralston started the game and gave up one run off one hit and a walk in his only inning on the bump.
“You can see the struggles,” Price said. “You look at the board, (Benedictine) got seven runs off 16 hits – you expect Division I pitchers even when they are freshmen and sophomores to go out there and put up zeroes. We were unable to do so. We wanted to pitch eight or nine guys today – that was the plan and you saw us go inning after inning making the change. Overall, it showed those young guys how far they still have to come before they can pitch on the weekend in our conference.”
The Jayhawks have a short turnaround as they head down to Waco, Texas, April 1-3, to continue conference play at Baylor. All three games of the series can be seen on Fox Sports+ with an audio broadcast also available on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.