Kansas prevails at No. 3 TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas – Backed by a one-hit performance from Jackson Goddard and clutch hitting by Owen Taylor, the Kansas baseball team ground out a 4-3 win at No. 3 TCU Sunday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.
Goddard dominated the Horned Frogs’ (14-5, 2-1 Big 12) lineup through seven innings and took a no-hit bid with him into the eighth. TCU tagged him for their first hit after he recorded the first out of the eighth frame. He exited the game to a standing ovation from the crowd after the 119-pitch affair where he gave up three runs off one hit and six walks.
“Goddard was really special today,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That was as good as he could have pitched. It was an absolute great victory for the Jayhawks who grinded the entire game.”
Kansas (9-10, 1-2 Big 12) handed the ball over to its closer Stephen Villines with the bases loaded and a 3-0 lead in the eighth. Villines gave up back-to-back singles and TCU tied the game up, 3-3, and left runners at first and second when the side-arm hurler struck out Josh Watson to get out of the frame.
With the score tied and facing their final at bats, the Jayhawks needed something special in the top of the ninth to come away with the victory. That task fell to Taylor. The switch-hitting first baseman smoked the first pitch he saw over the right field wall to put Kansas back on top, 4-3, and send a resurgence of energy through the dugout and back into the arm of Villines.
“You think about maybe going to a different pitcher in the ninth,” Price said. “But Villines is one of the best closers in our league. That was a huge strikeout there to end it and a great way for us to salvage the weekend against one of the best teams in the country.”
Villines trotted back out for the ninth and a fielding blunder by Peyton Grassanovits in left handed TCU one last glimmer of hope with a runner on second and nobody out. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, but Villines was able to record the next two outs to preserve the win, 4-3.
Sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou led Kansas with a 2-for-4 effort at the dish with two RBIs, while sophomore outfielder Devin Foyle scored twice.
Kansas opens up a nine-game homestand when the Jayhawks play host to Creighton on Wednesday, March 22 at 3 p.m.
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