Kansas prevails over Tigers, 7-5
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior centerfielder Rudy Karre made an immediate impact in his first game back on the diamond, as the Kansas baseball team hung on to defeat Texas Southern, 7-5, Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Karre missed the first seven games of the season with an injury, but made his presence known in his 2018 debut. The Arizona native tied a career-high when he drew three walks and then managed to touch home two times to help the Jayhawks (6-2) pick up its third-consecutive Friday win.
Karre’s only registered at bat was a line out to right field in the second inning. His next three trips to the plate he saw a combined 16 pitches and drew a walk each time to match his personal best, which he set last season at then-No. 19 Oklahoma (April 21, 2017).
He scored KU’s second run of the game in the third inning when the Jayhawks trailed Texas Southern, 3-0. Then in the fourth, he scored the team’s sixth run, that proved to be the deciding factor in the day’s outcome.
“If (Karre) doesn’t play today, I don’t think we win that baseball game,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He brings a lot of energy to the table. He made two nice catches sliding in from center field and scored a big run on an infield hit from second base.”
With Karre’s help, a struggling Jackson Goddard (3-0) managed to battle through five and 2/3 innings to pick up his third win of the season. Goddard’s command wasn’t as sharp as he allowed four runs off four hits and five walks, and struck out five batters.
“Goddard wasn’t sharp today,” Price said. “He did find a way to grind it out and go back out there and put up three zeroes for us after he gave up three early runs. It ends up being a good win, Texas Southern played well.”
The Tigers (2-7) scored three runs in the first two innings to put Kansas in an early deficit. The Jayhawks answered back in the third frame with four runs to take the lead. Kansas added two more in the fourth and another run in the fifth, before TSU scrapped out two of its own in the last four frames.
Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans paced Kansas with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate with three RBIs and a run scored. Redshirt-sophomore Brendt Citta boasted another multi-hit performance for KU finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Three other Jayhawks added a hit, including senior Owen Taylor who smacked his first home run of the season in the fifth inning.
“The wind was blowing dead in today,” Price said. “We put some good swings on the ball, but it hung up in the air – the wind made it a tough day to hit. We took advantage when we needed to in order to score runs.”
The two teams are back on the diamond Saturday, March 3 for a 2 p.m. tilt. Fans unable to attend can watch the game on ESPN3, available at WatchESPN.com or streaming live on multiple devices via the ESPN app. In addition to a video broadcast, the contest can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Infield single: With the bases loaded in the third inning, sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans legged out an RBI-infield-single to third base to break open the scoring for Kansas. That at bat sparked a four-run rally in the frame that gave the Jayhawks their permanent lead.
Back in action: Junior centerfielder Rudy Karre made his season debut after missing the first seven games of the season. The veteran showed no signs of having missed any action as he made two diving catches in the outfield, before drawing a career-best three walks. He scored two crucial times for the Jayhawks, including the sixth and deciding run.
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