Krauth Deals in Kansas Loss to WVU, 1-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a career-best 12 strikeouts – and just three hits allowed – by senior lefty Ben Krauth, the Kansas baseball team couldn’t muster a run and fell to West Virginia, 1-0, Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
In Kansas’ first Big 12 Conference contest of 2016, Krauth tossed eight innings and fanned the most opposing hitters since KU’s Frank Duncan recorded 14 strikeouts against Mississippi Valley State in 2014.
All but two of Krauth’s strikeouts were swinging and the Concord, California native’s performance against the Mountaineers completed a streak of three-straight starts with nine or more strikeouts. In his last three outings, Krauth has thrown 25 innings, given up just three runs and struck out 30 batters.
“As the season has gone on, Krauth’s fastball command has gotten better,” head coach Ritch Price said. “When he can command his fastball, his changeup becomes deadly. It then makes his fastball seem faster. He is in a really good groove right now.”
Krauth attributes his success his last three starts to paying attention to the small things.
“I just try to slow the game down and stay in the moment,” Krauth said. “You have to take it easy, one pitch at a time. If you do that, more often than not things will end up in your favor.”
The Jayhawks (7-12, 0-1 Big 12) out-hit West Virginia, 7-4, and recorded two hits each from senior second baseman Colby Wright (2-for-3) and senior right fielder Joe Moroney (2-for-4), but stranded 10 runners to the Mountaineers (11-8, 1-3 Big 12). West Virginia starter Chad Donato tossed seven innings, walking only one batter, while giving up five hits.
“You are not going to get 14 or 15 hits on Friday night in our conference, the caliber of pitching is way too good,” Price said. “Donato has been a quality guy for them for three-straight years. He was really good again tonight. He beat us with one pitch. That was the most disappointing thing for me tonight was we were not able to be on time and take his fastball away and make him mix his pitches.”
West Virginia’s lone run came with two outs in the second inning when shortstop Jimmy Galusky singled to left field and drove in the game’s only run. Kansas looked poised to respond in the third inning when Moroney singled up the middle, freshman leadoff hitter Rudy Karre walked and sophomore infielder Matt McLaughlin was hit by a pitch, but with two outs the Jayhawks faltered and left all three runners on base.
Kansas had its final opportunity to tie or walk off with a victory in the ninth inning after sophomore catcher TJ Martin singled to right field and Moroney followed suit by connecting on his second single of the game, moving pinch runner Ty Denzer into scoring position.
The Jayhawks were unable to take advantage of the late-game spark and a fly-out to centerfield ended the contest, 1-0, in favor of the Mountaineers.
Kansas will return to the diamond Saturday, March 26 for game-two of its conference-opening series against West Virginia. First pitch from Hoglund Ballpark is scheduled for 2 p.m. Fans can watch live on ESPN3 or tune into the action on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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