Krauth, Jayhawks Blank North Dakota, 7-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior left-handed ace Ben Krauth pitched a complete-game shutout as the Kansas baseball team blanked North Dakota, 7-0, Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Krauth (1-2) hit and then picked off the first batter of the game and after that, it was all domination. The southpaw cruised through nine innings in 112 pitches, tying a career-high nine strikeouts. He gave up four base hits, including two infield-singles, and walked one batter.
“I just tried to get after it out there,” Krauth said. “It was a team effort. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The defense picked me up. The offense played great and everything else just figured itself out.”
With his efforts on the mound, Krauth became the first pitcher in the Big 12 Conference this season to toss a complete-game shutout. In fact, no one else in the league has even tossed a complete game. If that’s not enough, he is also the first Jayhawk to accomplish that feat since Jordan Piche’ threw a one-hit shutout at Baylor in 2014 (April 25).
“He is one of the best guys in our league,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Not only is he one of the best pitchers in our league, but he prepares properly every day. There are a lot of young guys in our dugout and they ought to be sitting and observing everything he does because he is really professional.”
Krauth’s performance on the mound helped snap a three-game winless streak and propelled Kansas (4-7) to score seven runs behind its ace. The Jayhawks scrounged for 11 base knocks with freshman left fielder Devin Foyle (2-for-4), sophomore designated hitter TJ Martin (2-for-2) and senior outfielder Joe Moroney (3-for-4) boasting multiple hit performances. Martin and sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin did most of the damage with their bats, driving in two runs each.
“Martin needed that,” Price said. “He has good bat speed and the ball jumps off his barrel. I have been waiting to be able to put him in the role of being the right-handed designated hitter against left-handed pitching. He made the most of his opportunity today.”
Martin ignited the KU offense early with a RBI-single in the second inning to drive in the first run of the game. He followed that up with a solo home run on his next trip to the plate, giving Kansas the 3-0 lead in the fourth. The Jayhawks added a little more insurance with a four-run sixth and left in the hands of their ace to close out the game.
Krauth dug in and dealt. Five of his last nine outs came by way of a strikeout as he finished the day with nine to tie his career high. The only other time Krauth pitched nine innings in a game at KU came on April 17, 2015, when he held Texas to two runs before KU lost in 14 innings. He also recorded nine strikeouts in that outing.
“It was our most complete performance of the year,” Price said. “We had better at bats today, we worked the counts and were productive with two strikes. We are making progress offensively and it goes back to one thing, starting pitching. If you are going to win, you have to get a quality start from each guy you hand the ball to in our great conference. Krauth is one of those guys.”
Kansas continues play in the Millard Management Classic Saturday at 3 p.m., when the Jayhawks take the field against Saint Louis. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3. Fans can also tune into the Jayhawk Radio Network for a live audio broadcast via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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