Late-inning heroics lifts Kansas to win over Tigers, 3-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Jayhawk baseball team scored a run in each of its last three at bats to come-from-behind and defeat Texas Southern, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Tigers (2-8) used quick pitching and their defense to keep the Jayhawks (7-2) at bay through the first five innings. Kansas plated its first run in the sixth, and then tacked on another in each the seventh and eighth, to pull out the victory.
“I thought it was a really good college baseball game,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Both starting pitchers did a really nice job. I was pleased with our offensive approach and our bullpen was as good as it gets.”
Senior lefty Taylor Turski started on the bump for KU and matched his career best for strikeouts (9) and innings pitched (7.0). He held the Tigers to a pair of runs in the fifth inning, and allowed six hits and walked just one batter.
Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cyr (1-0) came on to pitch a scoreless eighth, and junior closer Zack Leban shut the door in the ninth for his fifth save on the season.
“We needed a quality outing from Turski,” Price said. “He gave us seven great innings, and then Cyr and Leban came in and were both outstanding.”
Kansas was primed to strike first in the second inning after junior left fielder Devin Foyle led off with a double and junior David Kyriacou drew the walk. However, senior first baseman Owen Taylor lined into a triple play that took the wind out of KU’s sails until the sixth frame.
“I can’t remember the last time I saw a triple play, I have seen a few of them in my career,” Price said. “It was a huge play in the game because if we hadn’t hit the ball like that, we could have put up a crooked number.”
After that play and falling behind 2-0, the Jayhawks regrouped and used two triples to bookend their scoring in the game.
Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino railed his first-career triple in the sixth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly from sophomore designated hitter Jaxx Groshans. Then in the seventh, sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems clutched up with a RBI-single to score junior Blake Shinkle, who pinch ran for Kyriacou after he got hit by a pitch.
Redshirt-sophomore Brendt Citta then took a page out of Cosentino’s book and drove in the go-ahead run via a RBI-triple in the eighth to seal up KU’s fourth victory in a row, 3-2.
“I thought Cosentino absolutely railed those balls he hit today,” Price said. “We clutched up late and Citta had a huge hit for us to win the game.”
Kansas closes out its series against Texas Southern and its 10-game homestand on Sunday, March 4, with an 11 a.m. first pitch. 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
Defensive triple: In the bottom of the second inning, junior left fielder Devin Foyle (double) and junior third baseman David Kyriacou (walk) reached base to lead off the frame. Then faced with a full count and runners stealing, senior first baseman Owen Taylor lined into a six-three triple play. That was the first triple play turned against Kansas since May 1, 2015, when Baylor accomplished the same feat (five-four-three).
Two-out poke: Down 2-1 in the home half of the seventh, sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems poked one through the right side to knot up the game, 2-2. Sems’ RBI-single came with junior Blake Shinkle pinch running at second base for junior third baseman David Kyriacou, who led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch.
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