Late-inning miscue dooms Kansas in extra innings at Cincinnati
CINCINNATI, Ohio – A misplayed fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning erased a one-run Kansas baseball lead it never regained, as the Jayhawks came up short in 13 innings, 7-6, Saturday night at Marge Schott Stadium.
Kansas (19-23) took its first lead in the top of the eighth inning after sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans ripped a solo home run to left field and redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta smoked a RBI-double for a two-spot in the frame.
However, with one out in the home half of that inning, Cincinnati (21-19) knotted the game up after KU center fielder Rudy Karre lost a routine fly ball in the lights. That led to a Bearcat double that eventually scored to tie the game up, 6-6, and send it into extra innings.
“That ends up being the biggest play of the game, especially after we take the lead in the top half,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We had a chance, and obviously it was a good pitch and a routine out. Karre just lost it in the twilight.”
That play forced Jayhawk reliever Ryan Cyr to get four outs to get out of the inning and preserve the tie game. Cyr pitched three and 2/3 innings in relief of starter junior Jackson Goddard and struck out six of the 17 batters he faced, allowing two runs.
Junior closer Zack Leban (2-2) relieved Cyr with five innings of work and earned the loss after the Bearcats walked it off in the bottom of the 13th.
“Cyr was fabulous out of the bullpen,” Price said. “I can’t say enough about Leban. We left it all out on the field today.”
The Jayhawks did all they could offensively with a 13-hit performance. Four different players boasted multi-hit efforts with Groshans and Citta leading the way with three-hit affairs.
“I just want to complement our guys for how hard they continue to play and compete,” Price said. “We have continued to play really well and have lost a lot of close games against really good teams.”
Kansas and Cincinnati close out the series on Sunday, April 29, with an 11 a.m. (CT) first pitch.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lost in the twilight: After taking a one-run lead, junior center fielder Rudy Karre lost a one-out fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning in the twilight that led to a Bearcat double. That runner came around to score and tie the game, and eventually extend the game into extra innings.
Execution: The Jayhawks executed almost perfectly on offense. As a team, KU batted 1.000 (4-for-4) with runners on third and less than two outs and posted a 12-for-22 (.545) effort in advancement opportunities. On the flip side, Kansas batted just .143 (1-for-7) with runners in scoring position and only got the lead off man aboard in five of the 13 innings they came to bat.
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