Late Kansas Rally Falls Short at No. 12 Oklahoma State, 4-3
STILLWATER, Okla. – The Kansas baseball team rallied to score two runs in the top of the eighth inning, but an outfield assist by No. 12 Oklahoma State halted the comeback, 4-3, Friday afternoon at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The first three Jayhawks (20-33-1, 6-15 Big 12) reached base in the inning to bring up junior catcher Michael Tinsley. Hitless in his previous two at bats off Cowboy hurler Thomas Hatch (6-2), Tinsley scorched the 1-1 fastball he saw down the left field line to drive in two runs.
However, freshman left fielder Devin Foyle, representing the tying run, made the crucial first out at third base when he tried to advance from first on the same play. OSU (33-18, 14-8 Big 12) left fielder Jon Littell scooped up the Tinsley base knock and rifled the ball to third to throw Foyle out by a hangnail.
“I actually thought Foyle had a chance to be safe,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I was actually surprised (Littell) was able to throw him out with how far the ball was down the left field line. If he is in there safely, we have guys at first and third with nobody out and Colby Wright coming to the dish. It ended up being the biggest play of the inning.”
Hatch and OSU reliever Tyler Buffett (9) held the Jayhawks to three runs off seven hits and one walk while striking out nine. Senior right fielder Joe Moroney had that lone walk for KU to go along with his perfect 3-for-3 effort with three infield singles. Tinsley finished the day 1-for-4 with two RBIs while Wright tallied a RBI-single.
Thanks to that RBI-single by Wright in the first inning, Kansas was able to give its starter redshirt-sophomore Tyler Davis (1-1) some breathing room as he made just his second-career start. Davis gave it everything he had to hold the Cowboys to four runs over four innings before handing the ball off to junior lefty Jeremy Kravtez to finish the game.
Kravetz faced 14 batters in four innings of relief and gave up just one base hit. He struck out four batters while issuing two walks in the longest appearance of his career. His scoreless relief gave the Jayhawks a chance at the late comeback.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Davis and Kravetz,” Price said. “For Davis to hold them to four runs and turn it over to Kravetz and have him off-speed them to death, it gave us a chance late. We were down 4-1 and cut it to 4-3 and had opportunities. If Kravetz doesn’t put up any zeroes, we have no opportunity to come from behind.”
Those scoreless innings helped keep the score manageable for KU to make a run at the come-from-behind victory in the eighth inning. Moroney led off the inning with a walk before sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin and Foyle posted back-to-back singles to bring up Tinsley with no outs.
Tinsley smoked the two-run single, but when Foyle got thrown out at third, it gave OSU a chance to get out of trouble, and it did. Buffett came in and shut the door retiring all five batters he faced to pick up his ninth save of the season.
“We had the right guys up at that point in time to have a chance to continue the scoring,” Price said. “Hatch dominated the backend of our lineup like all good pitchers do. The guys that needed to produce for us did and then we had opportunities and to their credit, good pitchers get out of trouble when they get into trouble.”
The Jayhawks and Cowboys play again Friday, May 20, at 6 p.m., in the night cap of a doubleheader. Fans can watch the game live on Fox College Sports, or tune into the audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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