Late No. 4 Red Raider rally stuns Jayhawks

Stats Box Score (.pdf)

LUBBOCK, Texas – A four-run sixth inning by No. 4 Texas Tech was too much to overcome, as the Kansas baseball team fell in the series opener, 10-6, Thursday night at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders’ (40-13, 14-8 Big 12) Tanner Gardner drove in four of their runs off a pair of home runs and a double, including a two-run bomb in that four-run sixth inning. Kansas sophomore reliever Zack Leban (3-3) gave up one of those home runs, as part of an outing that spanned six batters.
“They beat our pitching up tonight,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I will tip my cap to them, that is the best offensive team we faced all year. Their hitters were better than our pitching.”
Leban recorded the final out in the fifth inning, before giving up four runs off four hits and a walk in the sixth, without recording an out. Those four runs erased a 6-4 Kansas (29-24, 11-11 Big 12) lead after the Jayhawks rallied for a three-spot in the top of the frame.
Sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou led off the six-inning rally for KU with a double on the first pitch he saw from TTU reliever Caleb Killian (5-0). Junior catcher Tanner Gragg and freshman second baseman James Cosentino followed with RBI-singles before junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin drove a deep fly ball to left center for the sacrifice fly.
That three-spot in the top of the sixth for Kansas came after Texas Tech took the 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. KU sophomore starter Jackson Goddard surrendered a four-pitch walk before a single and Gardner’s double followed to tie it up, 3-3. Then TTU third baseman Josh Jung hit the sacrifice fly to regain the Red Raiders the lead.
The Jayhawks totaled 10 hits on the night with seven of those coming off the Big 12’s ERA and wins leader in TTU’s starting ace Steven Gingery. Those seven knocks were the most Gingery has given up all season while the three runs Kansas scored were just the third time all year he has given up three or more in a game.
“That is as good as we could have swung the bats against Gingery,” Price said. “That is all I could have hoped for tonight – we had two big innings.”
Kyriacou (2-for-4) and Gragg (3-for-4) each posted multi-hit efforts while five other Jayhawks contributed in the hit column. Kyriacou finished the day with two doubles and two runs scored while Gragg connected for two singles, a double, and a career-best three RBIs.
Tanner Gardner: Texas Tech designated hitter Tanner Gardner entered tonight’s game with no home runs on the season. Through the course of the game, Gardner hit up the Jayhawks for two four-baggers – an opposite field bomb in the first inning and a two-run blast as part of a four-run sixth. Add in a double, and he drove in four of the Red Raiders’ 1- runs.
Run saver: With two on, two outs and TTU RBI-leader shortstop Orlando Garcia up, freshman right fielder Brett Vosik made a huge diving snag to get KU out of the first inning. Garcia roped a hard, line drive to right field and with a good break, Vosik laid out and made the snag, saving two runs from scoring. Instead of a three-run first inning for the Red Raiders, the Jayhawks held them to lone run.
Rough one: Sophomore reliever Zack Leban came on in relief to record the final out of the fifth inning, but got knocked around in the sixth. He faced six batters, and allowed four runs off four hits and a walk – all in the sixth inning. Prior to that outing, Leban had only given up two runs in his last nine outings.
Game two of the series at No. 4 Texas Tech is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on Friday, May 19. Fans can watch the game live on Fox Sports Southwest plus or tune into the audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app. The game will also be on the airwaves on KLWN 1320 AM/101.7 FM.
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