Late OSU Home Run Stuns Jayhawks, 9-3
SURPRISE, Ariz. – Leading 2-1 in the eighth inning, senior right-hander Sam Gilbert gave up a late three-run home run in which Kansas couldn’t recover, as the Jayhawks dropped game one of a two-game set to Oregon State, 9-3, Saturday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.
Wild at the start, Gilbert walked the first batter he faced to start the eighth and advanced him to second on a throwing error after a failed pickoff attempt. Gilbert settled to get the next batter to line out before surrendering his second walk of the frame.
Then with one down and runners at first and second, Oregon State (6-1) sent Billy King to pinch hit against Gilbert trailing 2-1. Gilbert (0-1) got behind in the count and left a fastball belt high for King, who sent it over the wall in right field to put the Beavers on top, 4-2.
“It was devastating what led up to it,” Price said. “You go to the bullpen after seven great innings from Ben Krauth. Then we give up the leadoff walk, throw the pick off play away and [Gilbert] walks the next batter. Then he gets behind again and throws a fastball in a hitters count and the kid didn’t miss it.”
The swing by King was all it took to erase a great performance from Krauth. The senior lefty threw 110 pitches through seven innings, battling all the way. He struck out five batters, walked three and allowed just one run off four hits. He managed to pick off two of those three walks to help keep the Beavers off the board early.
“I try to go out there each start and fill up the strike zone,” Krauth said. “I felt like I threw the ball well and Michael Tinsley called a pretty good game behind the plate. I thought it was a positive outing on my part.”
Price couldn’t have asked more from his starting pitcher.
“That was one of the best games he has pitched since he has been at KU,” Price said. “Especially when you think of the type of opponent it was against. [Oregon State] is an experienced team that was in Omaha last year. Krauth went out there and had the lead, 2-1, in the seventh. He did a phenomenal job and was in complete control. He took a big step forward today.”
However, that step forward was overshadowed by the efforts of the Kansas (2-3) bullpen. The strength of the team until this point, the Jayhawks sent three relievers to the mound to close out the final three frames. Gilbert lasted 2/3 of an inning giving up four runs off two hits and two walks. Price then called to his closer in junior Stephen Villines.
Villines pitched the final third of that inning, giving up one run off a double and a triple. It was then the sophomore Ryan Ralston who gave up three runs in the ninth that amounted to OSU’s nine runs on the day.
“The bullpen picked us up without any doubts so far this whole season,” Krauth said. “You can’t discredit them from what they have done so far this year. We were a little unlucky today and we just need to come back out here tomorrow and fill up the zone.”
“Our bullpen had been really good,” Price said. “Unfortunately today we didn’t get it done on the back end of the game. I still have complete faith in them.”
It wasn’t just the bullpen that led to the 9-3 outcome. Kansas had its opportunity to do damage in the seventh. Second baseman Colby Wright, freshman left fielder Devin Foyle and sophomore first baseman Owen Taylor hit three-straight singles to start the inning and take the lead, 2-1. It was then up to senior right fielder Steve Goldstein to move the runners over from first and second to give the Jayhawks the chance to add to their lead.
Goldstein took ball one and then bunted the next pitch he saw right into the air in foul territory where OSU third baseman Cadyn Grenier made the easy catch. Freshman third baseman David Kyriacou struck out the next at bat and freshman designated hitter Rudy Karre hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat of a Kansas big inning.
“That was devastating because we took the lead with no outs,” Price said. “We had a chance to continue to add and we knew we needed to add in order to close out the game. Goldstein is our best bunter. He just made a really bad bunt and it took us out of the inning.”
Three Jayhawks tallied multiple hit efforts on the day. Tinsley and Wright each finished 2-for-4 with a run scored while Foyle connected for the first two hits of his career and touched home once. Taylor drove in two of KU’s three runs on the day and sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin took the only free pass allowed by the Beavers’ pitching staff.
“Our young guys were better today than they were yesterday,” Price said. “Our at bats were better today. Foyle had two knocks, Wright had two knocks and Taylor had two knocks. We started to make progress with some of the impact players in our lineup. After game five, we were better today than we were yesterday. That’s the goal. Hopefully we will be better tomorrow than we were today.”
The Jayhawks get another shot at No. 5 Oregon State, as the two squads meet again Sunday, Feb. 28, in the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge. Freshman righty Jackson Goddard (0-0) will get the nod for KU with first pitch slated for 11 a.m. (CT).
Fans can tune into Sunday’s contest on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio with Steven Davis and Mitchell Glessner calling the action.
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