Missed opportunities doom Jayhawks against Houston Baptist
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Wasted chances on three prime Kansas scoring opportunities aided Houston Baptist to a 4-2 win Friday in the night cap of a doubleheader played at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (6-8) connected just three times in 13 at bats with runners in scoring position, including a 1-for-3 effort with a runner at third and less than two outs. In addition, the Huskies’ (8-5) pitching staff forced KU to strand 10 base runners, with at least on coming in each of the final six frames, including bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
“I will pay both teams a really good compliment,” head coach Ritch Price said. “The energy in both dugouts was amazing with it being as cold as it was. I thought both teams competed hard with how long of a day and how cold it was. We had enough chances and it ends up being a really tough loss.”
The tough loss happened after Kansas altered its schedule to play a double header Friday with inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday. The cold conditions didn’t deter the Jayhawks from a game one victory, 2-1, and it looked like they were going to make a run late in the bottom of the ninth inning in game No. 2.
Down two runs and facing their last at bats, the Jayhawks loaded the bases and had one of its best hitters at the plate in sophomore left fielder Devin Foyle. The switch hitter jumped on the first fastball he saw and drilled it straight away to center field where HBU’s Zane Otten needed only to take a few step backs to make the grab and set the tables for a game three rubber match.
Senior pinch hitter Marcus Wheeler started the hopeful rally with a two-out double. Senior shortstop Matt McLaughlin followed with a walk, before sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou forced a Houston Baptist error to load the bases. The table was set for Foyle, but he just missed and the Huskies hung on for the win, 4-2.
McLaughlin finished the game batting 1-for-3 with two walks, while Kyriacou and freshman right fielder Brett Vosik each tallied a team-high two hits.
Redshirt-junior Sean Rackoski (2-2) gave Kansas five good innings on the bump where he allowed three runs, two of them earned. Of the 21 batters he faced, he allowed six to reach by way of a base hit, but did not surrender a walk. It took four relievers to record the final 12 outs with sophomore Zack Leban and junior Chase Kaplan doing most of the heavy lifting.
“Our bullpen kept us in the game,” Price said. “We had plenty of chances to put runs on the board, but we had too many bad at bats with runners on and it hurt.”
Saturday’s originally scheduled 2 p.m. contest against the Huskies has been canceled, and the series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The series finale can be seen on ESPN3 or heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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