No. 19 Gophers Top Jayhawks in 19-7 Slugfest
Box Score Final Box (.pdf)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Windy conditions produced a combined seven home runs at Siebert Field Tuesday night with the Kansas baseball team belting a season-high three in a 19-7 loss to No. 19 Minnesota.
Four of the first seven hits in the game were home runs with each team hitting two. Three different Jayhawks (19-24-1) blasted four-baggers but it was the four bombs by the Gophers (28-13) – including two in each a five-run first and three-run sixth – that put the game out of reach.
“It was an interesting game,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That wind was blowing out as hard today as I have ever seen it at a baseball game since I have been coaching. In the third inning when there were already five home runs, I thought we were going to see a lot more.”
Sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin started the home run trend in the top of the first inning with his third career shot off the foul pole in left field. Senior second baseman Colby Wright kept it going with a solo shot in the second while junior designated hitter Michael Tinsley smoked his three-run bomb over the scoreboard in right field to round out three-straight innings of Jayhawk home runs.
That three-run dinger by Tinsley tied the game up, 5-5, after Minnesota sprung for a five-spot in the first inning off junior lefty Jeremy Kravetz (1-1) making his first-career start on the mound. Kravetz held the Gophers scoreless in the second to allow Kansas to tie it in the top of the third, but found trouble in the home half when he exited the game with two on after giving up a run with two outs.
The KU bullpen sent four different pitchers to the mound after Kravetz to try and keep the Gopher bats at bay. Sophomore Casey Douglas and freshman Blake Goldsberry combined to throw the next three and 1/3 innings before senior Hayden Edwards and junior Ty Stahl closed out the game.
“We were really short-handed on the mound today,” Price said. “We had to pitch the backend of our bullpen today and hope our offense could keep us in the ballgame. The way the wind was playing today, we knew it was going to be a high scoring game. Their bullpen shut us down and our bullpen couldn’t do it.”
The Gophers kept rolling in the fourth and sixth innings scoring a combined five runs off six hits including two home runs to push their lead, 12-5. Kansas rallied in the seventh to cut it to a five-run deficit after Wright smoked a two-run single with bases loaded and one out.
However, that five-run deficit would be the closest Kansas would come the rest of the game as Minnesota scored seven runs across the seventh and eighth innings and called to lefty Lucas Gilbreath out of the pen to shut down the KU offense. Gilbreath pitched the final three innings without allowing a run all while striking out seven of the 12 batters he faced for the save.
“(Minnesota reliever Ty) McDevitt (3-0) did a really nice job and put up three zeroes,” Price said. “He kept us off balance and then (Lucas) Gilbreath shut us down. He hasn’t allowed a run all year. At one point, he struck out seven straight.”
Tinsley and Wright led Kansas with three RBIs apiece while McLaughlin finished his day 2-for-3 with three runs scored and one RBI. Minnesota pounded out 19 runs off 23 hits, both season highs off Jayhawk pitching.
The two teams close out the two-game midweek series Wednesday, May 4, with a 1:30 p.m. tilt at Siebert Field. Fans can watch the game live on the Big Ten Network plus or tune into an audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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