Pitching and defensive woes stun Kansas in loss to Murray State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Two Murray State home runs mixed with four errors plagued the Kansas baseball team in a 10-5 loss Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Murray State (1-1) combined two home runs from its first baseman Ramsey Scott and a total of eight hits off Jayhawk (1-1) pitching to account for its 10 runs on the day. Interestingly enough, the Racers struck out 17 times, but were awarded in a different light by eight free passes (six walks, two hit-by-pitches) and five wild pitches.
Senior lefty Taylor Turski (0-1) recorded nine of those strikeouts, but walked five and hit two batters in the process.
“This is as interesting of a box scores as I have ever seen,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Usually when you strike out 17 hitters, you are on the dominating side of a victory. Today, we struck out 17, but lost, 10-5. We played about as clean of a game as you could have hoped for Friday, and today, we played about as poor of a game as you could have. The good thing is, we have a chance to come back here on Sunday and win a series.”
It looked like Kansas was going to win the series early when it broke open the scoring in the first inning after an RBI-double by sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans. However, Ramsey answered that call in the top of the second inning with a solo shot to spark the two-run rally and steal the lead.
Murray State followed that up with a two-run fourth and a one-run top of the fifth to increase its lead to four runs, 5-1. Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino had something to say about that in the bottom of the fifth when he blasted a three-run bomb over the center field wall to pull Kansas within a run, 5-4.
“With two runners on, I was just looking for a pitch to hit,” Cosentino said. “I was sitting fastball and I got it, and put a good swing on it. It felt good to see it leave the park.”
After that home run, the Racers kept their foot on the pedal and tacked a run on in the sixth before a four-spot in the eighth put the game out of reach.
Seven different Jayhawks recorded at least one hit on the day, with senior first baseman Owen Taylor (2-for-4), junior left fielder Devin Foyle (2-for-4) and Groshans (2-for-2) boasting multi-hit performances. On the mound, Kansas used five different pitchers to cover the nine innings with redshirt-sophomore Brandon Ponticelli and freshman Conner VanCleave making their KU debut.
Kansas closes out its series against Murray State on Sunday, Feb. 18, with a 1 p.m. first pitch. Fans unable to attend can watch the game on ESPN3, available at WatchESPN.com or streaming live on multiple devices via the ESPN app. In addition to a video broadcast, the contest can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three-run bomb: Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, sophomore second baseman James Cosentino drove a deep fly ball over the center field wall with runners on first and second for his first four-bagger of the season. Cosentino led the Jayhawks with four home runs a year ago, and Kansas has now hit a home run in each of its two games to start the season.
Four: The Jayhawks made four errors that led to three unearned runs. Kansas has played at least one game in the last four seasons where it has recorded four errors, and has done it twice in the past two years.
Ramsey Scott: Murray State first baseman Ramsey Scott connected for two monster home runs to dead center field accounting for three RBIs on the day. He sparked a two-run second to take the early lead away from Kansas, before bolstering a four-run eighth to stretch the Racers’ advantage to five runs, 10-5.
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