Price’s 500th win sweeps Northern Illinois series
MELISSA, Texas – Thanks to a stellar performance from its pitching corps, the Kansas baseball team earned its first series sweep of 2019 and the 500th KU victory for head coach Ritch Price with a 3-1 decision over Northern Illinois Saturday afternoon at the Melissa Sports Complex.
The Jayhawks (8-3) relied on seven strong innings from their left-handed starter, redshirt-freshman Eli Davis (1-1), to complete the sweep. Davis allowed just one unearned run and scattered six hits in the contest while striking out four batters.
Price then used the rookie combo of lefty Hunter Freese and righty Stone Parker to get through the eighth, before calling to his closer redshirt-sophomore Jonah Ulane (4) to shut the door.
The relievers combined to throw two shutout innings and strike out three batters, allowing just one base runner.
The performances on the mound breathed life into the offense on a cold, misty day to erase an early one-run deficit.
Freshman right fielder Casey Burnham started the rally in the third with a leadoff single and scored on a RBI-single by junior second baseman James Cosentino.
Sophomore designated hitter Nolan Metcalf led off the fifth with his first-career home run, which proved to be insurmountable for the Huskies. Cosentino helped tack on an insurance run in the eighth after leading off with a double and scoring on a fielder’s choice by sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger.
- The all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, head coach Ritch Price earned his 500th victory as the Jayhawks’ skipper.
- Sophomore designated hitter Nolan Metcalf stroked his first-career home run in the fifth inning to give Kansas its final lead.
- Redshirt-freshman left-hander Eli Davis tossed a career-high seven innings, wherein he struck out four and gave up one unearned run.
- Redshirt-sophomore Jonah Ulane earned his third save in as many appearances.
- The series sweep marked the first since March 9-11, 2018 when the Jayhawks swept then-No. 20 St. John’s at Hoglund Ballpark.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Eli Davis’ performance:
“In these conditions, that was a great performance. It was good to see him show some maturity and bounce back from last week’s start. We are counting on those three starting pitchers to set the tone on the weekend and we got three quality starts out of them.”
On how the offense played this weekend:
“That is one area we need to continue to keep working. I was pleased with the fact that we started to get some contributions from guys that have been struggling. We have five to six core guys that play every day, but in order to be a good club, your role players need to contribute.”
The Jayhawks travel to Port Charlotte, Florida, for the Snowbird Classic March 8-13, at the Charlotte Sports Complex. All five games can be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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