Seven Two-out Kansas RBIs Top Longhorns, 11-5
AUSTIN, Texas – Seven two-out RBIs, eight solid innings from its ace and clutch hitting from freshman left fielder Devin Foyle paced the Kansas baseball team to a series-opening win at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, 11-5, Friday evening over Texas.
The Jayhawks (14-18, 3-6 Big 12) pounded out 15 hits against a Texas (14-20, 5-5 Big 12) pitching staff that entered the day ranked third in the league and rung up the second-most runs against the Longhorns in Kansas history – the most runs ever scored in Austin.
However, none of that would have been possible if it weren’t for the clutch two-out hitting.
“There were three times we had a runner on third base with less than two outs and we struck out,” head coach Ritch Price said. “The next guy came up and picked up his teammate by coming through with a base hit somewhere. We had some of our biggest at bats of the season out there today.”
Those big at bats helped a struggling Ben Krauth (3-4) find his rhythm out on the mound. Through four innings, Krauth gave up a season-high five runs off eight hits with the leadoff man aboard in all four frames.
“He really struggled in the beginning of the game,” Price said. “The first three innings he couldn’t locate a fastball below the belt and every time he did, they hit it all over the place.”
It took the help from fellow classmate, senior third baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk, to help Krauth garner some momentum heading into the bottom half of the third.
Junior centerfielder Joven Afenir led off the frame with a single and moved to third on a one-out double by sophomore first baseman Owen Taylor. Then with two outs and the Jayhawks trailing 3-0, Pidhaichuk drove a ball into the right-center gap and cut the Texas lead to one, 3-2.
“That was one of the most crucial at bats of the game,” Price said. “You’re down three with runners on second and third and two outs, and looking at going back to the dugout without scoring. Then Pidhaichuk lasers the ball into a gap and puts us back into the game. That helped put Krauth back in the game too.”
That double may have been a life saver early in the game, but it was a three-run two-out double by Foyle in the fifth inning that was the game changer. Kansas loaded the bases with one out when junior second baseman Colby Wright smoked one right at Texas’ second baseman for out two that sucked the life out of the KU dugout.
The high pressure situation trailing UT, 5-4, with bases loaded and two outs didn’t faze Foyle as he roped a double down the left field line clearing the bases and giving the Jayhawks their second and final lead of the game, 7-5.
“That man had a huge day,” Price said of Foyle. “It is a great feeling to see his emergence and the progress he is making. He has a chance to be a special player.”
The lead Foyle delivered for Krauth was all the Kansas ace needed as he went back out and shoved for the next four innings. He allowed zero runs off two hits and struck out five batters to put his game total at nine in the 123-pitch effort – he has now struck out at least nine batters in his last six starts.
The Jayhawks matched the performance of Krauth in his final four innings at the plate by adding four runs to their lead to round out the scoring, 11-5. Senior right fielder Joe Moroney and junior catcher Michael Tinsley boasted three-hit days with the backstop collecting a career-high four runs scored. Foyle finished the day matching his career high with five RBIs, while three other players tallied multi-hit efforts.
“We played with great energy today and we were fired up,” Price said. “We battled through getting behind early and every guy that played today contributed. Now we have to find a way to make it two.”
The Jayhawks and Longhorns continue play Friday in a night cap of a doubleheader, before concluding the series Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Both games can be seen on the Longhorn Network and ESPN3 where available. Fans can also listen in on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio with Saturday’s contest on the dial at KWOD 1660 AM.
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