Shockers blank Jayhawks in midweek tilt
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WICHITA, Kan. – For the first time since 2006, the Kansas baseball team failed to score a run against Wichita State, as the Jayhawks dropped the midweek tilt to the Shockers, 8-0, Wednesday night at Eck Stadium.
Redshirt-junior righty Sean Rackoski (3-4) toed the rubber for Kansas (17-19) for the first time since March 31, as he missed his last two starts in the rotation with a sore hip. Rackoski tossed three solid innings against the Shockers (18-18), letting just one ball out of the infield.
That one hit that reached center field came after junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin dove at a ball up the middle with two outs and it kicked in and out of his glove into the outfield. Runners from first and second scored on the play as centerfielder Rudy Karre had a far run from his starting position and Wichita State took the early lead in the third inning, 2-0.
“I was pleased with how Rackoski looked for the first time out in two weeks,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That ground ball off McLaughlin’s glove is a two-run single with two outs. Until about the eighth inning, we shut them down offensively.”
Price turned the game over to sophomore reliever Blake Goldsberry who pitched the next two frames. The righty faced nine batters and gave up one run off four hits while striking out two batters. That lone run came in the fifth after a bloop RBI-single to right field increased the Shockers’ lead, 3-0.
After falling behind 3-0, Kansas held the Shockers scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning when they hit up lefty reliever Blake Weiman for five runs in 2/3 innings pitched. Wichita State tagged Weiman for back-to-back two-out hits and with the help of an error, took an 8-0 lead that stood to be the game’s final.
Kansas had plenty of its own chances to score with runners on base in every inning except the fourth, but couldn’t find an answer for Wichita State starter Keylan Killgore. It took the Jayhawks until the fifth inning to record its first hit of the game when sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou singled to right field with one out in the frame.
“We certainly had our chances,” Price said. “We had runners on in every single inning, if we could have just got a two-out base hit. We missed the fastball early in the count and got behind, and as a result, didn’t do a good job adjusting with two strikes. We took a step back offensively tonight.”
Kyriacou finished the game with two of the Jayhawks’ four hits, with sophomore left fielder Devin Foyle and sophomore pinch hitter Blake Shinkle recording the other two.
This was the first time Wichita State shutout Kansas since April 5, 2006 and the first time the Jayhawks were held scoreless at Eck Stadium since April 10, 1996.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Just out of reach: With runners at first and second and two outs, Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm grounded a ball hard up the middle. McLaughlin had a good beat on it and dove, and the ball kicked out of his glove into center field. It was a long run for Karre from his starting position to corral the ball and both runners on base scored to give the Shockers the early 2-0 lead in the third.
Left on base: Kansas left 11 runners on base and had at least one person on in each inning except the fourth. That was the 13th time this season the Jayhawks have stranded 10 or more runners in a game, and marks the third time in the last four contests.
Too many K’s: For the 13th time this season, the Jayhawks combined to strike out at least 10 times at the plate, finishing the game with 11 K’s. KU holds a record of 4-9 in those contests that it strikes out at least 10 times.
Kansas continues its road swing April 21-23, as the Jayhawks trek south to Norman, Oklahoma, for a three-game conference set against the Sooners. First pitch Friday is set for 6:30 p.m.
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