Shockers blast past Jayhawks
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Wichita State reached double figures in hits and runs, as the Kansas baseball team dropped its second-straight game to the Shockers, 14-5, Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
WSU (27-12) outscored the Jayhawks (19-21) by a combined 20 runs in both contests, 25-5, to sweep the two-game in-state rivalry series for the first time since the 2012 season.
“That is an experienced club over there with a lot of juniors and seniors in their lineup,” head coach Ritch Price said. “If you set the table for them with a lot of walks, sooner or later they are going to hurt you. That is exactly what took place as the game went on.”
The Shockers didn’t do much offensively early off Kansas starter Conner VanCleave. The freshman southpaw held WSU to one run off two hits, while striking out two in three innings of work.
He handed the ball to classmate Jonah Ulane (0-2) who relinquished the lead in the fifth inning after a two-run home run by Wichita State left fielder Luke Ritter.
“I was really pleased with the performance of VanCleave,” Price said. “That is a big step forward for him as a freshman.”
That two-run home run stymied any momentum the Jayhawks mustered with a 2-1 lead, and Wichita State went on to score 13 runs before Kansas answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the eighth inning.
It took KU five different relievers to close out the game as they allowed those 13 runs off a combined 15 hits and six walks.
Four different Jayhawks tallied multi-hit efforts with sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems leading the way with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored. Senior first baseman Owen Taylor (2-for-3) drove in a team-high three RBIs, while junior center fielder Rudy Karre (2-for-5) and redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta (2-for-3) also boasted two hits.
“We played well defensively and swung the bats really good,” Price said. “If you get behind in the count when you are on the mound, it will come back to hurt you, and that is what happened today.”
Kansas takes on Saint Mary (Kan.) Wednesday, April 25, at Hoglund Ballpark, before hitting the road for a three-game nonconference matchup at Cincinnati April 27-29.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Warm weather fans: On by far the nicest night for baseball at Hoglund Ballpark this season, the Kansas baseball team drew a season-best attendance. Over 1,300 fans attended the contest with the final tally resting at 1,379. Prior to that game, the most fans at any home contest all year rested at 1,047 against then-No. 5 Texas Tech (April 7).
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