Sooner big inning downs Kansas in conference opener
NORMAN, Okla. – A three-run fourth inning proved the difference maker as the Kansas baseball team dropped its conference opener at Oklahoma, 5-1, Friday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Sooners (19-4, 1-0 Big 12) exploded for a trio of runs off Kansas (13-8, 0-1 Big 12) starting pitcher junior Ryan Zeferjahn (3-1). That three-spot overshadowed an 11-strikeout performance for the KU hurler who tossed six innings in the loss.
OU starter Cade Cavalli (3-1) held the Jayhawks hitless until the fifth inning when sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger connected for a single to left field. Kansas tagged Cavalli for four more hits until he left the game after six and 2/3 innings pitched.
Kansas saw two relief pitchers before scoring its first run of the game off Zack Matthews thanks to a sacrifice fly by redshirt-freshman first baseman Dylan Ditzenberger in the top of the eighth. The Sooners answered right back in the home half with a two-run home run off freshman righty Stone Parker.
Messinger led Kansas with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate with a pair of singles. Junior second baseman James Cosentino finished 1-for-3 and scored the Jayhawks’ lone run while drawing two walks.
- Kansas has lost five-straight games where it has averaged 1.4 runs per contest.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn reached double-digits in strikeouts (11) for the first time since May 18, 2018, when he also recorded 11 K’s against Oklahoma.
- Sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger boasted his 10th-career multi-hit game with a pair of singles.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Zeferjahn’s performance:
“It was a really good college baseball game. When you are in the Big 12 Conference on Friday night, there is a lot of energy. I thought Ryan Zeferjahn was special tonight. He worked really hard this week and was electric for six innings. Oklahoma had the one big inning but that was it. Other than that, it was a dominant performance by him.”
On Oklahoma’s team:
“Oklahoma has power arms. Every one out of the bullpen was 90-plus and they are very physical with the bats. We have to mix our pitches and be more selective at the plate to give ourselves a chance.”
Kansas and Oklahoma continue the series Saturday, March 23 with a 6 p.m. first pitch from L. Dale Mitchell Park.
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