Sooner Offense Explodes in 17-6 Win Over Jayhawks
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Four big Sooner innings were too much to overcome as the Kansas baseball team fell in the series finale, 17-6, Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (19-24-1, 5-9 Big 12) rode the back of junior catcher Michael Tinsley to a pair of early two-run innings, but Oklahoma (21-22-1, 7-11 Big 12) scored 13 runs through the third, fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to take control of the game.
“I was pleased with the way we played offensively today,” head coach Ritch Price said. “We scored six runs in a seven-inning game, we had 11 hits and we executed two perfect sacrifice bunts. Then Tinsley came up after and scored both guys on base hits in back-to-back at bats.”
The first and third innings mirrored each other as Kansas used the same strategy in each frame to score its four runs early. Senior right fielder Joe Moroney and sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin got on base, freshman left fielder Devin Foyle bunted them over and Tinsley drove them in.
Tinsley led the Jayhawks and finished the day with a perfect 3-for-3 effort at the plate with a walk, four RBIs and a run scored. McLaughlin was on his heels with a 2-for-3 effort and two runs scored.
The perfection the offense observed in the first three innings gave Kansas the 4-3 lead, but it was Oklahoma, with help from a struggling KU pitching staff, in the fourth, fifth and sixth that put the game out of reach.
“The whole key to the game today was that our pitching staff couldn’t get ahead in the count,” Price said. “We walked a ton of guys, set the table for them and they found the gaps. They just beat our bullpen up.”
Freshman righty Jackson Goddard (2-4) started for the Jayhawks and gave up six runs off nine hits and three walks through three and 1/3 innings of work. Senior Hayden Edwards gave up four runs off two hits and two walks in 2/3 innings while freshman Blake Goldsberry allowed five runs off two hits and three walks in two and 1/3.
In total, Kansas allowed 11 free passes – nine walks and two hit-by-pitches – that set the table for all four OU big innings. Oklahoma blasted 15 hits including five extra-base hits with two doubles, a triple and two home runs. Sooner second baseman Jack Flansburg led the field with a 4-for-4 effort at the plate with two RBIs and four runs scored.
The 17 runs scored by OU and the 11-run differential was enough to call it a game after seven innings due to the league’s travel day mercy rule.
Even with Sunday’s performance, the Jayhawks came away with its first series win of both the regular and Big 12 Conference seasons and their first over Oklahoma since 2009. In fact, the back-to-back wins in Saturday’s doubleheader over the Sooners was also a first since that 2009 season as KU had won just two non-consecutive games prior in 20 tries.
“It is really impressive to our team offensively that we found a way to win a series after getting two bad starts on Saturday and Sunday,” Price said. “It shows us that it is possible to win even when we don’t get three quality starts on the mound.”
Kansas looks to bounce back with two mid-week games at Minnesota, May 3-4, before closing out its home conference slate with Texas Tech, May 6-8, at Hoglund Ballpark.
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