Trio of home runs lift Jayhawks to victory in season opener
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Kansas baseball team used three home runs to propel itself to a 9-5 victory over USC Upstate Friday night at Cleveland Harley Baseball Park.
The Jayhawks (1-0) relied on a four-bagger from sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger, junior catcher Jaxx Groshans and senior center fielder Rudy Karre to win their 11th season opener under the direction of head coach Ritch Price.
Those three round trippers, coupled by five solid innings on the bump by junior righty Ryan Zeferjahn (1-0) gave Kansas all it needed to outlast the Spartans (0-1) on Opening Day.
Messinger’s solo shot broke open the scoring in the second before Groshans hit his three-run bomb in the third. Karre followed that lead with a three-RBI home run in the sixth off the left field foul pole.
Sophomore first baseman Conner VanCleave and junior shortstop Benjamin Sems each added an RBI to round out KU’s scoring on the night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- On the first pitch he saw, sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger broke open the scoring with a home run in the top of the second inning.
- Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans followed suit in the third frame with a no-doubter of his own, a three-run shot.
- Senior center fielder Rudy Karre completed the trifecta with a three-run bomb in the top of the sixth off the left field foul pole.
- Redshirt-sophomore reliever Jonah Ulane pitched two innings of scoreless relief to close out the game.
With the threat of rain on Sunday, Kansas and USC Upstate will play a doubleheader Saturday, Feb. 16 starting at 1 p.m. (CT) from Cleveland Harley Baseball Park.
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