Turski, long balls help Kansas clinch series against Mountaineers
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Backed by six strong innings from senior lefty Taylor Turski and three home runs, the Kansas baseball team clinched the series win over West Virginia with a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Turski (2-7) delivered his best outing of the season allowing just one run off five hits and a walk, striking out seven Mountaineer batters in the process. His only blemish came in the fifth inning after WVU plated a run with a two-out base hit.
“We needed a quality start in order to get to our bullpen, and I thought Turski was fabulous,” head coach Ritch Price said. “With the way they were swinging the bats on Friday night – they are one of the best offensive teams in our conference, if not the country. Turski had to be at his best, and today, he looked like the guy that pitched for us a year ago.”
Turski gave Kansas (22-25, 5-12 Big 12) the quality start it needed before redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cyr and junior closer Zack Leban shut the door the final three innings. Cyr tossed one and 2/3 innings with two strikeouts, while Leban finished the final four outs for his 11th save on the season.
The Jayhawks gave those three arms confidence generating five runs off West Virginia (24-21, 7-11 Big 12) pitching, with four of those runs coming off a long ball.
Sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems got the scoring started with a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore second baseman James Cosentino followed suit with a solo shot in the same frame to give Kansas a two-run advantage, 3-1.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, senior first baseman Owen Taylor led off with another solo bomb to spark a two-run inning, and that is all the Jayhawks needed as their bullpen shut the door.
“We were physical with the bat today,” Price said. “I was disappointed in the first four innings, we were chasing a lot of pitches. We made a couple of adjustments and laid off those pitches in the fifth, and did a much better job.”
That job sealed up a series victory for Kansas, something after Friday night, seemed near impossible. After a 21-3 defeat in that series opener, the Jayhawks outscored the Mountaineers 18-5 in the final two games to clinch their first series since defeating Morehead State in the end of March.
“It shows the kind of character you have in your dugout,” Price said. “It would have been easy to shut it down after (Friday) for the entire weekend, but those guys kept grinding. Zeferjahn got the momentum back in our dugout yesterday and Turski got the momentum going today. Their coach just said, ‘I don’t think I have ever seen a team give up 21 runs on Friday night and come back and win a series.’ It speaks volumes to the quality of young men we have in this dugout.”
Kansas travels to in-state rival Kansas State for the annual Sunflower Showdown May 11-13 at Tointon Family Stadium.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three home runs: For the third time this season, Kansas connected for three home runs in a game. In those three contests, the Jayhawks hold a record of 2-1. When KU hits two or more bombs, they win 67 percent of the time (4-for-6).
Eleven games: Junior left fielder Devin Foyle connected for a single in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. During that span, Foyle is batting .405 (17-for-42) with three doubles, three home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs scored.
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