Two Big Texas Tech Innings Sink Jayhawks, 9-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 8 Texas Tech scored six runs in the third and three runs in the fifth as the Kansas baseball team dropped its fifth-straight game, 9-2, Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (19-28-1, 5-11 Big 12) pitched seven scoreless frames, but it was the two Red Raider (36-13, 16-4 Big 12) crooked numbers that put the game out of reach early. Freshman Jackson Goddard (2-5) cruised through the first two innings retiring all six batters he faced until the third when he gave up a leadoff single.
“Those might be the two best innings he pitched since February,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He was pounding the strike zone and was aggressive mixing his pitches.”
After that single, Texas Tech pounded out four more hits off Goddard, including a three-run home run that knocked him out of the game after two and 2/3 innings. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Davis came on to get the final out of the third, but Kansas found itself in a huge hole early, 6-0.
Davis kept the Red Raiders off the scoreboard in the fourth, but found trouble in the fifth after TTU first baseman Eric Gutierrez drove a three-run bomb to straight-away center field to increase the deficit, 9-0.
To have a chance to get back in the game, the Jayhawks needed someone to shut down the Texas Tech offense. That burden fell to freshman reliever Blake Goldsberry. Having been roughed up in his previous appearance, the righty closed out the final four and 2/3 innings without allowing a run. In fact, he allowed just two hits while striking out four batters in his first scoreless appearance in his last five outings.
“We have asked an awful lot of that young man,” Price said. “It was great to see him walk out there and pitch with confidence. You can see the results against the No. 8 team in the country – he pitched four sparkling innings.”
Kansas may have found its remedy in Goldsberry to keep the TTU bats at bay, but it still needed a spark to get the offense going. Much like the rest of the season, junior catcher Michael Tinsley was the answer. The lefty bat posted his 24th multi-hit game of the season after roping a triple to dead center with one out in the ninth inning.
That hit not only allowed the Jayhawks to avoid the shutout, but put Tinsley’s batting average right at .400 – something that hasn’t been done since 1997 if it holds the remainder of the season. Entering the day, he was a solid 10 points ahead in the Big 12 in batting average and had six more hits than anyone else in the league.
“He is a special guy,” Price said. “He is as good of an offensive player that I have coached. He came up that last time and if he got a hit he would be right at .400. Boy did he rail that ball off the top of the wall in center field.”
Tinsley finished the day 2-for-3 with a run scored. Junior centerfielder Joven Afenir had two base knocks with a RBI while three others tallied a hit. How fitting that the three other contributors in the hit column were seniors on a day where Kansas celebrated its senior class.
Joe Moroney, Ryan Pidhaichuk and Tommy Mirabelli each finished the day with one hit while Pidhaichuk also drove in a run. Those three, along with Hayden Edwards, Sam Gilbert, Ben Krauth and Colby Wright were honored prior to first pitch for their contributions the past four seasons.
“You understand the work ethic that these guys put in to give us a chance to compete,” Price said. “Even though we are going through a tough year, this senior class, when they were freshmen, finished fourth in the league. The next year they finished third and played in the Louisville Regional. You like to see those guys go out on a positive note and there were some good things that happened to some of those seniors in the game today.”
Kansas and No. 8 Texas Tech close out the series Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark with a 10 a.m. first pitch. Fans can watch the contest on the Jayhawk Television Network and on ESPN3. Visit KUAthletics.com/JTV for more information on affiliates.
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