Weiman, Karre Lead Kansas in Victory Against Boilermakers, 8-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fueled by a six-inning quality start by sophomore lefty Blake Weiman and a perfect showing at the plate by freshman right fielder Rudy Karre (2-for-2), the Kansas baseball team won its third-consecutive game and topped Purdue, 8-1, Saturday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (6-7) entered the Millard Management Classic on a three-game skid after being swept by BYU in a weekend series the week prior. That didn’t faze a young Kansas team as they used three quality starts from its starting pitchers to pull within one game of .500.
“It was a big step forward for our pitching staff,” head coach Ritch Price said. “That is the first time this season that we had three quality starts on the mound. (Freshman righty) Jackson Goddard was really good in game one today and it was really nice to see Weiman go out there and throw six quality innings like he did.”
Weiman (1-0) had big shoes to fill after a stellar outing by Goddard in KU’s first game Saturday against Saint Louis. The southpaw rose to the occasion and pitched six strong innings. His only blemish on the day came in the fourth frame when Purdue first baseman Kyle Wood took him deep to right field for the round tripper and the Boilermakers’ lone run of the game.
“The next step for us is that our bullpen needs to get better,” Price said. “That was a disaster in game one. All those young men have talent and really good arms. They need to walk out there with confidence and swagger, and pitch up to their abilities.”
It may have been a tipping point in the 5-3 win over the Billikens, but freshman Blake Goldsberry didn’t lack any confidence when Price handed him the ball to start the seventh inning. The rookie hurler closed out the final three frames, not allowing a hit for his first-career save. He faced 11 batters, walked two of them and struck out one.
However, that confidence may not have been so high if the Jayhawks didn’t explode for eight runs against Purdue pitching. Karre paced Kansas with a 2-for-2 effort at the plate with a single, double, two walks, one RBI and two runs scored. Junior centerfielder Joven Afenir drove in two runs off two base knocks, while sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin drew a career high three walks.
“It was good to see guys put it together at the plate this weekend,” Price said. “Karre got himself going this weekend. Devin Foyle and Joe Moroney had really good weekends. Then McLaughlin is so good with runners in scoring position, taking walks and working the counts.”
Moroney finished the weekend batting .625 (5-for-8) with two doubles and two runs scored. Foyle had three base hits including a triple, while Karre finished 4-for-7 with two RBIs, two walks, two hit-by-pitches and five runs scored.
Collectively, Kansas batted .302 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and scored an average of 6.7 runs per game. On the mound, the Jayhawks gave up just four runs in three games and held its opponents to a .178 batting average.
“We needed the momentum,” Price said. “After what happened last weekend against BYU, we needed that. It was a really good bounce back weekend for our team. I loved the energy in our dugout in game one and it was a quick turnaround, and the energy in our dugout was outstanding again in game two.”
Kansas wraps up its homestand Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15-16, as the Jayhawks play host to Murray State in midweek action, before hitting the road to play three games at Stanford (March 18-20). Both games against the Racers can be seen on ESPN3. Fans can also tune into the Jayhawk Radio Network for a live audio broadcast via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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