Zeferjahn paces Jayhawks to series victory over Sooners
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore righty Ryan Zeferjahn led the Kansas baseball team to its second-straight series victory over Oklahoma, as the Jayhawks rallied to beat the Sooners, 6-5, Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
Zeferjahn (8-4) gave up five runs through the first three innings, but buckled down to throw up four zeroes before ending his night after seven frames with 11 strikeouts. That gutsy performance mixed with back-to-back three spots by the Kansas (25-27, 8-14 Big 12) offense in the third and fourth innings, paced the Jayhawks to its seventh one-run victory on the season.
Senior righty Tyler Davis held the lead for a clean eighth where he struck out two batters and junior closer Zack Leban tossed a scoreless ninth for his conference-leading 12th save on the year.
The Sooners (33-21, 13-10 Big 12) used four pitchers to get through the contest, with starter Levi Prater (2-3) earning the loss after three-plus innings pitched. Prater gave up all six runs off four hits and a walk while striking out five.
Double-digit K’s: Kansas starting pitchers recorded back-to-back 10-plus strikeout efforts for the first time all season. Junior Jackson Goddard recorded 11 strikeouts to open the series against the Sooners, before sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn followed suit with 11 K’s of his own – the second double-digit strikeout performance for him this season (14 – Texas Southern, March 4). In total, KU pitching has struck out OU 28 times through two games.
One run: The Jayhawks’ one-run victory over Oklahoma marks the seventh such win for Kansas this season. In addition, the last five games KU has played have all been determined by one run.
The closer: Junior closer Zack Leban picked up his 12th save of the season, moving him into a tie for fourth on the single-season save charts. The top spot on that list (19) is held by Don Czyz, the National Stopper of the Year in 2006.
Top of 1st
Oklahoma scored three runs off two triples that rolled to the fence after KU outfielders Mateo Zunica and Brendt Citta each missed on their diving attempts to get out of the inning.
Top of 2nd
OU’s Cade Cavalli hit a one-out home run into the trees in left center to put the Sooners up, 4-0.
Bottom of 2nd
KU gets first two hitters aboard, but sophomore Brett Vosik grounded into a fielder’s choice double play.
Top of 3rd
Sooner center fielder Kyler Murray hit a towering shot of a home run over the trees in left field to put Oklahoma up, 5-0.
Bottom of 3rd
A two-run triple by James Cosentino, who then scored on a wild pitch, cut Oklahoma’s lead down to a pair of runs, – OU 5, KU 3.
Bottom of 4th
Kansas scores three more runs after a bases-loaded double by shortstop Skyler Messinger and a sacrifice fly by Mateo Zunica – KU 6, OU 5.
Top of 5th
The Sooners get thrown out at the dish trying to score on an infield error, allowing sophomore Ryan Zeferjahn to get out of the frame unscathed – KU 6, OU 5.
Top of 6th
Zeferjahn records three strikeouts to bring his total to 10 for the day – KU 6, OU 5.
Top of 7th
Gutsy performance by Zeferjahn retires the side in order including his 11th K on the day – KU 6, OU 5.
Top of 9th
Junior closer Zack Leban came on to shut the door for his Big 12 leading 12th save on the season.
Kansas goes for the sweep over the Sooners Saturday, May 19 with a 1 p.m. first pitch. Fans can watch the game live on the Jayhawk Television Network or on ESPN3 outside the coverage area. The game is also available on the dial on KCTE and streaming live at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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