Kansas Drops Midweek Tilt to CMU, 8-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Off to a slow start, the Kansas baseball team dropped its third-straight contest Tuesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark, falling to Central Michigan, 8-2.
The Jayhawks (6-11) saw a less than ideal linescore develop over the course of the game, with the Chippewas (11-5) pounding out 14 hits against the KU pitching staff. Junior righty Hayden Edwards (1-2) gave up 10 of those hits through five innings of work while also allowing five runs to score. The Kansas bats didn’t add much help with just two runs scored off of six hits.
A bright spot on the day came when the Jayhawks called to their pen and brought in junior righty Sam Gilbert. The hurler tossed three scoreless frames to stop the bleeding, while extending his scoreless inning streak to seven dating back to a game against Boston College (March 1).
“Sam has gotten better each time he takes the mound,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He has a good arm and a good delivery, and he is pounding the strike zone.”
Junior shortstop Justin Protacio tallied one of KU’s hits on the day, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Sophomore designated hitter Michael Tinsley (1-for-3) and freshman third baseman Matt McLaughlin (1-for-3) each added an RBI on the day to tally both of the Jayhawks’ runs.
The two teams held each other scoreless through the first two innings with Central Michigan the first to strike in the third with a two-spot. The Chippewas combined for three hits and two runs off Edwards in the frame.
CMU came back firing in the fourth and added three runs off four hits with a little help from a Kansas defense struggling to make plays.
“We buried ourselves,” Price said. “We made two costly errors that could have tied the game if we would have executed them.”
The Chippewas held steady with the lead, 5-0, until the fifth inning when the Jayhawks came knockin’.
Kansas put its bats to work in the fifth to score its first run of the game with experience play from senior centerfielder Joe Moroney and Protacio. Freshman catcher TJ Martin got on base with a walk, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Moroney and then a single through the left side from Protacio to load the bases.
McLaughlin followed up with a one-out on sacrifice fly to right center to score Martin to cut the Chippewa lead to four, 5-1.
A pitching change in the sixth brought Gilbert to the bump to settle down the defense and put a halt to the Chippewas offense. Gilbert went three innings without giving up a run, which marked seven-straight scoreless innings for the righty.
“I felt like I did a really good job of attacking hitters early,” Gilbert said. “It feels good to have my pitches working and to know my defense is making plays behind me.”
Late pitching changes by KU allowed three Chippewa runs in the ninth and end the hopes of a Kansas comeback, 8-2.
The Jayhawks continue their homestand this weekend, March 13-15, as they play host to Michigan for a three-game set. All three games can be seen live on ESPN3 or listened to on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.