Late Lobo Rally Too Much, Jayhawks Fall at New Mexico, 10-4
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After starting the game quickly with four runs in the first three innings, the Kansas baseball team failed to score in the final six frames and dropped its second-straight game to New Mexico, 10-4, Wednesday afternoon at Lobo Field.
The Lobos (14-7-1) scored 10-straight runs after the Jayhawks (14-7) opened the game with a 4-0 lead. KU freshman righty Jon Hander made his first career start on the mound, tossing four and one-third innings. He allowed just two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out four. Junior righty Taylor Rappaport (0-1) was charged with the loss after coming on in relief of Hander in the fifth inning, surrendering three runs off three hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
Kansas tallied eight hits on the day, including a 2-for-4 effort by junior left fielder Michael Suiter, who also drove in a run and scored twice. Six other Jayhawks recorded one hit, with junior right fielder Connor McKay and junior third baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk each driving in a run.
Kansas wasted no time trying to redeem itself from a tough loss Tuesday, as they put up a two-spot in the top of the first inning. Junior shortstop Aaron Hernandez led off the game with a walk and was sacrificed to second by a beauty of a bunt by sophomore second baseman Colby Wright. Then the hot bat of Suiter took over with a bullet to left center for a ground-rule double, scoring Hernandez from second. McKay followed suit with a laser up the middle, driving in Suiter for the quick 2-0 Jayhawk lead.
The Jayhawks added two more runs in the third inning. Wright took first on a hit by pitch before Suiter singled to right field. Freshman designated hitter Michael Tinsley loaded the bases with a one-out single to left for senior centerfielder Tucker Tharp. Tharp drew the RBI walk before Pidhaichuk smoked an RBI single to right field, scoring Suiter from third. Senior catcher Ka’iana Eldredge ended the frame, hitting into KU’s fourth double play in the series, but not before Kansas added to its lead, 4-0.
New Mexico battled back in the bottom of the fourth, cutting KU’s lead in half, 4-2. Right fielder Chase Harris led off the inning with a hit by pitch, before back-to-back singles by designated hitter John Pustay and first baseman Ryan Padilla loaded the bases for catcher Lane Milligan with no outs. Milligan smoked an RBI groundout to KU first baseman Blair Beck for the first out in the inning. On the next pitch, shortstop Jared Holley scored another Lobo run off a sacrifice fly for the final run of the inning.
UNM tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning to take its first lead of the game, 5-4, thanks to back-to-back two-out hits by Pustay and Padilla. With the one-run lead, the Lobos came out in the eighth inning and poured on five more runs off Jayhawks’ senior closer Jordan Piche’ to put the game out of reach for KU and sweep the two-game mid-week series.
Kansas is back in action Friday, March 21, as they play host to Dartmouth for the first of a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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