Kansas Drops Series Opener to OSU, 7-2

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team held the Big 12 Conference’s leading scoring offense Oklahoma State scoreless through the first six innings, but an error-plagued top of the seventh inning spotted the No. 9 Cowboys four runs as they went on to take the first of a three-game weekend series, 7-2, Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (13-21, 1-6) garnered nine hits, yet only managed two runs coming in the sixth and seventh innings. Junior left-handed starter Ben Krauth (5-3) exited after six and one-third innings, striking-out a career-best nine batters and giving up no earned-runs on the night. Oklahoma State’s (24-9, 8-2) Jon Perrin threw an even six innings from the mound, giving up seven hits, two earned-runs and striking out six.   
“We catch a club that’s red hot and you look at the board and see that Krauth put six zeroes up and we’re ahead 1-0 heading into the seventh, I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Unfortunately we didn’t do a very good job communicating on a couple of bunt plays and then we botched a tailor-made double play ball and that opened the flood gates.”
From the plate Kansas saw three individuals register two hits on four tries as senior left fielder Connor McKay, senior first baseman Blair Beck and senior right fielder Dakota Smith each turned in .500 efforts offensively. Beck slammed his first home run in over a month, giving him six on the year, while he and McKay combined for KU’s two runs-batted-in – Kansas’ only two scores of the evening.
Oklahoma State improved their conference-leading record in Big 12 games to 8-2 on the season behind an 11-hit performance. Three Cowboys claimed two hits, but catcher Bryan Case brought-in three runners for a game-best three RBI’s.
Kansas put the bat on the ball early in the game with a single from McKay in the first inning, while Krauth didn’t give up his first base-hit until the Oklahoma State side of the third. Krauth’s confidence wasn’t shaken after the Cowboys’ first hit of the day. On the next play he threw a sharp pick-off over to first base, Beck applied the tag for the out and Krauth sat the next two batters down in order, one by foul-out, the other swinging on a strike.
The game remained a defensive showcase as each team kept stranding runners up until the sixth-inning when Beck broke the scoreless affair with a shot to deep over the wall in centerfield, down 0-1 in the count, giving the Jayhawks their first and only lead of the game.
The very next inning in the top-half of the seventh, Oklahoma State bunted a runner onto first base on the very first pitch of the frame. Back-to-back errors allowed the Cowboys to tally four runs on four hits, taking the advantage, 4-1, moving into the home-half of the seventh.
Kansas responded in the bottom of the seventh after Smith singled up the middle. Smith’s no-out single was the end of the line for OSU’s Perrin as the Cowboys brought in Trey Cobb to steady the ship. On a 2-0 count McKay got through to Cobb, grounding into a fielder’s choice, but scoring Beck to cut the OSU lead in half, 4-2.
One run would be all Kansas could muster after McKay’s RBI, totaling three hits in the bottom of the seventh. The Jayhawks went silently in the eighth-inning. The Cowboys tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth-inning after Case doubled to left center spreading the gap out to what would be the final score, 7-2, after Kansas could once again not string anything together in terms of hits or runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Both teams are back on the diamond Saturday, April 11, for game two of the conference series. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN3. Fans can also listen live on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the airwaves at KJHK 90.7 FM.
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