Jayhawk Pitchers Falter, Drop Series to Texas, 16-7
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The day after a thrilling walk-off home run, the Jayhawk pitching staff was ineffective and dropped the series finale to Texas, 16-7, Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
From the get-go, the Kansas (16-24, 4-8 Big 12) pitchers struggled, allowing season-highs with 16 runs, 23 hits and five home runs. Six different pitchers were used, each allowing at least one run, four of which surrendered a four-bagger. None were effective and Texas ran away with the rubber match.
Freshman starting pitcher Blake Weiman (1-6) didn’t have his best stuff, but thanks to some good defense, didn’t allow any runs to cross the board until the third inning. Once Texas (21-19, 8-7 Big 12) took the lead, they never looked back. Three doubles and a single in the third would lead to two runs on the board for the visiting squad.
Another leadoff double in the fourth forced KU head coach Ritch Price to get senior Colin Toalson warming in the pen. After a strikeout from Weiman for the first out of the inning, Toalson came on in relief, ending the starter’s day after three and one-third innings. The Jayhawk pitching woes continued, as the first batter Toalson faced muscled up and sent a ball over the wall in left-center for a two-run shot, stretching the Texas lead, 4-0.
“I got to the ballpark at 8:30 this morning and I saw how hard the wind was blowing and knew we could be in trouble,” Price said. “We have a soft lefty on the mound – anytime someone got the ball in the air it was going to have a chance to go out. I was just hoping Blake’s changeup was working well enough to throw the batters off, but unfortunately it wasn’t.”
It took until the bottom of the fourth for the Jayhawks to get anything on the board. Senior left fielder Connor McKay led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. As sophomore catcher Michael Tinsley stepped up to the plate, the wind started to howl, blowing out to right field. The lefty took advantage of the gust and sent a ball soaring to right for a two-run bomb, bringing the Jayhawks within two, 4-2.
UT’s bats continued to work in the fifth. Toalson struck out the first two batters he faced in the inning, but gave up two singles and a double that scored the two runners. The next batter, Johnson, continued his already-good day, by blasting a homer to left field to extended the Texas lead, 8-4.
The home run brought freshman Ryan Jackson into the game. The lefty was unable to stop the bleeding as he gave up a walk and a triple for UT’s fifth run of the inning. Struggling with his command, Jackson walked a batter and hit another to load the bases, before allowing a single to score two more. Jackson’s day quickly ended as Kansas went to the bullpen again and brought in freshman Brandon Johnson to record the final out of the inning, but not before Texas totaled seven runs in the frame.
Kansas fought back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits, making the score 11-5, but ultimately would not be enough as the Longhorns added five more runs on the day, while the Jayhawks added two more in the eighth off a home run by senior right fielder Dakota Smith.
Eight different players amounted to KU’s 11 hits on the day, with freshman shortstop Matt McLaughlin, Tinsley and senior first baseman Blair Beck paving the way with two hits apiece. Tinsley added three RBIs to his day while Smith and McLaughin each added two.
The Jayhawks wrap up a 10-game homestand against Wichita State Tuesday, April 21, at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network along with a live stream on ESPN3 outside the JTV coverage area. For more information on coverage areas visit KUAthletics.com/JTV. The matchup will also be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/radio.
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