Jayhawks’ Streak Snapped, Fall to Missouri State, 5-3

Junior designated hitter Dakota Smith drove in two runs for Kansas in Wednesday’s loss to the Bears.
Missouri State 5, Kansas 3
Hammons Field // Springfield, Mo.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
KU 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 6 0
MSU 1 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 X 5 9 1

Box Score (.pdf)
Season Stats (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
J. Protacio 4 2 3 0 0 0
D. Smith 4 0 1 2 0 0
C. Wright 4 0 1 1 0 0
T. Matheny 3 1 1 3 1 1
S. Johnson 3 1 3 1 1 1
M. Fultz 4 0 2 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
J. Hander 4.1 5 3 3 5 2
D. Morovick (7-3) 2.2 2 2 2 1 2
D. Smith 1.0 2 0 0 0 1
M. Hall 5.0 4 3 3 2 2
J. Powers (2-4) 3.0 2 0 0 0 2
J. Harris (2) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Six free passes and two long balls made the difference in the final midweek matchup for the Kansas baseball team, as the Jayhawks fell to Missouri State, 5-3, Wednesday night at Hammons Field.
Kansas (30-21, 12-9 Big 12) saw a seven-game winning streak end at the hands of a team it hasn’t beaten in three years, Missouri State (21-25, 7-8 MVC).
“We just have to flush it,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Their guy did a good job mixing pitches and keeping us off balance. He pitched better than we did tonight.”
The Jayhawks called upon freshman righty Jon Hander to start on the bump. The hurler lasted just four and one-third innings, giving up three runs off five walks and five hits, including a two-run jack in the fifth inning.
“(Hander) has been very good his last three or four times out,” Price said. “His command wasn’t good today, and I think he walked five guys in the five innings he was out there. Obviously the home run ball hurt him today, be he’s been very good and I have been very pleased with him”
The two-run shot MSU centerfielder Tate Matheny launched in the fifth inning put some distance between the two squads, forcing the Jayhawks to battle from behind once again, shortly after evening the score up in the previous frame.
Hander gave up a lead-off walk on four-straight pitches to Dylan Becker, before Matheny took the first pitch of his at-bat deep over the wall in left to put the Bears on top, 3-1.
“The wind is howling out to left today,” Price said. “We left a couple fastballs up and they were ramming that ball out of here tonight.”
Matheny’s bomb in the fifth was the first of two on the night for the Bears, as Spencer Johnson smoked a solo shot on the first pitch of the sixth inning to add to the Missouri State lead, moments after Kansas rallied to tie the score up at three in the top half of the frame.
Junior shortstop Justin Protacio led the Jayhawks with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate with two runs scored, while sophomore Colby Wright, junior right fielder Dakota Smith and junior first baseman Blair Beck each added a hit of their own to the team total. Smith led the squad with two RBIs.
Junior Drew Morovick (7-3) came on in relief after Hander gave up the bomb in the fifth inning. The right-hander tossed two and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs off two hits and a walk in the loss.
Missouri State struck first in the opening inning of play, thanks to a lead-off walk and single given up by Hander.
KU rallied in the fourth after Protacio reached second after a single and throwing error. Smith roped a two-out single to right center to score Protacio and knot the score at one.
The Bears answered right back in the fifth with Matheny’s home run to retake the lead, 3-1.
Kansas managed to tie it up at three after a two-spot in the sixth. Senior catcher Ka’iana Eldredge led off with a walk before Protacio singled to left. Wright followed suit with a single of his own, scoring Eldredge for KU’s second run on the day. Back-to-back ground outs scored the final run of the frame, and game, for the Jayhawks, to tie it back up at three.
MSU wasted no time to jump back out in front after Johnson homered to lead off the sixth. The Bears tacked on one final insurance run to seal the fate for KU, 5-3.
Kansas returns to Lawrence to host its final home series of the season as the Jayhawks welcome conference foe West Virginia to the Hog for a three-game set beginning Friday, May 9 at 6 p.m.
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