Jayhawks Blanked by K-State, 11-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With so much riding on one weekend, the Kansas baseball team lost its rhythm as the Jayhawks dropped game one of the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons to Kansas State, 11-0, Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
Kansas (22-31, 7-14 Big 12) relied on lefty ace Ben Krauth (7-5) to lead the charge in the opening game of a must-win series. Dominant in his last four starts, Krauth struggled to find his rhythm on the mound early in what could be arguably his worst outing of the season. He allowed eight runs, seven earned, off eight hits and four walks, while striking out just two batters. Krauth battled through, but lackadaisical play in the field and less-than-stellar pitching ended his day after five and one-third innings pitched.
Krauth’s outing saw the fewest innings pitched by the southpaw since his season debut at No. 2 LSU, while his eight runs allowed surpassed his season high. Prior to this final Friday night start at the Hog, Krauth hadn’t allowed an earned run in his last three starts.
With Krauth not having his best stuff, the Jayhawks needed to rely on its offense to keep them in the game. However, K-State (25-27, 9-13) had no problem keeping the Kansas bats at bay, especially with its Friday night ace on the hill, Nate Griep (6-2).
“Tonight was a matchup of two of the best pitchers in the conference,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Their guy came out and out-performed our guy.”
The lackluster offense Kansas exhibited lasted the entire game and the seventh inning reassured that notion after the Jayhawks loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score a run. The story of the night was KU left 10 runners on base. The Jayhawks had no trouble getting on base, but that’s when Griep seemed to find his groove the best.
Each time the Jayhawks had a runner on third and less than two outs, Griep and the rest of the K-State defense found a way to keep them off the scoreboard. No surprise, as the same thing happened a year ago in Manhattan, when the Wildcats blanked KU, 10-0, with a different hurler on the mound.
Freshman shortstop Matt McLaughlin led Kansas with two of its five hits (2-for-4), while freshman designated hitter Owen Taylor, sophomore catcher Michael Tinsley and senior right fielder Dakota Smith each added one.
“We have to bounce back,” Price said. “We got boat-raced last year on Friday night against K-State, and we came back and won the series. Our guys have good numbers, hopefully we have energy and enthusiasm, and get after it tomorrow.”
Game two of the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons is slated for a 2 p.m. start, Saturday, May 16. The game will be broadcasted live on the Jayhawk Television Network (JTV) throughout the state of Kansas and the Kansas City Metro area, and on ESPN3 outside the coverage area. Visit KUAthletics.com/JTV for more information on the coverage area.
Fans wanting a more traditional game experience can tune in to a live audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network on KJHK 90.7 FM or at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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