⚾️ Brooks, Cashero Lead KU Past Air Force 12-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Michael Brooks hit his first two home runs of the season and Hunter Cashero was perfect through the first five innings to lift Kansas to a 12-2 victory in eight innings against Air Force on Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. Kansas has scored at least 10 runs in three-straight games for the first time since 2014.
Brooks finished the day 4-for-4 with a career-high five RBIs after also recording a career-high four hits on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, on the mound Cashero tied his career high of six innings pitched, while allowing two runs on three hits to earn his second win of the season.
Kansas (19-18, 5-7 Big 12) took a lead early in Wednesday’s game with a run in the first inning. Freshman Kodey Shojinaga singled to lead off the bottom of the first, and two batters later junior Janson Reeder hit an RBI triple into the left-center gap.
The Jayhawks offense continued its scoring in the second inning with three more runs. With runners on second and third, redshirt sophomore Michael Brooks hit a two-run single back up the middle to score a pair. Senior Cole Elvis then hit a sacrifice fly to score another run and make the score 4-0.
Brooks led off the fourth inning with his first home run of the day. The solo blast was his first since May 19, 2022 when he played at UCF.
Air Force (16-23, 9-9 Mountain West) was able to score two runs in the sixth inning with two outs on a two-run double by Sam Kulasingam. That tightened the lead to 5-2, but the Falcons were unable to get any more offense the rest of the day.
In the bottom of the sixth, Shojinaga hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-2. Then, in the seventh Kansas stretched out its lead with a five-run inning.
Four-straight run-scoring hits with two outs accounted for the five runs. Sophomore Chase Jans hit an RBI double, redshirt junior Collier Cranford hit an RBI double, freshman Cooper Kelly hit an RBI single and Brooks finished it off with a two-run homer for his second long ball of the day. KU led 11-2 after seven innings.
Elvis led off the eighth inning and took a 3-2 pitch out to left field for his eighth home run of the season. The homer made the score 12-2 and ultimately ended the game with a run-rule in effect.
Juniors Kolby Dougan and Thaniel Trumper each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Jayhawks in the win.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win: Hunter Cashero (2-0)
Final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
Loss: Zach Peters (1-4)
Final line: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 SO
“We’ve worked really hard at it. The approach has been the same since August. This stuff takes time to really get locked in and get to a spot where you can execute it efficiently on a daily basis. The guys have just stuck to it.” – Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald
“It felt great. Working with Coach Hancock and Coach Fitz it’s been a long process, but I’ve just been sticking to it and grinding out at-bats. I knew that it was going to pay off at some point.” – Redshirt sophomore Michael Brooks on his two home runs
• Kansas has scored at least 10 runs in in three straight games for the first time since Feb. 15-21, 2014 vs. BYU/Northwestern.
• Kansas has scored 49 runs over the last three games, which is the most over a three-game stretch since Feb. 25-March 5, 2004 vs. Oakland/UW-Milwaukee (56 runs).
• Kansas improved to 9-3 at home this season.
• Brooks hit his first two home runs of the season and had a career-high five RBIs. He has four hits in back-to-back games, making him the second Jayhawk this season with consecutive four-hit games (Shojinaga).
• Elvis extended his hitting streak to 14 games. The home run was his eighth of the season, which is tied for the most on the team.
• English extended his on-base streak to 13 games.
Kansas wraps up its season-long nine-game homestand this weekend when No. 24 Oklahoma State comes to Lawrence. First pitch on Friday evening is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.