Ditzenberger, pitching staff push Kansas past Oklahoma State
LAWRENCE, Kan.– A walk-off hit and stellar pitching helped push the Jayhawks past the Cowboys, 5-4, at Hoglund Ballpark on Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt-freshman Dylan Ditzenberger chose the perfect time for his first hit of the day as he roped a single down the first base line to drive in senior Blake Shinkle and give Kansas (18-16, 3-8 Big 12) the victory over Oklahoma State (21-12, 7-4 Big 12).
Relief pitcher Blake Goldsberry (3-4) was dealing late for the Jayhawks. The righty got the win after retiring every batter he faced after coming into the game with two runners on base in the eighth inning.
Oklahoma State tagged junior starting pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn for three runs in the first inning off two home runs. He settled down and went on to pitch six innings without allowing another run to score. In the process, Zeferjahn tied his career-high in strikeouts with 14 on the day and the last 10 outs he recorded were all strikeouts.
Sophomore Conner VanCleave aided the offensive effort for the Jayhawks when he launched his second home run of the year in the third inning to even knot the game up, 3-3.
- Junior starting pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn’s 14 strikeouts tie his career high. His last 10 outs were all strikeouts.
- Junior Benjamin Sems has collected 14 hits in his last six games.
- Today’s walk-off victory marks the first walk-off win since May 17, 2018 when James Cosentino hit a walk-off home run against Oklahoma.
- Dylan Ditzenberger’s game-winning single in the ninth inning was his first-career walk-off hit. His two RBIs also matched his career-high.
- Conner VanCleave’s two RBIs on the day tied his career high.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Ryan Zeferjahn’s performance:
“When Oklahoma State put up the two home runs in the first inning, we were thinking, ‘oh no, here it goes again.’ It is like I told our players, we are pitching one of the best guys in the country in Ryan Zeferjahn. Baseball momentum is tied to your starting pitcher. We needed that great performance from Zeferjahn, and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.”
On Ryan Zeferjahn’s composure:
“I think it shows you how much he has grown up. He has grown leaps and bounds, and is tough and competitive. The next five innings, he pitched better than most other pitchers, especially in these conditions.”
On Dylan Ditzenberger’s walk-off hit:
“How about Blake Shinkle. He gets that base hit to start it and then Brett Vosik hits the ball in the gap. What a great at bat for Ditzenberger. It ends up being a great team win – I am just really proud of our guys. To get boat raced like we did yesterday, it took great toughness to bounce back today and do what we did.”
Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn
On what his most-effective pitch was today:
“I think my changeup honestly. All my off-speed was kind of the same. The fastball was there when I needed it, but Oklahoma Sate is a great hitting team, so I tried to keep them off balance.”
On reaching back for a little extra velocity:
“It is kind of a little mix of adrenaline and effort. With runners on base or a two-strike count, you are always trying to gear up for the next pitch.”
The Jayhawks and Cowboys meet for the series finale Sunday, April 14 at Hoglund Ballpark at 1 p.m.