Jayhawks eliminated by Red Raiders in Big 12 Championship
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.– A trio of Red Raider home runs were just enough for Texas Tech to defeat the Jayhawks, 7-5, and end Kansas’ run during an elimination game in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship on Friday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Kansas (32-26) got the scoring started early and pounced on Texas Tech (38-16) starter Bryce Bonnin, scoring two runs in the top of the first and two more in the top of the second to take a 4-0 lead.
A game-tying, two-out home run by junior Brett Vosik wasn’t enough for Kansas, as Texas Tech countered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh that broke the game open and gave them the lead for good.
The tying run came to the plate in the ninth inning, but ultimately could not deliver.
Kansas faced adversity all year.
As a result of brutal Kansas weather, this season started as a grind for the Jayhawks. Their first 24 games of the year were played away from Hoglund Ballpark and they ended up playing 41 road or neutral site games during the season, both of which are the most of any Power 5 Conference school in the country. In addition to being on the road for the majority of the season, Kansas also played in seven doubleheaders, the most a KU team has played since 1998.
Kansas finished the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the nation, going 10-5 in league play to end the conference slate, and finished the year with a Big 12 record at .500 (12-12), good enough for fifth place.
- Today’s contest marked the 41st game that the Jayhawks have played away from Hoglund Ballpark (26 road games, 15 neutral sites).
- The Jayhawks were a clutch team during the Big 12 Championship tournament. Kansas scored a combined 28 runs, with 15 of those runs coming with two outs (53.6%). In addition, the Jayhawks batted .357 (15-for-42) with two outs and .388 (19-for-49) with runners in scoring position during the tournament.
- Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans drew a walk during today’s contest, which was his 53rd free pass of the season, ranking him third in Kansas history. The 53 walks mark a new record for walks in a single season by a player in the Ritch Price era and make him only the sixth Jayhawk in program history to draw 50 walks in a season.
- Groshans’ 12 home runs rank him eighth all-time for four-baggers in a season.
- Groshans extended his hitting streak to six games.
- Freshman designated hitter Jack Wagner drew three walks in today’s contest, good for a new career high.
- Freshman outfielder Casey Burnham stole his 11th base of the season, which is second-best on the team, trailing only Benjamin Sems who nabbed 14 bags.
- Junior second baseman James Cosentino stole his 10th bag of the season, tied with Casey Burnham for second on the team and trailing only Benjamin Sems, who has 14.
- Sophomore Skyler Messinger extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- The Jayhawks won 10 of their 15 games in the month of May, including five of their last seven.
- Today’s contest marked the first meeting between Kansas and Texas Tech during the Big 12 Championship tournament.
Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans
“Obviously, the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to. Everybody that we brought into the clubhouse at the beginning of the year … [filled their roles] … As a team, I’m just going to look back and see all the faces in the clubhouse and all the relationships we built over the past year.”
On the pride he has in his team…
“Going into the tournament, we had a lot of injuries. There is a certain level of pride, definitely. All the guys stepped up … We played for us, we played for our team and the name on the front of our jersey.”
Head coach Ritch Price
On Ryan Cyr’s performance…
“Obviously, our bullpen was depleted with the guys that we used yesterday. We handed the ball to [Cyr], and we told him not to look at anyone in the dugout until he got to the seventh inning. The wind was just howling to left field; he’s pitched in three of the windiest games we’ve ever played in … He comes right at you. When the ball gets put in play, you need to play good defense behind him … To be real honest with you, I thought he did a good job. They hit three lasers to center field right in a row and they were all caught. Obviously the park was playing small … When you come in here and the day is like that, you need to find a way to keep the ball away from guys. You either have to pitch for ground balls or strike guys out.”
On his view of the season…
“Obviously, losing Eli Davis was devastating for us. We won six straight Sundays with him. Somehow we found a way to win at TCU without him and we found a way to win two games against Kansas State. I couldn’t be more proud of them. We played our first 24 games away from Hoglund Ballpark, that’s the most in the country. We played 41 games on the road or at neutral sites, which is the most of any Power 5 school in the country. The weather was awful. As we got the chance to practice outside and develop a normal routine, we got better as the season went on. That’s what every coach wants to see out of a young team.”