⚾️ Jayhawks Extend Winning Streak to 5

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Missouri State Bears in walk-off fashion Tuesday afternoon, winning on a wild pitch to earn a 9-8 victory in 10 innings.

Kansas has now won five in a row and has started the season 6-0 at Hoglund Ballpark under first-year coach Dan Fitzgerald. The Jayhawks began the winning streak last week against Creighton and continued it with a sweep of Big 12 foe Baylor last weekend, before Tuesday’s win over the Bears.

The Jayhawks had to stage a comeback to win Tuesday with Missouri State striking first as Spencer Nivens hit a two-run home run in the first inning.

Kansas (13-14, 3-3 Big 12) answered right back in the bottom of the second. After a successful challenge to keep the inning alive, freshman Jackson Kline ripped a two-out, two-RBI double to even the game at two after the second inning.

The Bears regained the lead in the fourth after Zack Stewart singled in Nivens. Missouri State (13-14, 2-4 MVC) added another run courtesy of a sacrifice fly to extend its lead to 4-2. Not long after, the Bears tacked on another run to make it a 5-2 game, and a three-run fourth inning for the Bears.

Missouri State would get busy in the sixth inning, as it collected another run courtesy of a Jake McCutcheon groundout to first that scored Dylan Robertson in the process. The very next at-bat, the Bears would send another baseball over the wall, to push their lead to 8-2.

Kansas began chipping away in the sixth as Luke Leto drove in Kodey Shojinaga on a sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, Kline added another RBI to his total, driving in Jake English on a groundout. The following at-bat, Chase Jans drove in two runners on a double. The Jayhawks scored four runs in the sixth inning all total, making it just a two-run lead for the Bears.

The Jayhawks come back to tie the ballgame in the eighth, as Leto brought home both Collier Cranford and Shojinaga on a two-RBI double that knocked off the batter’s eye.

As they continued to comeback, the Jayhawks relied on strong pitching on the mound In a relief effort, junior left-hander Stone Hewlett needed just 28 pitches to get through three innings of work against the Bears. Hewlett only allowed one hit in his relief outing. The Jayhawks threatened in the ninth, but couldn’t plate a run as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the 10th, the Bears went down in order as relief pitcher Hunter Cranton needed only eight pitches to cruise through the inning. In the bottom half of the 10th, the Jayhawks got the run they were looking for when Kline crossed home on a walk-off wild pitch to defeat the Bears 9-8.

Win: Hunter Cranton (3-2)
Final line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
Loss: Gage Bradley (0-2)
Final line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO

“You just have to keep playing, sometimes when you look at it, you think you have to climb a mountain but in reality you just have to chip away.” – Coach Dan Fitzgerald on today’s comeback

“Today was huge, just to grind and come back from behind the whole game. Really the last four or five games, that’s all we’ve done, just stay in our game, do our thing, don’t let the other team mess with us, and we’ve just been able to grind it out.” – Jackson Kline

• Kansas remained undefeated at Hoglund Ballpark, improving to 6-0 this season. That’s the most wins to start a season at home since 2009, when the Jayhawks started 14-0.
• Kansas has won five games in a row, outscoring opponents 42-23 during that stretch.
• Kansas had its first walk-off win since May 9, 2021 vs. No. 24 Oklahoma State (W, 8-7).
• Kansas won its first extra-inning game since April 10, 2021 at Oklahoma (W, 8-7 in 10 innings).
• Kansas evened the all-time series against Missouri State as both teams have now won 32 games. Kansas now leads 20-14 at home.
• Jans extended his on-base streak to 23 games, which is the longest of the sophomore’s career and the longest by a Jayhawk this season. He finished 3-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs.
• Kline drove in a career-high three RBIs on Tuesday.

Kansas will travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (21-7, 2-1 Big 12) for a weekend series. The first pitch of Friday’s game against WVU will be at 5:30 p.m. CT.