⚾ Jayhawks Offense Surges in 12-1 Win

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Kansas came out of the gate hot on Saturday afternoon, taking down Illinois 12-1 at Whataburger Field. The Jayhawks clinched a series win with Saturday’s victory.

The offense scored all 12 of its runs in the first four innings of the game, while the pitching and defense handled its business too. Redshirt-sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Vanderhei was strong in his first career start, tossing five innings, while giving up just one run on three hits, and striking out a career-high nine.

In the first inning, the Jayhawks built an early 3-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Tavian Josenberger had an RBI single and redshirt-senior catcher Nolan Metcalf had a two-run double to start off the scoring.

The offensive display continued in the second inning with another four runs. Sophomore shortstop Maui Ahuna hit an RBI single to drive in redshirt-sophomore center fielder Casey Burnham. Redshirt-freshman outfielder Jack Hammond followed that up with a two-run double, before Metcalf came up and brought in Hammond with an RBI single.

After a scoreless third inning, KU came back and put up five in the fourth inning. A bases-loaded walk to redshirt-junior Dylan Ditzenberger and two-run hits by Josenberger and Ahuna stretched the game out to 12-0. Illinois’ lone run came on a solo home run from Jacob Campbell in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Ahuna, Josenberger and Metcalf each finished the afternoon with multiple hits and three RBIs apiece. Ahuna’s three RBIs were a career high, while three RBIs matched a career high for Josenberger.

The combination of sophomore left-handed pitcher Stone Hewlett, redshirt-junior right-handed pitcher Jake Adams and redshirt-sophomore right-handed pitcher Knolton Clark combined to throw four scoreless innings out of the bullpen (4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO).

Kansas (2-0) will be going for the series sweep against Illinois at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Sam Brady gets the call for the Jayhawks, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Payton Hutchings will go for Illinois. The game will be available on BTN+ and the Jayhawk Sports Network.

• Kansas will be looking to earn its first sweep on opening weekend since it had a four-game sweep over BYU at the start of the 2014 season.
• Kansas’ pitching staff recorded 12 strikeouts on Saturday afternoon.
• Ryan Vanderhei made his first career start and had a career-high nine strikeouts.
• Maui Ahuna set a new career high with three RBIs.
• Tavian Josenberger tied his career high with three RBIs.
• Dylan Ditzenberger drew a career-high three walks.