⚾ Kansas Captures Doubleheader to Claim Series Over Creighton
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks (11-6, 0-0 Big 12) swept Saturday’s doubleheader against the Creighton Bluejays (4-6, 0-0 Big East) at Hoglund Ballpark, earning 11-3 victories in both games.
Game 1 (Kansas 11, Creighton 3)
Kansas played a complete game with excellent pitching, timely hitting and minimal defensive mistakes.
Cole Larsen earned his third win of the season, pitching eight innings and striking out a career-high 10 batters. Larsen pitched brilliantly for a second weekend in a row after coming off a complete game against Omaha and earning Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week honors.
Creighton got off to a quick start with two consecutive hits to start the game. The Bluejays brought in a run off a single to grab a fast 1-0 lead.
The Jayhawks answered in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double by Josenberger, who scored on a pair of bunts.
In the bottom half of the second inning the Jayhawks took the lead off a Josenberger infield single. Dylan Ditzenberger drove in two runs with a bloop single that gave Kansas a three-run lead.
Creighton added two runs in the top of the fourth off a ground out and a sacrifice fly to left, cutting the Jayhawks lead to one. Kansas got a run back off a Ditzenberger double, giving him his fourth RBI on the day.
Kansas brought two more runners home in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-3. James Cosentino drove in a run with a ground ball to the second baseman, and Ahuna followed suit with an RBI single.
The Jayhawks blew the game wide open in the sixth as Kansas welcomed Creighton’s first relief pitcher, Ryan Manikowski, with three straight hits and two runs scored with just one out. KU added one more run off back-to-back singles, forcing another Creighton pitching change. Josenberger was first up and drove in his second run of the game off another single, giving him four hits in the game and the Jayhawks an 11-3 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Taylor entered the game in the ninth, recording his first strikeout of the season to shut the door on Creighton.
Kansas finished with 11 runs on 16 hits. Seven different Jayhawks reached base multiple times, with three having multi-hit games. Josenberger and Maui Ahuna led the way, both setting career highs going 4-for-5 and driving in two runs apiece. Another key contributor was Ditzenberger who went 2-for-4 with a career high four RBI.
Game 2 (Kansas 11, Creighton 3)
Kansas used a balance offensive attack and strong performance from the pitching staff to defeat the Bluejays, 11-3, in the second game of the doubleheader. Everhett Hazelwood recorded his first win of the season after five innings pitched, striking out three batters.
The bats stayed alive for the Jayhawks in game two. Three players had multiple RBI games, three had multiple hit efforts and six reached base more than once. Nolan Metcalf and Skyler Messinger led the offensive charge, going 3-for-4 and 3-for-5, respectively. The duo drove in a combined six runs.
After getting into trouble in the top of the first inning, Hazelwood escaped a bases loaded jam, giving up only one run.
Josenberger picked up right where he left off in the first game with a leadoff double. Metcalf drove him in with a single and tied the game.
The Jayhawks attacked again in the bottom of the second, when Cosentino and Ahuna reached on back-to-back singles with one out. Jack Wagner drew a walk to load the bases, and Josenberger drove in Cosentino with a fielder’s choice to give Kansas a 2-1 lead.
Messinger gave Hazelwood breathing room in the bottom of the third, doubling in Metcalf to add an insurance run for Kansas.
Kansas struck again in the bottom of the fifth when Metcalf recorded his third hit of the game and scored on a Messinger base hit.
Sam Brady came on in relief for Hazelwood in the sixth inning and found himself in a bases-loaded jam. After allowing a Creighton run, he recorded a strikeout and ended the Bluejay’s threat.
The Jayhawks got four runs back in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Messinger and a pair of clutch walks to grab a 9-2 lead heading into the seventh inning.
Jake Adams replaced Brady in the seventh and struck out two batters in two innings of work. Creighton scored its final run in the eighth inning on a fielder’s choice.
Kansas took advantage of its final at bats of the day in the bottom of the eighth. The Jayhawks scored a run on a pair of wild pitches and Jack Wagner drove in the final run of the day on a sacrifice fly.
Gabriel Sotomayor replaced Adams in the ninth inning. Adams finished with two innings pitched, two strikeouts and zero earned runs. Sotomayor shut the door and recorded a strikeout, giving Kansas the victory.
The series with Creighton will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.