Kansas drops game two of doubleheader against Jackson State
LAWRENCE, Kan.– After sparking a rally in the eighth inning to trim their deficit to one, Kansas fell short of Jackson State, 8-7, in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Tigers (30-22) outlasted the Jayhawks (27-22) behind a lights-out performance from their closer Garth Cahill.
Senior starter Ryan Ralston coasted through four shutout innings, allowing only one hit and walking a batter. The righty had two strikeouts on the day and gave the Kansas offense time to come alive.
Junior Benjamin Sems got the Jayhawks on the board in the first inning when he lined a single up the middle that drove in juniors James Cosentino and Jaxx Groshans, who got on base with a single and a walk, respectively.
Kansas got more run support in the fourth when Cosentino drove in freshman Casey Burnham with a RBI-single and Groshans followed with a sac fly to score senior Rudy Karre and make it a 4-0 Jayhawk lead.
After Jackson State took over the lead in the top of the sixth frame, relief pitcher Hunter Freese (1-2) was tagged for the loss.
Kansas fought back in the bottom of the eighth when Conner VanCleave opened the inning with his third home run of the season. Burnham and Karre then notched back-to-back singles and proceeded to score on a pair of wild pitches to trim the deficit to one run, 8-7.
After Messinger and Burnham drew a pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth, the Jayhawks’ rally fell just short again, as Burnham grounded out to end the game.
Sems led all hitters with a 3-for-5 performance that included two RBIs while Cosentino tallied two hits with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.
- Kansas finished the season with a 6-5 record in midweek games.
- The Jayhawks have played in six doubleheaders this season (USC Upstate, Texas Southern, Northern Illinois, Baylor, West Virginia, Jackson State). They are 1-5 in the second game of the day.
- Junior shortstop Benjamin Sems recorded his 15th multi-hit game of the season. Sems ranks second on the team in multi-hit contests, trailing only Groshans who has 16.
- Starting pitcher Ryan Ralston tied his career high in innings pitched with four and also tied his season high in strikeouts with two.
- Kansas had four batters hit by a pitch in today’s contest, which ties the season high for most hit batters in a game.
- The Jayhawks’ offense tallied the fewest amount of strikeouts in a contest this season with two. That marks the fewest strikeouts since Kansas only struck out three times against Texas Southern (2/24/19) earlier this season.
- Kansas has played in 16 one-run games this season. In those games, they have a 6-10 record.
Head coach Ritch Price
On the late inning comeback attempt…
“We had the right guys up. We battled back, we had guys in scoring position in several different innings. The really soft lefty really gave us fits. Guys couldn’t stay back and wait long enough to see the ball get to them and I was disappointed in our approach. When he came out of the bullpen there in the fourth inning, he threw zeros up and Sems had a good at-bat against him. We battled back and a lot of guys got an opportunity to pitch that hadn’t pitched very much lately. It unfortunately ends up being a tough loss.”
On Conner VanCleave’s home run in the eighth inning…
“It got it started. When you put him in the game, he’s the guy that you’re hoping will get a ball elevated that he can get in the air and hit out of the ballpark. He is still struggling with velocity but that guy was soft enough that he caught up and that ball was railed.”
Kansas resumes Big 12 play as the Jayhawks travel to TCU May 10-12.