Kansas long balls walk off Texas
LAWRENCE, Kan.– A pair of timely home runs propelled Kansas to a walk-off win over Texas, 4-2, Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
After the Longhorns (25-23, 6-12 Big 12) tagged relief pitcher Blake Goldsberry (5-5) for a run in the top of the ninth to take a 2-1 lead, the Jayhawks (24-21, 6-10 Big 12) started to rally.
Junior Brett Vosik led off the inning with his third home run of the year to tie the game.
A two-out single up the middle followed by redshirt-sophomore Dylan Ditzenberger and brought freshman Casey Burnham to the plate. The Nebraska native chose the perfect time for his first career home run, as he launched a no-doubter off the scoreboard in right field to secure the victory for Kansas.
The first eight innings of the contest featured a pitchers duel.
Kansas starter junior Ryan Zeferjahn pitched six and 2/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out 10 batters. UT’s hurler Bryce Elder matched that effort and tossed seven and 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
- 10 punch outs mark the fifth time he has recorded nine or more strikeouts in a game this season.
- Today’s victory marked the 1,000th game managed for head coach Ritch Price in a Kansas uniform.
- Tonight’s walk-off victory is the third walk-off of the season for the Jayhawks. It was the first walk-off home run for the Jayhawks since James Cosentino’s four-bagger won the game for Kansas against Oklahoma (May 17, 2018).
- Junior outfielder Brett Vosik’s game-tying home run marks his third in six games and is his third on the season.
- Freshman outfielder Casey Burnham’s game-winning home run was the first round-tripper of his career. His two RBIs are also a career high.
- The Jayhawks have won the last three games played against Texas at Hoglund Ballpark.
- Two of the last three walk-off home run wins were against Texas – with the ast coming via a long ball by Connor McKay on April 18, 2015.
Head coach Ritch Price
On Ryan Zeferjahn’s performance. . .
“He was special. Obviously that was a Friday night in the Big 12, those starters were as good as you could be. Their guy was special and Zeferjahn was just as good. The only way we were going to win was by holding them to two runs or less.”
On keeping Zeferjahn in the game. . .
“He told me he wanted it. He could go 120 (pitches) and he ended up going 123 (pitches). He’s really grown up in his time here, he’s become competitive and he’s improved his off-speed pitches. That young man has got a great future ahead of him.”
On how the walk-off victory feels. . .
“It feels really good. You just grind and compete and one of the sayings in our program is, you try to get the tying run to the plate, and somebody will do something special. Ditzenberger gets a two-out base hit and then Burnham comes up and gets the clutch 2-run homer after a great at-bat. Vosik homers after fouling off three or four pitches. It ends up being an incredible team win.”
On what he told the team to get the offense going…
“You just have to grind. You know that they’re going to score at some point and we have to answer back. Somebody had to have a great at-bat for us and I think it was an eight-or-nine-pitch at-bat for Vosik before he hit the home run. It was really good to see those guys clutch up with the game on the line.”
On Vosik’s current home run hot streak..
“He was lighting it up in batting practice today. Those were the best BP rounds I’ve ever seen him take. All of a sudden the ball is starting to have some backspin and some lift on it and he has been driving the ball this week.”
Freshman outfielder Casey Burnham
On his approach at the plate…
“I was just trying to battle, and he happened to throw a changeup right down the middle. I just put a good swing on it. I guess that’s it.”
On if he knew the ball was going over the fence…
“Once it got up in the air, I knew it was going to be gone. I put my hand up in the air, and the celebration was awesome after that.”
On junior left fielder Brett Vosik tying the game…
“Credit to Vosik. He gave us a chance. I was just hoping if I got my chance in that inning, I’d put a good swing on one and keep the inning going. But I ended up ending it.”
On if his game-winning home run was one of his best baseball memories…
“Top two for sure, but maybe in the top one.”
The Jayhawks continue the series against the Longhorns Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m.