⚾️ Kansas Wins Series with 6-4 Victory Against Valparaiso

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In the first weekend of the 2023 season, Dan Fitzgerald’s Jayhawks picked up a series win with a 6-4 comeback victory against Valparaiso on Sunday at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. Sophomore Chase Jans hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the sixth inning to put the Jayhawks in the lead for good.

Win: Kolby Dougan (1-0)
Final line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
Save: Stone Hewlett (1)
Final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
Loss: Jacob Rosenkranz (0-1)
Final line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO

• After junior Janson Reeder worked an 8-pitch walk to leadoff the second inning, freshman Kodey Shojinaga took the first pitch he saw out to left field for a two-run home run. Shojinaga made his first career start after coming in as a pinch-hitter on Saturday. The home run gave the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead.
• Valparaiso cut into the Kansas lead with a solo home run in the fourth inning off the bat of Kyle Schmack to make the score 2-1.
• Kansas starter redshirt junior Hunter Cranton walked the next two hitters, before working his way out of trouble in the fourth by striking out the next two batters. He would get the third out on a runner trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.
• Valparaiso went on to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a two-run home run by Nolan Tucker.
• Valparaiso extended the lead in the sixth inning with a home run off the bat of Jake Skrine to give the Beacons a 4-2 lead.
• Kansas responded in the bottom of the sixth inning. Redshirt junior Collier Cranford hit a two-out RBI single to bring in Reeder and make the score 4-3.
• Jans came up to bat next and sent the second pitch out to left-center field for a three-run homer and a 6-4 lead.
• Junior Stone Hewlett then came on and pitched the final three innings to earn the save for Kansas.

Chase Jans: Jans hit the go-ahead and eventual game-winning home run for Kansas in the sixth. A three-run shot to left-center field put the Jayhawks ahead for the remainder of the game.

6: Kansas scored a season-high six runs, which included the first two home runs of the season for the Jayhawks.

“I’m super proud of them. We had an opportunity in the middle innings when they tacked on that solo shot and went up two runs that the game could have gone either way. We strung together base runners and a bunch of stuff with two outs. It was super gritty. The dugout was great. I’ve said it 30 times this weekend, but I told them to be locked in on every pitch and be a good teammate. You have to simplify it to that on opening weekend. I thought they did that to a tee today. They were in every single pitch. I’m really proud of them, a gritty, gritty bunch.” – Dan Fitzgerald

• Kansas went 2-1 at Whataburger Field for a second consecutive season.
• Kansas scored a season-high six runs.
• Shojinaga hit his first career home run in his first career start. Shojinaga started at second base.
• Jans hit his first home run of the season.
• Cranton and junior Kolby Dougan each struck out five Valpo hitters.

Kansas will travel to Cleburne, Texas, to play Oakland in a four-game series at The Depot at Cleburne Station. The four-game set will begin on Friday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. CT.