⚾️ Long Ball Powers Jayhawks Past Bulldogs 12-4
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kansas hit six home runs on Friday afternoon en route to a 12-4 victory over the Samford Bulldogs at Joe Lee Griffin Field. Janson Reeder, Collier Cranford, Chase Jans, Kodey Shojinaga, Michael Brooks and Cole Elvis all hit home runs in the contest.
With the game tied at 2-2, the Jayhawks blasted three home runs in the top of the second inning. That marked the first time since 2010 that Kansas homered three times in a single inning. KU never trailed at any point in the game and improved to 23-27 on the season behind a 20-hit effort from the offense.
Kansas got started right away in the first inning on Friday. Jans doubled with one out and Reeder took an 0-2 pitch out to right field for a 2-run shot to give the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead.
Samford (28-22, 12-6 Southern) was quick to respond and tie Kansas in the bottom of the first. After the first two batters reached base on a double and single, a double play brought in a run and Lucas Steele hit a solo homer to make the game 2-2.
The Jayhawks kept swinging it in the second when Cranford hit a solo homer, Jans had a 2-run blast and Shojinaga blasted a solo shot. The four runs on three homers gave Kansas a 6-2 advantage.
The Bulldogs tightened the game in the bottom of the fourth with a 2-run homer by Josh Rodriguez. The home run made the score 6-4.
In the top of the fifth, Kansas got the two runs back. With two outs, Jake English and Cranford each delivered RBI singles. The run-scoring hits gave Kansas a four-run lead once again at 8-4.
The team stayed quiet offensively until the top of the eighth. Kansas tacked on four more runs in the inning courtesy of a pair of 2-run homers by Michael Brooks and Cole Elvis. That pushed the score to 12-4, which is where it would ultimately end.
Hunter Cashero started and allowed four runs over five innings, while striking out five and walking none. He induced two double plays in his start and earned the win to improve to 3-1 on the season. Ethan Bradford followed Cashero and pitched four scoreless innings of relief to receive his second save of the season.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win: Hunter Cashero (3-1)
Final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 SO
Save: Ethan Bradford (2)
Final line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
Loss: Brody Westbrooks (3-3)
Final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
“It was a great bounce back win. I’m proud of the effort. I thought offensively we were locked in and everyone had a hit. Shojinaga had four, Koszewski had three, English had three, Cranford had three – it was just a 1-9 awesome effort. On the mound, we had one walk and 10 strikeouts, opposed to their four walks and five strikeouts. We talk about winning the freebie award and winning the strike zone. It’s the same thing we talk about every game. Whoever wins the strike zone wins the game.” – Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald
• Kansas had six home runs from six different players in the game. That is the most home runs since Kansas tied the program record earlier this season with seven homers on Feb. 26, 2023 vs. Oakland (also six players).
• Kansas hit three home runs in the second inning. The last time Kansas had three homers in an inning was March 10, 2010 vs. Tabor in the 3rd inning with Jason Brunansky, Brian Heere and Alex DeLeon all hitting home runs. The last time KU did it against a Division I opponent was March 5, 2004 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the 5th inning with Ryan Baty, Travis Metcalf and Travis Dunlap all homering.
• Kansas now has three players with at least 10 home runs this season (Elvis, Reeder, Jans). The last time Kansas had three players with double-digit home runs in a single season was 2004 (Travis Metcalf, Sean Richardson, Ryan Baty).
• Kansas had 20 hits in a game for the second time this season (Feb. 26 vs. Oakland). The last time Kansas had two 20-hit games in the same season was 2019.
• Every Kansas batter had a hit in the game.
• Seven of 12 runs for Kansas came with two outs.
• Shojinaga extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He matched his career high with four hits after finishing 4-for-5 with a double, home run, RBI, three runs and a walk. Shojinaga leads the team with 18 multi-hit contests this season.
• Jans has a 15-game on-base streak after going 2-for-5 with a double, home run, two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. His home run was his 10th of the season after only hitting three homers in 2022. Jans has 17 multi-hit games this season.
• Bradford has not allowed a run in four consecutive relief appearances (12.0 innings).
• Elvis hit his team-high 12th home run of the season.
• Koszewski pushed his on-base streak to 11 games and his hitting streak to eight games. He has multiple hits in seven of his last eight games.
• Reeder blasted his 11th home run of the season.
• Jackson Kline has reached base safely in his last 10 games and has a six-game hitting streak.
• Brooks hit his sixth home run of the season. All six of his home runs have come in the last 14 games. Brooks had two hits in the game to push his season total to 50 hits and his donation to Lawrence Schools Foundation to $1,000.
• Cranford connected on his fifth home run of the season.
Kansas (23-27, 7-14 Big 12) will play the rubber match against Samford on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT.