Resilient Jayhawks sweep series with Texas
LAWRENCE, Kan.– It took a team effort Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark for the Kansas baseball team to earn its first Big 12 series sweep of the season, 10-6, over Texas.
The Jayhawks’ (26-21, 8-10 Big 12) offense came back from a deficit twice during the contest and their pitching staff slammed the door on the Longhorns’ (25-25, 6-14 Big 12) offense to secure the victory.
Starting pitcher redshirt-freshman Eli Davisstruggled with his command and labored through four innings of work, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out four batters.
Texas jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but sophomore Nolan Metcalf responded in the bottom of the second inning as he launched a game-tying three-run home run to deep left.
When the Longhorns got three runs back to go ahead, 6-3, the Jayhawks responded again.
Kansas jumped on Texas pitcher Matt Whelan (2-2) and put up a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth inning behind three-straight singles from senior Rudy Karre, junior James Cosentino and junior Jaxx Groshans.
Sophomore Skyler Messingerthen roped a two-run, two-out single down the third base line to give KU a 7-6 advantage.
Sophomore Brett Vosik added some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when he slapped a two-out double down the right field line to score Cosentino and Groshans.
Redshirt-junior relief pitcher Nathan Barry (4-0) earned the win for Kansas with two and 2/3 innings pitched and five strikeouts.
Redshirt-sophomore closer Jonah Ulane struck out the side to slam the door for Kansas and earn the first series sweep of a Big 12 opponent since 2014.
Junior Benjamin Sems led the Kansas offense with a 2-for-3 performance that included two walks, a double, a single, an RBI, and two runs scored.
- Kansas’ sweep of Texas is the first sweep of a Big 12 opponent since the Jayhawks swept West Virginia (May 9-11) in 2014.
- Relief pitcher Nathan Barry tied his season high in strikeout with five.
- Junior catcher Jaxx Groshans recorded six walks in the series with Texas.
- This series marks only the second time in Kansas history that the Jayhawks have swept the Longhorns, with the first time coming during the 2009 series.
- Sophomore Nolan Metcalf tied his career high with a three-RBI performance in addition to hitting his fourth home run of the season.
- Kansas now owns a 20-1 record when scoring six or more runs.
- Junior shortstop Benjamin Sems recorded his 14th multi-hit game of the season. Sems ranks second on the team in multi-hit contests, trailing only Groshans who has 16.
- With his two-hit performance, junior Brett Vosik now has a six-game hitting streak.
- This is the second series sweep of the season and first since the Jayhawks swept Northern Illinois March 1-2.
- This is the first series sweep at home since March 9-11, 2018, when the Jayhawks swept then-No. 20 Saint Johns.
- Kansas is now 23-0 when leading after eight innings.
Head coach Ritch Price
On the momentum this series provides…
“We talked about it two weeks ago. We were finally going to get to play two series at home back-to-back and if we found a way to win the series, we control our own destiny. It starts with starting pitching. We got a great start from Zeferjahn on Friday, Cyr was absolutely phenomenal, Maddux-style, yesterday.”
On the status of his offense…
“I think we took a big step forward offensively and we got some clutch hits. We have nine one-run losses. We’ve grinded and competed and we’ve overcome months of awful weather and now we’re getting to practice on a regular routine and carry that momentum into the weekend, and we’ve taken another step as a team.”
Sophomore third baseman Skyler Messinger
On what the sweep means…
“It’s big. We knew sweeping Texas wasn’t going to be easy and this was a dogfight today from start to finish. I think that we showed how gritty we are as a team. We just battled all day. Nolan’s home run was huge after we went down 3-0, our pitching just kept us in the game. Vosik swung the bat great, James (Cosentino) had a clutch hit, and Rudy (Karre) did as well. It was a great team win all around. We knew this was a big game for us and we just battled out there and were fortunate enough to get the win.”
On how big Nolan Metcalf’s game-tying home run was…
“It was huge. It was a totally new ballgame. It really breathed life into the whole dugout and gave us energy. It was a huge swing from Nolan.”
On his go-ahead single…
“I was really just looking for a pitch to hit and putting something in play to get those two runs home and I was fortunate enough to get a pitch that I could hit and I put a good swing on it.”
On how the sweep gives the team momentum going forward…
“It’s huge for sure. We’re feeling pretty hot right now and we knew that this was a big game coming into it and we are all super psyched to be able to get the win today.”
Sophomore designated hitter Nolan Metcalf
On his three-run home run…
“It felt good, especially since it was against Texas. He hung it, 0-2 count, right down the middle and I banged it.”
Kansas takes a break from Big 12 play to host Jackson State on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m.