⚾ Steitz, Kansas Earn First Win of the Season

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Junior pitcher Patrick Steitz shined in his Kansas debut with six scoreless innings on the mound to lead Kansas to an 8-2 victory against Illinois-Chicago on Sunday at Whataburger Field.

Jake English and Ben Hartl provided the big hits for Kansas as English hit two home runs and Hartl had a home run himself. English hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to break open the scoreless game and added a solo blast in the eighth inning, while Hartl connected on a three-run shot of his own in the fifth inning.

The win was the first of the season for Kansas.

• Steitz came out throwing strikes from the start. He punched out two in the first inning and two in the third inning. The first three innings were scoreless for both teams.
• Kansas broke through in the fourth inning. A double by Hartl, an infield single by Lenny Ashby and Cooper Combs getting hit by a pitch setup English with two outs. English took a pitch out over the plate and sent it out to right field to give KU a 4-0 lead after four innings.
• In the fifth inning, John Nett walked and Kodey Shojinaga hit a ground-rule double to start the frame, and with one out Hartl drove a ball out to right field to extend the lead to 7-0.
• Steitz’s final inning of work came in the sixth as he navigated around a leadoff double and left the runner stranded at third to complete a quality start in his first career appearance as a Jayhawk.
• UIC pushed a run across in the eighth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Rayth Petersen, but Kansas got out of the inning on a line drive double play.
• English answered the UIC score with his second home run of the day on a towering fly to left field.
• Illinois-Chicago finished the scoring for the day with a solo home run off the bat of Jack Snyder to wrap up the game at 8-2.

Win: Patrick Steitz (1-0)
Final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO
Loss: Kendall Lyons (0-1)
Final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 6 SO

Patrick Steitz: The transfer from Central Arizona College tossed a quality start in his first career appearance as a Jayhawk. The 6’8” righty threw six scoreless innings allowing only four hits and striking out five while walking none. He is the first Jayhawk to have a quality start this season. He only allowed one runner to reach second base all day.


Hartl pushed the Kansas lead to 7-0 with a three-run bomb in the fifth inning. He has two three-run homers in as many days.

“What we did today is who we are. We didn’t walk a sole in the fall and we didn’t walk anyone in the early spring. I think sometimes on Opening Day you try to do too much. We were so uncharacteristic the last couple days on the mound. What Patrick did is what he has always done. He’s an incredible strike thrower and really tough and competitive.

The moral of the story is what we’ve always known – when you do what you’re good at you have a chance. We were just trying to do too much the last couple days. It was fun to see the guys relax, compete and enjoy the process a little more.” – Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald

“I just went out there and competed. I didn’t try to do anything special. I just went out there and tried to get a win for the team. To be the Sunday starter is to finish the series the best we can. I definitely felt like this got the team going a little bit after dropping the first two games.” – Patrick Steitz

• Steitz recorded his first career quality start as a Jayhawk.
• English is the second Jayhawk with a multi-home run game this season. Shojinaga hit two home runs in the season opener on Friday night. The multi-homer game is the second of English’s career (Feb. 26, 2023 vs. Oakland). English’s five RBIs were a career high.
• Hartl has hit a three-run homer in back-to-back games.
• Cooper Combs was hit by a pitch three times. He is the first Jayhawk to be hit by a pitch three times in the same game since Matt McLaughlin vs. Benedictine on March 30, 2016.

Kansas (1-2) will play Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT at Whataburger Field. The game will be broadcast on FloBaseball and live audio will be available on the Jayhawk Sports Network.