Texas clubs past Kansas in Big 12 home opener

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Playing catchup in nearly every inning, Kansas baseball answered every early Texas run, but ran out of steam in the latter stages of a 5-3 Big 12 Conference home opening loss Friday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.
Matt McLaughlin extended his now 11-game hit streak with a 2-for-3 effort. McLaughlin and Rudy Karre tallied four of Kansas’ (10-15, 1-3 Big 12) five-total hits.
“It has been really fun to watch McLaughlin during this streak,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He was a good player when he got here and he has elevated his play each and every year and turned himself into a professional baseball prospect. He was clearly the best player on the field for us tonight.”
Texas (19-10, 4-3 Big 12) touched up KU’s pitching staff for 11 hits and starter Nolan Kingham (4-2) turned in seven innings and allowed just four hits.
“I thought it was a really good college baseball game,” Price said. “We made a couple mistakes, but we gave ourselves a chance at the end. Kingham had really good numbers and is as good as advertised. We had opportunities with bases loaded and Kingham made all the right pitches to get out of it. If you are going to beat Texas on Friday night, you better win 3-2.”
Texas used a first inning Kacy Clemens homerun off of starter Sean Rackoski (3-3) to take a quick 1-0 lead.
Karre commenced the see-saw game with a double down the left field line out of the leadoff spot. A bunt moved Karre up to second base to later come around and score after an error by Texas’ third baseman, tying the contest, 1-1.
Trailing, 2-1, Kansas was once again able to match the Longhorns with a score of its own. This time, Karre was hit by a pitch, bunted over to second base and a McLaughlin single up the middle cinched the contest, 2-2, in the home half of the third, while boosting McLaughlin’s hit streak to 11-straight contests.
The back-and-forth affair resumed in the fourth as Texas doubled home an additional two runs to double up on Kansas, 4-2. McLaughlin’s scorching bat carried over into the fifth inning when he took the second pitch of his third at bat over the left field wall. His first four-bagger of the year sliced KU’s deficit to one run, 4-3.
Nearly identical to McLaughlin’s homerun a half inning earlier, Texas third baseman Ryan Reynolds placed the baseball far into the trees outside of the left-field wall for a 5-3 advantage the Jayhawks never recovered from.
Kansas faces Texas in the second game of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. The contest can be seen on the Jayhawk Television Network (in the state of Kansas) or ESPN3 (outside the coverage area). In addition, it can also be heard on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio or on the official “Kansas Jayhawks” app.
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