Jayhawk pitchers step up and win against Saint Mary’s Spires
- Apr. 18, 2012
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While the Kansas offense struggled to put away the Saint Mary Spires (17-25) early, the pitchers made sure that the Saint Mary never posed a threat.
The Jayhawks (15-23, 3-9) shut out their opponent for just the second time this season, winning 6-0 Wednesday night at Hoglund Ballpark. Their only other shutout was the third game of the season against Belmont, a 2-0 victory. The Jayhawks have surrendered at least one run in their last 34 games this season.
And it wasn’t veteran players who didn’t allow a run either, four freshmen took the mound and only one upperclassman pitched, senior Matt Kohorst.
“We really like our young players,” coach Ritch Price said. “We’re the youngest team in the country in a BCS conference.”
Freshman starter Drew Morovick (3-1, 5.08) worked into the fifth inning for just the third time this season. He threw 5.0 innings allowing no runs on two hits. He struck out two batters on the evening.
It was the only time this season that Morovick didn’t allow a run while pitching more than two innings.
“Every time we go out to the mound before an inning we’re told to put up a zero,” Morovick said. “It’s kind of like our job. It’s been beaten into our minds all fall and now in the spring. It’s our job to put up zeros.”
Morovick has also been fighting the flu since last week. He said his appetite had returned only recently. He missed his last start against Wichita State a week ago.
“It felt great that I’m not sick and I got to go out and pitch,” Morovick said. “I love this team, and I love being around these guys. I’m glad we got another shutout.”
Another freshman, Colin Toalson (0-1, 4.40), relieved Morovick and took the game into the seventh inning. Toalson is just one of a number of young pitchers who get playing time during midweek games.
He threw two innings on the evening, allowing only one hit and striking out one.
“Playing these games like this and getting freshmen playing time, just seeing those guys out there pumps the younger guys up even more,” Toalson said. “The older guys like to see it too. It’s kind of fun.”
Perhaps the best stat of the day for the Kansas pitchers, aside from the zero on the scoreboard, was that they did not surrender a walk in the game. Instead, they struck out more batters (6) than the number of hits recorded (5).
The Jayhawks are on a winning streak for the first time since the start of the season. “It feels like there is a new energy surrounding the team,” Toalson said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re really coming together. We have a new life kind of.”
With an offense that ranks last in the Big 12 in most categories, outings from pitchers like Wednesday’s will help.
Edited by Anna Allen