Jayhawks hitting leads to victory over Wildcats
- Apr. 25, 2012
- 1 Comment
The Jayhawks have been playing their stretch of baseball in the last two weeks. With Wednesday’s 8-7 victory in 11 innings over the Kansas State Wildcats, the Jayhawks improve to 5-2 in their last seven games and 17-25 on the season.
Pitching wasn’t the problem for Kansas when the team was struggling earlier in the season. Kansas pitchers have posted a solid 4.27 ERA. However, consistent hitting has been the problem. They Jayhawks rank last in the Big 12 in batting average, hitting just .247 as a club, — 23 points lower than the next team.
On Wednesday night, the Kansas offense delivered as Jayhawk hitters spread 14 hits, including two homers and a double, over 11 innings. Every offensive player got on base at least once.
“I thought they really did a good job of staying back behind the ball,” coach Ritch Price said of the offense. “We put some really good swings on the ball early.”
The Jayhawks have now scored at least four runs in six of their last eight games. In their last five victories, they’ve posted an average winning margin of 3.6 runs.
Wednesday’s hero, senior third baseman Zac Elgie, said the team is finally starting to come together at the plate.
“We’re finally starting to gel,” Elgie said. “We had guys who would have real good months, and we would have some guys who would have sub-par months. Now we’re starting to get some hits together as a group.”
After allowing a run in the top of the first inning, sophomore outfielder Tucker Tharp leveled the score immediately, belting a leadoff homer to center field. His blast prompted an inning in which the Jayhawks scored six runs and sent 11 batters to the plate.
It was the Jayhawks’ biggest inning since they scored eight runs in the second at Minnesota on March 10.
Junior first baseman Jake Marasco singled and scored in the first inning. Marasco had been struggling lately, going 5-for-32 (.156) in his last 10 games before going 2-for-4 with a walk against the Wildcats.
“Things got rolling in the first inning,” Marasco said. “You got guys from the top of the lineup to the bottom contributing, and that’s the ideal scenario.”
Kansas left 12 men on base, including three different innings when they left the bases loaded.
“It’s great, we finally caught a break,” Tharp said. “We’ve been there before and it’s ended poorly. It’s about time.”
The increase in production starts with the team’s upperclassmen. Batters like Elgie and Marasco have struggled with consistency throughout the season. On Wednesday upperclassmen combined to go 8-for-22 (.364) with six walks, five runs and three RBIs.
“You can see the difference in the number of runs we’re putting up,” Price said. “It’s almost doubled since we’re starting to get some production out of Elgie, Marasco, Alex DeLeon and Chris Manship.”
Edited by Bre Roach