Lack of offense hurts baseball team against Oklahoma
- Apr. 29, 2012
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The Kansas baseball team (17-27, 4-13 Big 12) dropped its second game of the series Saturday night 8-2 to Oklahoma.
In front of a season-best 1,682 people at Hoglund Ballpark, the Jayhawks failed to take advantage of opportunities. Kansas left 10 runners on base in the ball game, including two innings with the bases loaded.
After junior third baseman Jordan Dreiling knocked in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly, the Kansas offense disappeared as Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray pitched a dominant 6.1 innings. Gray’s fastball was consistently measured in the mid-90s, and the Kansas hitters could not adjust.
“It’s definitely something we haven’t really seen much this year,” senior catcher James Stanfield said of Gray’s fastball. “But it all comes down to getting ready to hit.”
The Sooners jumped ahead of Kansas in the fifth inning when third baseman Max White took an 0-1 pitch from freshman pitcher Wes Benjamin the opposite way for a three-run homer. The home run came with two outs, and Benjamin did not return in the sixth inning.
In a losing effort, freshman pitcher Wes Benjamin put together another quality start. Benjamin went five innings and allowed three runs on five hits, walking three batters. The loss dropped Benjamin to 2-6 on the season, and Stanfield would like to see Benjamin improve in three-ball counts.
“He’s pretty mature for a freshman, but there are certain situations when a lefty is up, and White is the next guy after him, it’s pretty crucial to get that guy and not get to him,” Stanfield said. “But he did a really good job today for a freshman. He kept us in it.”
Despite collecting just four hits in the ball game, the Jayhawks trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth inning with a chance to rally. However, Oklahoma’s top-half of the inning ended any chance for a Kansas comeback. The Sooners scored five runs on six hits, which all-but-secured another Big 12 road win.
With Texas Tech defeating Missouri on Saturday night, the Jayhawks and Red Raiders are tied for the final spot in the Big 12 Tournament. Kansas must finish in eighth place or better to qualify for the tournament, which makes Sunday’s game against Oklahoma even more important for coach Ritch Price’s club.
“Any time we’re playing someone in the top 25, we need to pick up a ‘w’ and stay in contention,” Price said. “It will give ourselves an opportunity to get in the thing late.”
Junior pitcher Thomas Taylor (4-5, 4.08 ERA) was due to take the mound Sunday afternoon, but severe weather and heavy rain canceled the series finale. There will be no make-up game scheduled, so the Jayhawks’ attention turns to a non-conference matchup with Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday.
“We need to come out with energy,” Stanfield said. “Any time we come out with energy and stay on them inning-for-inning, we’ve been really successful.”
Edited by Pat Strathman