For the second weekend in a row, Kansas baseball split a 4-game weekend set versus a collection of teams at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, FL.
The Jayhawks entered the weekend at 2-5. The offense has been good so far, but the Jayhawks were looking to improve on their pitching.
"Our offense showed up and played last weekend (in Arizona) but the pitching kind of fell short," SP Drew Morovick said. "We went 2-2, instead of 3-1 or even 4-0, so it is very important for us to go down to Florida and throw strikes and get back on track."
Game 1 - Kansas 15, Chicago State 2
KU met up with Chicago State on Thursday evening. The bats stayed hot, and KU was up 8-0 after just two innings. CF Joven Afenir led the way for Kansas with a 3-for-3 performance that included two walks and an RBI. SP Hayden Edwards recorded 9 strikeouts in 6.0 innings while only allowing five hits. KU kept piling on the runs, and by the eighth inning led 15-2, at which point both the coaches and umpires agreed to call the game with the unsafe playing conditions brought on by steady rain throughout the game. The win moved KU to 12-0 all-time versus Chicago State.
Game 2 - North Dakota State 5, Kansas 0
Friday night saw KU meet up with North Dakota State. Kansas bats started off hot, tallying four hits in the first two innings, but saw baserunners erased on double play balls. Unfortunately for KU, that was as good as it would get as the Jayhawks would get shutout by a 5-0 score. SP Drew Morovick pitched well, matching the NDSU starter through six innings, before getting bit by the long ball. Morovick allowed a grand slam home run in the NDSU 7th inning. The Bison would add another run in the top of the 9th to finish the scoring.
This was a particularly disappointing game for Kansas, as it was NDSU's first win of the year. Their starter began the game with an ERA over 5.00, and the player that hit the grand slam is batting under .100 for the year. If the Jayhawks hope to be taken seriously this year, they need to get wins against teams like this. (Edit: After this weekend, NDSU fell to 1-8 on the year. Juan Gomez, who hit the grand slam, is 3-for-22 on the season.)
Game 3 - Kansas 6, Northeastern 4
Saturday afternoon, Kansas met up with Northeastern. The KU pitching staff was able to pitch around baserunners all game long, stranding 11 Huskies on the day, and Kansas came away with the 6-4 win. Kansas was led offensively by 2B Colby Wright (2/3, 2 R) and 1B Blair Beck (2/4, 2 RBI). SP Ben Krauth went 6.0 innings, working around 8 hits and 2 walks while only allowing 3 runs and striking out 5. CL Stephen Villines picked up his second save of the year, a two-inning effort.
Game 4 - Boston College 6, Kansas 4
Sunday afternoon brought KU to a matchup with Boston College. The Jayhawks jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but BC capitalized on Kansas miscues to put up six runs in the 6-4 victory over the Jayhawks. As a team, the Jayhawks only posted six hits on the afternoon. 2B Colby Wright led Kansas with a two-for-two effort that included a walk and a hit-by-pitch. SP Sean Rackoski only went 4.2 innings. He was charged with four runs, three earned, after giving up six hits and two walks while only striking out one.
Kansas will travel back to the state of Arizona for a midweek, two-game series against Grand Canyon State University on March 3 and 4. You can listen to those games on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
Following that, the Jayhawks will return to Lawrence for their home opening weekend series against Utah, Friday - Sunday, March 6-8. Last week, KU met with Utah in the Big 12 / Pac 12 Challenge, defeating the Utes 6-3. The games against Utah you can catch on ESPN3.