KU Baseball Defeats Hawaii-Hilo in Game One

KU Baseball Defeats Hawaii-Hilo in Game One

<strong>KONA, Hawaii</strong> - The University of Kansas baseball team defeated Hawaii-Hilo, 7-6, in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Simmons' Field in Kona, Hawaii, to begin the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002.<br>

The Jayhawks (2-0) were able to jump out to an early lead for the second straight day as they plated two runs in the top of the second inning. Senior designated hitter Jake Kauzlarich lead off the inning with a sharp single to left field, which was misplayed by the left fielder allowing Kauzlarich to advance to second. Junior right fielder Gus Milner followed with bunt single. After a Ryne Price ground out moved the runners to second and third, freshman third baseman Erik Morrison singled up the middle to drive in both runners and give KU a 2-0 lead.

Morrison finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with the first two RBI of his collegiate career.

Kansas starter Sean Land worked out of a jam in the bottom of the third to preserve the KU lead. After recording the first out of the inning by strikeout, Land allowed singles to the next two batters to give Hawaii-Hilo runners on the corners with only one out. Land recovered to record back-to-back strikeouts to send the game to the third inning with KU in the lead 2-0. For the game, Land finished with six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings pitched.

Junior shortstop Ritchie Price led off the top of third inning with his first home run of the season. Price took a 2-0 offering from Vulcan starter John Pinasco and drove it over the wall in left field to give the Jayhawks a 3-0 advantage. Kauzlarich and Ryne Price added a RBI doubles in the inning to extend the KU lead to 5-0.

Ritchie Price and senior catcher Sean Richardson finished the game with a team hit three hits.

Hawaii-Hilo (0-7) battled back to put five runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning to knot the game at five runs apiece. The Vulcans were able to pound out five hits in the inning and took advantage of one Jayhawk error.

Senior reliever Andrew Rebar (1-0) replaced Land with the bases loaded and two outs in the inning and allowed only one inherited runner. Rebar pitched 1 1/3 innings to earn his first win of the season.

Kansas regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Morrison lead off the inning with a double to left center field and was moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Matt Baty, who was safe a first on an error by the Vulcan first baseman. Morrison was able to score the go-ahead run in the next at bat on a sacrifice fly by junior first baseman Jared Schweitzer.

KU added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning as Richardson led the inning off with a double and scored two batters later on a RBI single by junior right fielder Gus Milner.

Junior closer Don Czyz pitched the final two innings for KU and allowed only one hit and one unearned run while striking out three to pick up his first save of the season.

"We had to play through some adversity today," said KU head coach Ritch Price. "We jumped out to a big lead, but we let them back in it with a costly error in the fourth. Our bullpen did a nice job today. Andrew Rebar was a bit shaky when he first came in, but he recovered to get us out of the fourth and kept them off the board in the fifth. Don Czyz came in and got into a little trouble, but got out of it. That's what good closers do."

Kansas and Hawaii-Hilo will play game two of the doubleheader following the conclusion of game one at Simmons' Field.

Story courtesy: KUAC

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