Jayhawks Headed to Big 12 Tournament

Jayhawks Headed to Big 12 Tournament

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Senior catcher Sean Richardson went 2-for-5 at the plate with a home run and three RBI to lead the Jayhawks to a 7-5 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday in front of 1,258 fans at Hoglund Ballpark.

The win clinches the series for the Jayhawks and improves KU's overall mark this season to 36-25 and 11-14 in Big 12 play. The victory also ensures Kansas a spot in next week's Big 12 Tournament, which will be held at Oklahoma City's Bricktown Ballpark. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, falls to 32-23 overall and 11-15 in conference action.

"This has been one of the best days coaching that I have had since I have been here at Kansas," said KU head coach Ritch Price. "I am proud of the progress that we have made. We are playing with a lot of maturity."

Just as it did in the series opener, Kansas jumped out to an early lead by plating three runs in the home half of the first inning. Richardson, who tallied four RBI in the series opener, drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the series with a two-run double and junior first baseman Jared Schweitzer chipped in as he plated Richardson with a RBI single in the next at bat.

In the top of the third inning, the Cowboys broke through on the scoreboard by tallying a run on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Adam Carr and a RBI single from designated hitter Cody Merrel.

Richardson and the Jayhawks struck back in the bottom of the third inning as the Vista, Calif., native led the frame off with his sixth home run of the season and freshman Erik Morrison tallied a RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field After three innings Kansas led to 5-2.

Oklahoma State was able to score a run in the fifth inning after Kansas starter Mike Zagurski was charged with a balk after allowing back-to-back singles to begin the frame.

Zagurski (8-4) held on to pick up the win, his fourth straight over a Big 12 opponent, allowing four runs on ten hits while notching six strikeouts. The Omaha, Neb., native has struck out 110 batters this season and trails only Roger Slagle, who struck out 111 batters during the 1976 campaign, on the KU single season strike list.

In the home half of the sixth inning, Kansas was able to pad its lead by two runs as the Jayhawks loaded the bases for Schweitzer and Jake Kauzlarich, who each drew walks to plate a run.

The Cowboys did not go quietly in the late innings as they pushed across two runs in the top of the eighth off KU reliever Don Czyz cutting the Jayhawk lead to 7-5. Czyz allowed them no closer, as he pitched a scoreless ninth to wrap up the win for Kansas.

The series win over OSU is the first for Kansas since the 1993 season.

"We have a lot of leadership that helps us get through adversity," Price added. "Both teams are very competitive and played hard today."

Kansas will go for its first sweep of a Big 12 opponent this season on Sunday as the two teams square off in a 1 p.m. match-up at Hoglund Ballpark. Before the game, KU will honor the senior members of this season's team for their accomplishments at Kansas.

Story courtesy: KUAC

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