LAWRENCE, Kan. – Recording just one hit in the last six frames, the Kansas baseball team fell to Oklahoma State, 7-0, Friday night at Reynolds Field.
In his third career start on the mound, senior righty Jordan Piche’ (4-5) battled deep in the game for the Jayhawks (23-17, 6-7 Big 12) preserving the bullpen for the rest of the weekend as the squad faces the Cowboys (27-11, 9-4 Big 12) two more times in the conference series.
“That’s the best start he’s had since we put him in the rotation three weeks ago,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I couldn’t have been more pleased. To hold that offensive club, one of the best in the league, to one run through six innings was just fabulous on his part.”
In his first two starts on the bump for KU, Piche’ gave up 11 runs off 18 hits, including five home runs. The hurler took the mound Friday night with a renewed spirit and tossed a gem through the first six innings. Piche’ gave up one run off five hits in the first six, before the wheels fell off the wagon for KU.
The game got out of hand in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Cowboys put up a crooked number six on the scoreboard. Piche’ started the seventh on the bump and gave up five-straight hits, three bunt singles, to start the inning, failing to record an out. Two more base hits and a KU throwing error plated six runs for OSU to put the game out of reach, 7-0.
“Obviously in the seventh inning, the game got away from us a little bit,” Price said. “The drag bunt for a base hit, and then they execute the two push bunt base hits and end up putting up a six spot in the inning and blow the game wide open. That was a fabulous performance through six innings and hopefully next weekend he’ll [Piche’] pitch through inning number seven and beyond to give us an opportunity to win.”
Kansas called upon junior right-hander Drew Morovick to get the Jayhawks through the final two innings. He allowed one run off four hits and a walk. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Pidhaichuk led KU with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, while four others recorded one base knock in the loss, including junior left fielder Michael Suiter who extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
“We had five hits in the first three innings and I was really pleased with the way we attacked [Jon] Perrin early,” Price said. “He settled in after the double-play ball in the third, and just completely dominated.”
OSU righty and Olathe, Kan., native Perrin (5-2) retired 19 of the last 21 Kansas batters, after getting out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning.
Junior right fielder Connor McKay walked to the plate with bases loaded and one out for the Jayhawks, looking to jump out to the early lead. McKay swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded it right to Oklahoma State second baseman Tim Arakawa for the four, six, three double play, which took the wind out of the sails for KU.
Kansas also picked up a couple hits in the second inning, but failed to score after an inning-ending ground out by sophomore third baseman Colby Wright.
“Any time in this game when you get beat on Friday night, it starts with your starting pitching on Saturday to get some momentum back in your dugout,” Price said.
Junior righty Robert Kahana looks to provide that momentum as he and the Jayhawks are back on the field Saturday for game two of the three-game conference series against the Cowboys. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.