Columbia, Mo. Freshman Ka’iana Eldredge went 3-for-3 with a key two-out RBI single, while three Kansas University pitchers held Missouri scoreless as the Jayhawks earned their first series victory over the Tigers in Columbia since 1983 with a 6-0 triumph Sunday afternoon.
KU won its third consecutive Big 12 series and improved to 18-18 overall and 8-7 in Big 12 play. The Tigers fell to 14-22 overall and 2-9. The Jayhawks had not shut out Missouri in Columbia since 1962.
Alex Cox, Thomas Taylor and Frank Duncan held Missouri scoreless on eight hits. Cox earned his second win in two weeks, going 52⁄3 innings and allowing no runs on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
“He was special today, especially in this environment with the intensity level in this ballpark anytime Kansas and Missouri play,” KU coach Ritch Price said of Cox. “He got into trouble a few times, but every time he got into trouble he made a big pitch and got a double-play ball and got out of it. It was a tremendous performance by a freshman.”
The key moment for Cox came in the second when the Tigers loaded the bases with one out, and the freshman pitcher induced a second-to-short-to-first double play to end the threat. Missouri stranded 12 men Sunday, including nine in scoring position.
Meanwhile, KU scored in the first inning and kept adding throughout the afternoon.
“I was really proud of our team,” Price said. “In the past when we’ve come down here, we’ve gotten boat-raced the next day. It shows how much this team has matured and the toughness that is in our dugout.”
Taylor and Duncan closed out on the mound, pitching the final 41⁄3 innings. Taylor entered in the sixth with the bases loaded and got Brandon Champagne to ground out to first to end the threat.
“They were both really good today, too,” Price said of his relievers. “They allowed us not to have to use (KU closer) Colton (Murray), after he pitched yesterday. That was a great as well. It’s really exciting for not only right now, but for our future to start a freshman and then bring in a sophomore and have a freshman close it out. ”