Mesa, Ariz. Kansas University used a seven-run eighth inning to break a tie and defeat Nevada, 11-4, on Friday in its baseball opener.
Senior shortstop Kevin Kuntz went 3-for-5, including a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth, when the Jayhawks broke a 4-all tie.
Sophomore Dakota Smith collected the go-ahead RBI with a single to center field after junior Tucker Tharp and senior Alex DeLeon reached base ahead of him. After a walk to sophomore Michael Suiter, freshman Jacob Boylan gave KU a 6-4 lead with a hit through the left side of the infield.
Junior Ka’iana Eldredge drew a bases-loaded walk to force in KU’s seventh run, setting the stage for Kuntz’s one-out single to right-center that plated Suiter and pinch runner Joe Luvisi. Senior Jordan Dreiling drove in KU’s sixth run of the inning with his second double of the afternoon, and Kuntz capped the rally by scoring on an errant throw back to the pitcher.
Sophomore Robert Kahana was the beneficiary of the run support. After entering the game in the top of the eighth with the score tied, Kahana stranded runners on first and second by inducing a fly out by Nevada catcher Ryan Teel to keep the game tied. The second-year righty clinched his first victory of the season by setting the Wolf Pack down in order in the ninth.
Junior right-handed pitcher Frank Duncan pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He looked dominant early, retiring nine of the first 10 men he faced, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning.
The teams will meet again today in game two of the four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CST.
Kansas 11, Nevada 4
Nevada 000 301 000 — 4 8 1
Kansas 030 001 07x — 11 8 0
W— Robert Kahana (1-0). L — Whitt (0-1).
2B — Gerig, N; Jordan Dreiling 2, KU.
KU highlights: Kevin Kuntz 3-for-5, 2 RBIs; Dreiling 2-for-3, 2 RBIs; Michael Suiter 2-for-3; Justin Protacio 2 RBIs.
KU record: 1-0. Next for KU: 2 p.m. today vs. Nevada in Mesa, Ariz.