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Sunday, April 27, 2014

KU baseball routs BU for coach’s 1,000th victory

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— The Kansas University baseball team scored six runs on seven hits in the second inning and defeated Baylor, 10-2, on Saturday for KU coach Ritch Price’s 1,000th career victory.

The Jayhawks (25-20 overall, 8-9 Big 12) had six hits in a row during their second-inning surge. Dakota Smith, Ryan Pidhaichuk, and Tucker Tharp singled to load the bases, and Connor McKay drove a fastball to right center to get KU on the board, 2-0. Aaron Hernandez bunted to fill the bases again and Ka’iana Eldredge drove in two more with a single to the left side. A sacrifice bunt by Justin Protacio moved runners to second and third, and Colby Wright (single) and Michael Suiter (ground out) each scored one to put KU up, 6-0.

Kansas starter Robert Kahana allowed seven hits but held the Bears to two runs — one earned — in seven innings before Drew Morovick tossed two hitless innings in relief.

“The first two or three innings, I couldn’t locate my fastball,” said Kahana, who improved to 3-5. “But then after that I kind of got into a groove and figured out a way to get hitters out. Offensively, we swung the bats really well and we executed bunts. As a pitcher, you just have to go out there and keep throwing up zeroes and reward your offense just like they reward the pitching staff with run support.”

The Jayhawks rewarded Price with a milestone victory in a 35-year coaching career spanning four different levels.

“First off, I thank Ka’iana Eldredge for the nice words and giving me the game ball afterwards,” Price said. “He’s grown up in a baseball family like I have and I know he understands the sacrifice your family makes and the opportunities the game has given you. In 35 years, every place I have been I have loved. I thank all the players who have played for me in the past, the great teams I have been able to coach and the outstanding young assistants that have been with me for so many different clubs and places in my career. I’m really honored.”

Kansas goes for the series sweep against Baylor (19-24, 5-11) at 1:05 p.m. today. The game will be televised on Fox College Sports, channel 144 on WOW cable in Lawrence.

“As of right now, tomorrow is the biggest game of the season,” Hernandez said. “We just have to come out like we did today with the same mentality. Tomorrow can lean our season either way, and hopefully we come out on top.”

Kansas 060 003 100 — 10 13 0

Baylor 010 000 100 — 2 7 3

W — Robert Kahana, 3-5. L — Dillon Newman, 3-3. SV — None.

2B — Colby Wright, Kansas; Connor McKay, Kansas.

Kansas highlights: Kahana 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 K; Drew Morovick 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB; Aaron Hernandez 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 R; McKay 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R; Ka’iana Eldredge 1-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 R; Michael Suiter 1-for-4, 3 RBI.

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