Kansas’ baseball team failed to hold a six-run lead after six innings and fell to Virginia, 9-6, in the Charleston Crab House Challenge on Sunday in Charleston, S.C.
KU starter Taylor Turski pitched six shutout innings but left after allowing one run in the seventh inning.
Virgina scored four runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to tie the score, then added three runs in the top of the ninth. Tyler Davis yielded a three-run home run in the seventh. Stephen Villines, who came in to pitch to start the eighth inning, took the loss.
“(Turski) was special,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “I think that was the most exciting thing about today. He gave us six great innings, and when he breezed right through the sixth, we tried to run him out there in the seventh against the left-handed hitters he had success against. Unfortunately, he got off to a bad start and Davis couldn’t stop it. To their credit, they have three projected really high draft picks in that lineup, and before it was over, they really hurt us.”
KU built its lead against 16th-ranked Virginia with four runs in the third inning and two in the sixth.
“We looked at today like it was a great opportunity,” Price said. “You had the opportunity to play the 2015 national champions and beat a team ranked in the top-20. I was pleased with the way we went about our business. We grinded and worked hard, and our energy level was high. Unfortunately, our pitching couldn’t hold on, but I have great faith in those relievers, and they will get the ball again. I trust them and they will get it straightened out.”
The Jayhawks (1-2) were led by junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin, who went 3-for-5 effort with two RBIs. Sophomore third baseman David Kyriacou went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored, and freshmen James Cosentino and Peyton Grassanovits each scored twice.
“I was pleased with the way we played offensively,” Price said. “When you play a team ranked in the top-20 in the country and score six runs like that, we need to find a way to win a baseball game. We had some really good at-bats early. We were physical with the bats against the left hander — that is their best guy.
“Their bullpen completely shut us down,” Price said. “They came in and mixed in the breaking ball and dominated our lineup. We have to identify the breaking ball that is out of the zone and stay off of it.”
The Jayhawks will be home to play Omaha at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Virginia 000 000 423 — 9 11 2
Kansas 004 002 000 — 6 10 2
W — Tommy Doyle (1-0). L — Stephen Villines (0-1).
2B — Jake McCarthy, Va.; Marcus Wheeler, Peyton Grassanovits, KU. HR — Pavin Smith, Charlie Cody, Va.