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Heading into the weekend, it was a crucial series for Kansas and Kansas State due to the competitiveness the Big 12 offers. The Kansas State Wildcats would sweep the Dillions Sunflower Showdown, taking all three games from the Jayhawks. Kansas has now lost its last four games and is 17-18 overall and is 5-7, and in 7th in the Big 12.

Game 1

Game one presented the best weather during the series as the Jayhawks sent their ace, Colin Baumgartner, to the mound. Baumgartner would complete four innings of work surrendering six hits, four runs, three walks, and five strikeouts on 91 pitches. The bullpen controlled the remainder of the game very well, as Thaniel Trumper would follow Baumgartner. Trumper allowed one run, one walk, and six strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Stone Hewlett would take the mound following Trumper and finish the game, only giving up two hits, one walk, and one strikeout. Game one was the best pitching outing from the Jayhawks in the entire series. 

Head coach Dan Fitzgerald said, “Obviously, we need to clean some things up. It was uncharacteristic of Baumgartner to have three walks in four innings, but Collin’s been as good as any Friday night guy in the country in terms of his consistency. Days like that happen, and we have to be able to do something different as an offense. I thought we left some runs on the board. There’s a reason they call it a series, and there’s a reason you play three games. We have a good guy going tomorrow, and we’ll be ready to go.”

Chase Jans would have one of the most memorable series in Jayhawk history, starting with game one. Jans would go 2-of-4 with a run scored and drawing a walk.   Jans also made a diving catch in left-field that led to a double play.  The highlight would land on Sports Center Top 10 at No. 2.

Another Jayhawk that continues to impress at the plate is freshman Kodey Shojinaga. Shojinaga went 2-for-5 scoring two runs. The Kansas offense managed to get to Kansas State starter Owen Boerema. Boerema tossed 5 2/3 innings giving up seven hits, four runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts. The Jayhawks scored four runs on seven hits and four walks but struck out ten times and would lose 5-4.

Game 2

Game two was delayed twice due to weather before getting underway around 6:00 PM CST. The temperature would drop and be a blustery cold evening. Sam Ireland started for the Jayhawks, tossing 5 2/3 innings and giving up eight hits, five earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts on 108 pitches. Once again, the bullpen would remain elite as Bradford, Hewlette, and Dougan surrendered only one run and two hits. They would combine for six strikeouts finishing the game.

The Jayhawk offense was unable to get going, only managing to record four hits, one run, two walks, and once again struck out ten times. Cole Elvis would get two hits, going 2-for-4, extending his hit streak to 11 games. Freshman Cooper Kelly would get the start at third base, going 1-for-3 scoring a run, and drawing a walk. Kansas would lose their second home game of the season, 6-1.

Game 3

Hold on to your hats, as game three was extremely windy and full of offense. The Jayhawks would deploy Hunter Cranton to start the game. Cranton would complete 1 1/3 innings giving up seven hits, seven runs, two walks, and one strikeout. The Wildcats sophomore third basemen Kaelen Culpepper erupted, going 2-for-4 with six RBIs, and scored two runs. Designated hitter Kyan Lodice also had an impressive day for the Wildcats, going 2-for-6 and recording six RBIs and two runs. Gavin Brasosky relieved Cranton. Brasosky would not complete an inning giving up three hits, five runs, three earned runs, and one walk before handing the baseball over to Hunter Cashero. Cashero would complete 1 2/3 innings giving up three hits, three runs, two earned runs, and one walk. Six pitchers would follow Cashero as the Wildcats continued to hit all day. The remaining six pitchers would allow six hits, five runs, five walks, and six strikeouts. Stone Hewlett was one of those pitchers. He would appear in all three games of the series and has not allowed a run over 12 1/3 innings. The Jayhawk pitching staff would combine for 226 pitches. The wind was a factor for both sides.

One of the most impressive displays of offense came from Chase Jans. Jans would come to the plate seven times. His first two at-bats resulted in strikeouts before taking advantage of bases loaded opportunity. Jans would crush the baseball 439 ft to left-center for a grand slam. He would finish the day going 5-for-7 with nine RBIs and four runs. The nine RBIs would tie a school record set in 1993. Jans was not the only Jayhawk hitter to have an impressive day. 

Freshman Kodey Shojinaga would go 4-for-6 driving in two RBIs, drawing one walk, and scoring two runs. Shojinaga would foul a ball off his shin, and it put into question whether he would remain in the game. After shaking it off, he would go on and have an incredible day at the plate. 

Freshman Cooper Kelly would move over and start at shortstop for the Jayhawks. He had an incredible day at the plate, going 2-for-4, driving in one, scoring three, and drawing an impressive three walks. 

The Jayhawks would have 46 at-bats, scoring 18 runs on 17 hits, nine walks, and 15 strikeouts. Head coach Dan Fitzgerald talked about Jans, saying, “He’s come a long way and has done a great job. He’s worked really hard and is a great kid. He left some guys on base in his first couple of at-bats, so he had a chance to shatter [the record]. He’s super talented, and it’s been a good season for him.”

The Jayhawks have a quick turnaround as they will take on Air Force for a mid-week series. The first game is on Tuesday, April 18th, at 6:00 PM CST. Game two is on Wednesday, April 19th, at 3:00 PM CST.