SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Kansas scored eight two-out runs, including three during a decisive fourth-inning rally, to halt its 11-game losing streak with a 9-4 victory over Missouri State Wednesday evening at Hammons Field.
Jaxx Groshans drove in four runs with a 3-for-5 performance, while five Kansas hurlers limited the Bears (27-14) to one hit over the final five innings and just four for the night.
After the Bears rallied to even the score on a Hunter Steinmetz two-out single in the bottom of the third, the Jayhawks (20-24) erupted for three runs in the ensuing inning to seize the lead for good. MSU reliever Davis Schwab (1-1) quickly dispatched the first two hitters of the inning, but plunked No. 9 hitter Benjamin Sems to give KU new life.
Mateo Zunica lined a base hit to center, before James Cosentino’s RBI single snapped the 1-1 tie. Groshans turned it into a three-run game with the first of his two two-run doubles to left.
MSU answered back on a leadoff home run by Ben Whetstone in the home half of the fourth, but KU followed with single tallies against Bears lefty Nate Witherspoon in each of the following two frames to stretch the margin to 6-2. Back-to-back singles by Brendt Citta and Brett Vosik set up Owen Taylor’s run-scoring grounder in the fifth, before Cosentino struck again with a two-out solo shot that banged off the right-field foul pole in the sixth.
From there, the KU bullpen took care of the rest, setting down 13 of the 15 MSU hitters who followed Whetstone’s round-tripper, before a one-out walk to Jeremy Eierman set up Drew Millas‘s two-run homer in the eighth.
Johah Ulane (1-2) picked up his first collegiate victory, allowing one MSU run on one hit over 1 1/3 innings, before Tyler Davis and Zack Leban combined on 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.
Cosentino complimented Groshans night by going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, while both Devin Foyle and Citta added two-hit efforts in KU’s first victory since an April 10 win at Omaha.
Steinmetz went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, while Matt Brown also reached base safely in three of his four trips to the plate for MSU.
Missouri State returns to Missouri Valley Conference action Friday (May 4), when the Bears open a three-game set with a 3 p.m., contest against Valparaiso at Bauer Field.