|Updated: 4/05 10:35 pm
||Published: 4/05 10:34 pm
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Oklahoma State returned to the road for the first time in nearly two months Friday night and suffered a 7-5 loss to Kansas at Hoglund Ballpark.
Playing away from Stillwater for the first time since Feb. 17, the 19th-ranked Cowboys fell behind by seven runs after four innings and a late comeback bid fell short as they dropped to 21-7 overall and 3-3 in Big 12 Conference play.
Jason Hursh suffered his second-straight loss on the mound as the sophomore allowed seven runs, four of them earned, on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander also surrendered four walks as he fell to 3-2 on the season.
“We played much better the last six innings, but the key is to come out and play good baseball the first three,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “We were not sharp and made numerous mistakes in the first three innings… We didn’t get into a competitive, settled mode until the fourth inning.
“Not the way you draw it up and certainly not what you anticipate coming into a Friday night game, but definitely a reality in this league if you don't play well for nine innings.”
Kansas (17-11, 4-3) took advantage of an OSU error in the bottom of the third inning to plate its first three runs. Following a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt, Michael Suiter, who was 4-for-5 in the contest, singled to put Jayhawks on first and third. Up next, Alex DeLeon, sent a grounder to third that Robbie Rea fielded and fired home. However, Cowboy catcher Victor Romero was unable to make the catch as KU’s first run scored.
Later in the inning, the Jayhawks got RBI singles from Dakota Smith and Jacob Boylan to add two more unearned runs and make the score 3-0.
KU rallied for four more runs in the fourth to drive Hursh from the game. It marked the first time in eight starts this season that Hursh had failed to work at least six innings.
In the fourth, Suiter collected two RBIs on a double, and Boylan picked up a two-RBI single to give the Jayhawks a 7-0 lead.
The Cowboys finally got to KU starter Thomas Taylor (3-0) in the fifth. After a one-out double by Gage Green and a walk to Donnie Walton, Saulyer Saxon brought home both runners with an opposite-field double to trim OSU’s deficit to 7-2.
Following Hursh’s rough start, Reid Barnett came on in relief and kept KU off the scoreboard for 3 1/3 innings as he allowed just two hits. The appearance was just the fifth of the year for Barnett, who worked as many innings against KU as he had in his previous four outings combined.
“Reid Barnett was a real bright spot,” Holliday said. “Reid went out and kept us in the game at a point in time where we needed someone to hold us close so we could make a run at them.”
In the eighth inning, OSU would mount another rally. Tanner Krietemeier got things started with a leadoff double, and a walk to Fish and an infield single by Romero loaded the bases with no outs. Randy McCurry then singled to make it 7-3, and Rea followed with a sacrifice fly to trim KU’s lead to three.
The Cowboys weren’t done as Walton collected an RBI off Jordan Piche’ before the KU closer got Saxon to ground out to escape further damage.
In the ninth, OSU brought the tying run to the plate after a one-out walk to Krietemeier, but Fish grounded into a double play to end the game.
Saxon, Walton, Romero and Green each collected two hits for the Cowboys, who finished with 11 in the game.
The two teams will return to action Saturday at 2 pm.