No. 7 Texas used a five-run eighth inning to break away from Kansas and post an 11-6 win in Big 12 Conference baseball action Thursday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Ahead 6-4 entering the top of the eighth, Texas (27-9, 8-2) sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame. Nick Peoples hit a leadoff home run over the wall in left centerfield to start the rally. Russell Moldenhauer hit a pinch-hit double to the gap in left centerfield and Jordan Danks followed with a single to plate pinch runner Michael Demperio. After Chance Wheeless grounded into a fielder’s choice to swap places with Danks at first, Kyle Russell hit a triple down the rightfield line to add the third run of the inning. Bradley Suttle hit a sacrifice fly to plate Russell. Preston Clark and Travis Tucker walked setting up an RBI single through the left side of the infield by Josh Prince and Texas left its half of the inning with an 11-4 lead.
Texas pounced on the Jayhawks early with a run in the first inning. Danks drew a walk to start the inning. Wheeless grounded into a fielder’s choice to take Danks spot at first base, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Suttle through the left side of the infield.
Kansas (17-19, 3-7) claimed the lead in the bottom half of the second. After an infield single by Erik Morrison, Ryne Price was hit by a pitch and Buck Alenir hit a two-run double down the leftfield line, staking Kansas to a 2-1 lead.
Texas regained the lead with two runs in the top of the third. With one out, Wheeless doubled off the wall in right centerfield. Russell singled to rightfield, plating Wheeless and moved to third on an error by KU’s rightfielder Brock Simpson. Suttle drove in Russell with a groundout to third base, giving UT a 3-2 advantage.
The Longhorns tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth. Wheeless hit a leadoff double down the rightfield line. With one out, Suttle drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Clark plated Wheeless with a double to leftfield and Tucker pushed Suttle across with a groundout, inflating the cushion to 5-2.
Kansas shaved a pair of runs off the lead with a two-run home run by Brock Simpson over the wall in right centerfield, trimming the Texas lead to 5-4.
In the sixth inning, Peoples hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chais Fuller and scored on a single to rightfield by Danks, pushing the lead to 6-4.
Kansas made a late charge with two runs in the bottom of the eighth scoring on sacrifice flies by Ryne Price and Alenir.
Wheeless went 2-for-6 with four runs scored and two doubles. It marked the fourth time on the season and the second consecutive game that Wheeless logged two doubles in a game. Peoples went 3-for-5 with one home run and two runs scored. Suttle drove in three runs giving him seven RBI over the last two games. Russell and Danks each added two hits and two RBI.
Robby Price led Kansas’ offense going 2-for-5 with one run scored. Alenir was 1-for-3 with three RBI.
James Russell (7-2) earned the win as he pitched six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Nick Czyz (2-5) was saddled with the loss for Kansas. He allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits and three walks while striking out seven over six innings.
Texas and Kansas return Hoglund Park for game two of the series Friday at 3 p.m.