Kansas baseball traveled to Greenville, South Carolina this weekend to compete in the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field.
The Jayhawks lost 8-7 against Michigan State in the opening game on Friday, Feb. 28. It was senior pitcher Ryan Cyr’s third start of the season, and Kansas was quick to score early when senior infielder James Cosentino started the second inning with a double and scored on a single by sophomore Dylan Ditzenberger. In response, Michigan State scored three runs in the bottom of the third. The Spartans added three more runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh, making the Jayhawks desperate as they trailed 7-1.
The Jayhawks came alive in the eighth inning after two errors by the Spartans helped the Jayhawks score two unearned runs. Michigan State allowed the Jayhawks to tie the game in the top of the ninth, behind three walks and a throwing error. Michigan State responded with a walk-off single with two outs to win the game.
The Jayhawks (5-4) responded with a 9-3 win in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader against Ball State (2-6). Kansas was first on the scoreboard in the third inning after plating two runs. Ball State managed to get a run in the fifth off of the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, junior pitcher Everhett Hazelwood.
The Cardinals scored two runs to take the lead in the top of the sixth, but Kansas' offense shot back with seven runs in the bottom of the inning. Junior infielder Skyler Messinger drove in two runs with a single, and then senior outfielder Zach Hanna extended the lead with a three-run double.
A single by freshman catcher Anthony Tulimero plated Hanna, followed by a single from senior infielder Benjamin Sems, allowing sophomore outfielder Casey Burnham to score again for the Jayhawks. Neither team would score another run for the remainder of the game, resulting in a 9-3 Kansas win.
Kansas dropped the second game of the double header against the Cardinals 7-4.
Kansas struck first with a sacrifice fly by Sems in the first inning. Two innings later, junior outfielder Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi hit his first home run of the season, putting Kansas up by three runs.
Ball State answered with two runs in the bottom of the third. The Jayhawks scored their fourth and final run of the game with a sacrifice fly by Burnham in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals scored two more runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to put them in a comfortable lead.
On Sunday, the Jayhawks lost their final game of the invitational against Western Carolina University 5-3.
Western Carolina struck first on a single from junior shortstop Daniel Walsh. Kansas evened the score in the top of the third, when Ditzenberger singled up the middle, allowing Tulimero to score.
The Catamounts took the lead on a sacrifice ground out form junior outfielder Immanuel Wilder in the bottom of the third. Western Carolina added three more runs in the next inning behind five hits and an error. Tulimero responded for the Jayhawks with a two-run home run to in the top of the seventh, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback.
The Jayhawks are now 5-6 on the season and have their home opener against Creighton at Hoglund Park on Wednesday, Mar. 4 at 2 p.m.