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Then-sophomore pitcher Daniel Hegarty pitches against Oklahoma State. Kansas was defeated by Oklahoma State 27-6 Friday, April 12, 2019.

Column

Kansas baseball picked up a series win against the Belmont Bruins to kick off its season this past weekend, and its bullpen deserves some credit for the Jayhawks starting the season on a positive note. 

The bullpen threw 12 ⅔ innings against the Bruins in three games and allowed just three earned runs, which was good enough for 2.13 earned run average. 

During Kansas’ first win of the season, the bullpen helped the team gain momentum from the Bruins. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, manager Ritch Price called on junior pitcher Daniel Hegarty to replace junior pitcher Everhett Hazelwood. 

Hegarty was able to come in and keep the game tied and the Jayhawks scored a run the next inning. 

Once again our bullpen was solid and Hegarty led us out of a bases loaded jam by forcing a double play with the game tied,” Price told Kansas Athletics.

Hegarty made another appearance against the Bruins in the series and also didn’t allow a run. So, he’s started the season perfect. The junior from Leawood hasn’t allowed a baserunner in the 2 ⅔ innings he’s pitched

Another key to the bullpen’s strong start is the lack of walks. They only allowed two walks in the opening series. 

In the midst of its impressive beginning to the season, Kansas’ relievers were also able to pick up the slack for the starting pitchers. 

Other than Hegarty stepping up for Hazelwood as he exited his first Division I start, their teammates also did well to boost the Jayhawks after redshirt sophomore pitcher Eli Davis left the game. 

Davis came out after allowing five earned runs in five innings — all of which Belmont scored in the third inning. The low point of his day came when Bruins’ sophomore catcher Tommy Crider hit a three-run home run to left field. 

While Kansas’ bullpen deserves credit for picking Davis up, he still threw two scoreless innings after his hiccup in the third. 

Still, Jayhawks’ relievers allowed just one run, a solo homer off of junior pitcher Cole Larsen in the seventh inning in the 7-6 victory. 

Three pitchers combined for 2 ⅔ scoreless innings after Price took Larsen out of the game. 

Hegarty finished the seventh inning, redshirt senior pitcher Blake Goldsberry pitched the eighth and redshirt junior Jonah Ulane racked up the save in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a series victory.

The Jayhawks will face Charleston Southern Friday, Feb. 21, in South Carolina. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. 

—Edited by Courtney Riede