The first game of the Sunflower Showdown series between the rivals goes to the Wildcats, who won 5-4, with Kansas State snapping the Jayhawks' seven-game undefeated home streak.
Graduate right-handed pitcher Collin Baumgartner started on the bump with a three up, three down inning, striking out two in progress.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Kansas offense started off strong, with runners at second and first until junior right-fielder Janson Reeder slammed a line drive to left field to score freshman second baseman Kodey Shojinaga. Then redshirt sophomore Jake English hit a sacrifice grounder to score senior first baseman Cole Elvis to put the Kansas lead up to 2-0.
In the next inning, the Wildcat offense got going, putting two men on base in their first two at-bats of the inning. Then Baumgartner sat one down, and sophomore left fielder Chase Jans made a sprawling catch on a foul ball to make it two outs before completing the double play at third to keep the Jayhawk lead at two.
In the top of the third inning, the Kansas defense struggled, with Baumgartner allowing a stand-up RBI triple from sophomore center fielder Brendan Jones before right fielder Cash Rugely sent him home on a single. Then gave up a massive two-run homer to center field by junior shortstop Nick Goodwin, giving the Wildcats a 4-2 lead.
The Jayhawk offense went quiet for the second, third and fourth innings, but in the bottom half of the fifth inning, Jans and Shojinaga got in scoring position for Elvis, who rifled a hit to center field to get both runners home to tie the game up at four a piece.
Both offenses went dormant in the sixth and seventh innings. At the top of the eighth inning, Kansas State’s sophomore third baseman Kaelan Culpepper reached home on a bunt by senior first baseman Roberto Pena, giving the Wildcats a one-run lead.
It came down to the bottom half of the ninth inning, where Kansas State pitched a 1-2-3 inning to put the nail into Kansas’ coffin, sealing victory over their hated rival, 5-4.
The top of the third inning put the Jayhawks into a hole they couldn’t escape. Baumgartner allowed three runs, including a home run, had two walks and allowed another hit at the end of the inning.
Kodey Shojinaga extended his hit streak to 11 games with a single to right field in the third inning. He added to his hit total with a double in the fifth inning.
Kansas moves to 17-16 on the season and 5-5 in Big 12 play. Game two of the Sunflower Showdown takes place Saturday at 2 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence. The game will be televised on ESPN+.