Nolan Metcalf

Redshirt senior catcher Nolan Metcalf celebrates against Oklahoma on April 23. The Jayhawks lost that game 7-6. 

Kansas baseball split its series against Air Force on Wednesday with the help of redshirt senior catcher Nolan Metcalf having a career day at the plate. Along with a strong offensive showing, Kansas delivered on the mound and led the entire way to victory.

The Jayhawks came out swinging offensively and put up four runs in just the first inning, starting with Metcalf’s RBI double to right field. Redshirt senior outfielder Caleb Upshaw then drove Metcalf home with a two-run shot. 

Metcalf couldn’t miss at the plate, hitting 5-for-5 with three doubles, six RBIs and a massive grand slam in the eighth inning that solidified the Jayhawks’ late lead. His consistent day at the plate tied his career high in hits and helped lead Kansas to its 17th win of the season.

Redshirt freshman first baseman Cooper McMurray tacked on another run in the second on a solo home run before Kansas put up two more in the third inning.

Kansas’ offense fired on all cylinders to start the game, but Air Force answered back in the bottom of the third after Kansas built a 7-0 lead. Senior outfielder Gabriel Garcia delivered with a two-run blast to right center to cut the lead to five.

Air Force continued its offensive streak in the next frame, putting up three runs in the fourth. Sophomore pitcher Kolby Dougan struggled during this stretch and had a final line of 1.2 innings with 56 pitches and two earned runs.

Both teams scored a run in the fifth, bringing the score to 8-6 going into the sixth. At this time, Kansas’ coach Ritch Price opted to bring freshman pitcher Payton Allen to the mound.

Allen started at third in this game and had a solid performance en route to picking up his second win of the season, improving his record to 2-1. Allen took the Jayhawks home, pitching the final four innings of the game. 

With Allen on the mound, the Jayhawks produced another five runs after a scoreless sixth. Metcalf boosted those five runs with a grand slam in the eighth that put Kansas up 13-7. The Falcons responded with two RBIs of their own in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Jayhawks. 

Kansas came away with the 13-9 victory before returning home to face West Virginia in a three-game series starting Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.