Kansas baseball racked up 19 total hits in a 19-4 win over Air Force on Tuesday at Hoglund Ballpark. Engaged in another high-scoring affair, the Jayhawks (18-18, 5-7 Big 12) rejoin the win column after a 21-18 defeat against Kansas State in Sunday's Sunflower Showdown series finale.
Sophomore lefty Gavin Brasosky picked up the win in his first career start. The Tennessee transfer allowed two runs on five hits and two strikeouts through four innings.
Sophomore outfielder Tyler Gerety and redshirt sophomore first baseman Sam Hunt led Kansas at the plate. Gerety batted 3-for-4 with three RBIs, the first of his career. Hunt also went 3-for-4 and drove in a run. Redshirt sophomore infielder Michael Brooks added to the highlights with a 4-for-5 day, including four RBIs. Gerety and Hunt, who have not been regular starters for Kansas this season, made the most of their opportunity.
“[I] couldn’t be more happy for Gerety and Hunt,” head coach Dan Fitzgerald said. “Those guys have been grinding away and probably haven’t gotten the at-bats that they’ve liked, but they’ve stuck to it. They are great team guys and workers, and it’s really fun to see when it pays off like that.”
Air Force wasted no time welcoming Brasosky in his first career start, as junior infielder Jay Thomason homered to right-center in the top of the first.
Freshman righty Ben Weber took the mound for the Falcons (16-22, 9-9 MWC) and retired the Jayhawks' bats in order in the bottom of the inning before Air Force added to its lead in the second.
Consecutive hits placed Falcons at second and third with one out, and junior infielder Sam Kulasingam gave Air Force a 2-0 lead with an RBI groundout. Brasosky limited the damage by getting Thomason to fly out, ending the inning.
Kansas quickly got back into it with a two-run second inning. Junior designated hitter Janson Reeder led off the inning with a walk and found himself on third after a fielder’s choice and a single from redshirt sophomore first baseman Sam Hunt. Reeder scored on a wild pitch to give the Jayhawks their first run of the game. Brooks singled to move Hunt to third before redshirt sophomore outfielder Michael Koszewski drove in Hunt with an RBI bunt single to tie the game.
Brasosky settled in after a shaky first two innings, retiring the Falcons in order in the third and fourth.
The Jayhawks took the lead in the bottom of the third as Weber lost control with two outs, surrendering back-to-back walks. Brooks made Weber pay, sending a blooper past the second baseman to score Gerety giving Kansas a 3-2 lead.
Junior left-hander Seungmin Shim entered the game for Air Force and was met with a barrage of two-out RBI. Reeder doubled home freshman infielder Kodey Shojinaga, then sophomore outfielder Tyler Gerety notched his first career RBIs with a two-run double. Hunt extended the Jayhawks’ lead to 7-2 with an RBI single.
“It was special,” Gerety said of his first career RBI. “We scored 19, so everyone had a lot of RBI and a lot of hits, and it felt good to put up a lot of runs against them.”
Freshman left-hander Ethan Bradford replaced Brasosky in the fifth, tossing three innings and giving up only one run.
Kansas continued the trend of two-out RBI in the bottom of the fifth as senior catcher Cole Elvis cashed in with an RBI single to make it an 8-2 ballgame.
The Jayhawks extended its lead to 12-2 after a four-run sixth. Brooks picked up his second RBI with a single to left before freshman infielder Cooper Kelly got an RBI bunt single of his own. Sophomore outfielder Chase Jans and Shojinaga knocked in runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies to cap off the scoring for the inning.
Kulsingam tripled with two outs in the seventh, then Thomason got Air Force back into the scoring column with an RBI single.
Gerety and Brooks continued their impressive evenings, picking up RBIs in the seventh. Gerety singled up the middle to score Reeder, and Brooks brought Gerety home with a double to the left-center field gap to extend Kansas’ lead to 14-3. Koszewski added on with an RBI groundout.
Sophomore righty-Stone Evers took the ball and tossed a scoreless eighth.
Kansas added four runs in the bottom of the eighth, all with two outs. Two runs came via bases-loaded walks, and Koszewski knocked in two with a single to make it 19-3.
Freshman righty Toby Haarer took the mound in the ninth and recorded the final out after giving up a run. The win provided a much-needed bounce-back opportunity after being swept over the weekend by Kansas State.
“It’s important to bounce back every time you get beat and stand ground every time you win,” Fitzgerald said. “Thankfully, we approach every game the same, and the mindset never changes, so it’s easy for us to refocus and get back after it.”
Kansas and Air Force will complete their series on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN+.