Benjamin's six innings on the hill carries Kansas to series win vs. No. 19 Okla. St.
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas played small ball to score three early runs and rode the pitching of sophomore Wes Benjamin and junior Jordan Piché to a 3-2 win against No. 19 Oklahoma State in the rubber game of the three-game Big 12 series Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks moved to 18-12 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12, while the Cowboys dropped to 22-8 and 4-4 in league play. The series win against the 19th-ranked Cowboys marked KU’s first against a top-25 opponent since April 1-3, 2011 when the Jayhawks took two of three from then-No. 21 Baylor.
After falling behind in the first inning, Kansas answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and one in the second to back the pitching of Benjamin and Piché. After sophomore Justin Protacio led off with a single and Kevin Kuntz reached on an error, the Jayhawks tied the score at one when an errant throw to first on Michael Suiter’s bunt single allowed Protacio to score. After Alex DeLeon sacrificed runners to second and third, Dakota Smith gave KU the lead with an RBI groundout to second base.
KU added to its lead in the second inning when Connor McKay and Ka’iana Eldredge recorded back-to-back hits to start the inning and Tucker Tharp laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring McKay from third base.
The Jayhawks held onto their lead as Benjamin moved his record to 3-3, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
Piché tossed three scoreless innings to close out the series and recorded his sixth save of the year, moving him into second in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks' defense matched a season-high with three double plays, while Suiter recorded his team-best sixth outfield assist of the year by throwing out Randy McCurry at the plate to end the fourth inning.