LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Omaha baseball team dropped a narrow loss to Kansas Wednesday afternoon, falling 6-5 at Hoglund Ballpark. The Mavericks are 1-12 (0-0 Summit League), while the Jayhawks are 5-7 (0-0 Big 12).
Ryan Zeferjahn (2-1) picked up the win on the mound, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing three runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Senior right-hander Brett Sasse (0-1) took the loss in relief, giving up one run with a walk and two strikeouts in the third inning. Steven Villines worked to his second save of the year with 1.1 innings of hitless, shutout relief, no walks and a strikeout.
Junior Ryan Cate (2-for-4, one run) and redshirt freshman Andrew Hall (2-for-4, one run) both had multi-hit showings, while sophomore Grant Suponchick was 1-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs. Sophomore Nate Mallott knocked out his first career home run with a solo shot in the third.
KU worked out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second, propelled by three hits and an error. Rudy Karre and Jaxx Groshans had back-to-back singles to put two on, and James Cosentino’s RBI double to right center plated Karre. Brett Vosik then grounded out to second to score Groshans, and after Owen Taylor reached on a Maverick fielding error, Cosentino came in to make it 3-0.
Omaha came roaring back in the next half-inning, opening with Mallott’s solo roundtripper to left on the first pitch. Singles by Hall and freshman Cole Thibodeau put two aboard, and both moved into scoring position with a wild pitch. Sophomore Riley Herold then singled through the right side to score Hall, and Herold later scored himself when senior Sam Palensky reached on a fielder’s choice to knot the game at 3-3.
The Jayhawks regained the lead in the third with an RBI groundout by Groshans scoring Kevin Foyle to make it 4-3. They added two more in the fourth, when Vosik came in on a Matt McLaughlin sacrifice fly to center and Kaimana Souza Paaluh’s RBI groundout pushed in Foyle for a 6-3 differential.
Omaha staged a rally in the sixth, when Palensky was hit by a pitch and Cate singled to right to put two runners on with one out. After a balk put Cate on second, Suponchick’s two-out, two-run single up the middle drove in both to pull Omaha within one at 6-5. But the comeback fell just short, as KU’s bullpen allowed two hits over the remaining innings to preserve the final score at 6-5.
Omaha makes its home debut this weekend with a three-game series vs. Northern Colorado, March 9-10 at Isaacson Field at Seymour Smith Park. Thursday is a doubleheader starting at Noon, while Friday’s single game starts at 1 p.m.