The Kansas University baseball team's 19-7 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday night at Hoglund Ballpark was a display of pitching futility and offensive prowess.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the former described them and the later defined the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech (29-13 overall, 9-6 Big 12 Conference) bashed five KU pitchers for 17 hits, including five home runs. It was a display that magnified the fact that Kansas has the most ineffective pitching staff in the Big 12. Its earned-run average was a league-worst 4.95 prior to Saturday's loss.
"That's as bad as we can pitch. There's no nice way to say that," second-year KU coach Ritch Price said. "That's as bad of a pitching performance that we've had all year and the two years I've been here. On top of that, they can flat-out hit.
"When you're behind in the count and you're elevating the baseball and the hitting is on, you're going to get creamed. And we got absolutely hammered tonight."
KU's hitters doled out most of the punishment for four innings. The Jayhawks (25-23-1, 2-13) took a 1-0 lead in the second on catcher Sean Richardson's solo homer. Tech tied it with a run in the top of the third, but KU added three runs in the bottom of the inning on Richardson's one-run single and left fielder Andy Scholl's two-run homer for a 4-1 lead.
Tech scored twice in the top of the fourth on Michael Mack's two-run blast to right-center, but Kansas again answered in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Ritchie Price smacked a one-run single, and first baseman Ryan Baty belted a two-run homer that gave the Jayhawks a 7-3 advantage.
Despite the lead and offensive support, KU starting pitcher Ryan Knippschild fell apart in the fifth inning. He allowed hits to five of the first seven batters he faced. All five scored. Mack's three-run homer bounced Knippschild with KU trailing 8-7.
Reliever Don Czyz was no help. He walked the first batter he faced and then surrendered a two-run homer to Madison Edwards that capped Tech's seven-run fifth.
"We had it, and we were looking good, and Knippschild was throwing good his first three innings," Travis Metcalf said. "All of a sudden, we hit that wall."
Tech kept hitting. KU relievers Jacob Jean, Tyson Bothof and Andrew Rebar also were pummeled by the Red Raiders. The three combined to allow nine runs, including two homers.
"The most disappointing thing for me is that we scored enough runs to win," Ritch Price said. "We scored seven at Baylor last Friday night and had the lead late and gave that one away. We're struggling in the bullpen right now. There's no doubt about that."
Kansas will close out its series with Tech with a double-header beginning at 1 p.m. today at Hoglund Ballpark.