His team gave him just one run and five hits during Friday’s 4-1 loss to Oklahoma at Hoglund Ballpark, but Kansas University sophomore pitcher Frank Duncan logged another strong outing for the Jayhawks.
Duncan even delivered when he wasn’t pitching.
With the Jayhawks trailing 2-0 after three innings, a heavy rain began to fall, and the game entered into a rain delay that lasted one hour and 38 minutes.
During the delay, Duncan worked just as hard as he did on the mound. Back in the Jayhawks’ clubhouse, Duncan first visited with trainers and made sure to get heating pads on his throwing arm. He then hit the treadmill, walking for 10 minutes and sitting for five. He repeated the cycle for a few turns and then hit the bullpen once the Jayhawks got the all-clear.
“It was just like preparing for a start again,” Duncan (4-6) said. “It actually felt like it was a new game.”
In many ways it was. Despite the lengthy delay, both coaches elected to stay with their starters, and both were rewarded big-time. Duncan struck out five of the first six Sooners he faced following the delay and made it through seven innings before his night was finished.
“That’s his first time going through something like that,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “And I was pleased with the job he did. On a Friday night in this league, it’s absolutely crucial for your starter to give you seven innings, and he did that.”
According to Price, Duncan’s strong effort actually was bittersweet for the Jayhawks.
“Duncan’s been our best (pitcher),” Price said. “So that ends up being a devastating loss. Not just because you lose Game 1 of the series, but because you lose Game 1 with your best guy.”
While Duncan was doing his best to keep the Jayhawks in it until their bats could come alive, OU ace John Jordan (8-4) was baffling the Jayhawks (17-26 overall, 4-12 Big 12). Only senior Zac Elgie (2-for-4) recorded multiple hits. Elgie, who injured his hand sliding into third base after tripling in the seventh, also singled and was taken to the hospital to examine the hand after the game. The Jayhawks reached base only eight times all night, twice on errors, as Jordan struck out eight and walked none.
“I have to tip my hat to John,” Price said. “He did a fabulous job of mixing pitches, and when he went to his fastball we were late all night. He dominated our right-handed hitters, a lot of them who were in the lineup tonight to get to him.”
KU and OU (27-16, 8-8) will resume the series at 6 tonight.