Manhattan Even a gift from Mother Nature wasn’t enough to help out the Kansas bats Friday night against Kansas State in a 2-0 loss at Tointon Family Stadium.
A long rain delay forced the Wildcats to take out dominant starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh after 5 2/3 innings, but the Wildcats relievers — who entered with a 7.93 earned-run average in Big 12 play — held the Jayhawks scoreless the rest of the way.
KU was shut out for the eighth time this season.
“The whole focus of the series was to win it,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “Now we’re behind the eight-ball after dropping the first night on Friday. We’ve got to find a way to come back at it tomorrow.”
Bahramzadeh was dominant from the start.
The senior right-hander didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, striking out eight while walking just two in his 5 2/3 innings.
“He mixes pitches well,” KU junior third baseman Jordan Dreiling said. “He got ahead with that curveball, threw it for a strike and kept us off-balance all game. He wouldn’t leave too many fastballs over the plate.”
Price also believed his team wasn’t aggressive enough.
“I thought we took too many fastballs away for strikes,” Price said. “That was the one thing I addressed after the game a little bit is we took a lot of fastballs for strike two away. Then — especially the young guys — he buried the younger guys with the breaking ball once he got guys to 1-2.”
Bahramzadeh was replaced by Matt Applegate following a one-hour, 34-minute rain and lightning delay in the top of the sixth.
The righty allowed just one baserunner with two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings, and Gerardo Esquivel protected a 2-0 lead for the save after pitching the final two innings.
The ninth wasn’t easy.
Alex DeLeon led off with a double to right center, and Dreiling’s single to right put the tying run on first with no one out.
The two runners wouldn’t move from there, as Jake Marasco and Michael Suiter both struck out before pinch-hitter Chris Manship lined to second base to end the game.
KU’s hitters finished with 12 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances.
Kansas State took the lead in the second.
R.J. Santigate led off with a bloop single to center, and after a Matt Giller sacrifice bunt, KU starter Frank Duncan struggled to keep the ball down against the next two hitters.
Blair DeBord lined a single to left to put runners at the corners, and nine-hole hitter Jake Brown followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0.
“I thought Duncan found his rhythm after the first couple innings,” Price said. “He got ahead in the count, and he kept leaving his off-speed pitches out over the middle of the plate (early). They did a nice job of hitting them.”
The Wildcats tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth after KU reliever Robert Kahana issued a leadoff walk to Wade Hinkle.
Following a sac bunt and a flyout, pinch-hitter Mike Kindel singled just under the glove of KU second baseman Ka’iana Eldredge to bring in Hinkle.
Bahramzadeh picked up his first victory in Big 12 play, while Duncan took the tough-luck loss, allowing just the one run in five innings. He struck out two while walking one.
“He had a little jam at the beginning, but he pitches out so well,” Dreiling said. “He keeps his composure better than anybody I’ve seen in a while. He’s pretty special up there.”
Kansas State (23-27, 4-15 Big 12) snapped a 10-game conference losing streak, picking up its first league win since March 31.
KU (19-30, 4-14) will start freshman left-hander Wes Benjamin in the second game of the series at 6:30 tonight.