KU baseball knocks off Korea in Taiwan

The Kansas baseball team (USA Team) used a pair of timely late-inning hits to claim a 3-2 victory over Korea Friday at Chiayi City Baseball Field. The contest turned out to be a preview of the showdown for the bronze medal, as both teams will square off again Saturday.

USA (3-2) scrapped out two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take its first lead of the game after left fielder Mateo Zunica, who will be a junior, led off with a bunt single. Designated hitter Blake Shinkle, a senior next spring, followed suit with a bunt of his own and forced a Korea (2-3) throwing error during the two-run frame.

“Zunica is one of our best short-game players,” head coach Ritch Price said in a team release. “When he got the ball down the third base line, there was no way he was going to get thrown out. Then Shinkle lays down the sacrifice bunt and Korea makes the one mistake in the game that proved costly.”

The rally came two innings after Jaxx Groshans, who will be a junior, ended a no-hit bid by Korea starter Jeong O Lee. Groshans lifted a solo shot to left in the sixth to trim the deficit in half.

“I’ll tip my cap to Korea’s starter Lee,” Price said. “He has that sidearm action and was spinning his slider away from our right-handed hitters. He completely dominated our lineup until Groshans hit that home run.”

Left-hander Steve Washilewski started on the bump and tossed five innings of two-run ball. Conner VanCleave and Daniel Hegarty followed with three scoreless innings before Gabriel Sotomayor closed out the ninth for the save.

“I want to compliment our three young guys that went out there and pitched first,” Price said. “They went out there and threw strikes and kept us in the ballgame. It ends up being a great team win.”

USA and Korea will square off again for the bronze medal at 10 p.m. Saturday. Fans can watch the action live at YouTube.com/SSUTV.


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