CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In the 2023 season opener and the coaching debut of first-year Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Valparaiso Beacons 5-1 at Whataburger Field. Junior outfielder Janson Reeder and redshirt junior infielder Collier Cranford each had two RBIs and graduate Collin Baumgartner and sophomore Gavin Brasosky combined to allow only one run on four hits.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win: Collin Baumgartner (1-0)
Final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO
Save: Gavin Brasosky (1)
Final line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO
Loss: Griffin McCluskey (0-1)
Final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 6 SO
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Cole Elvis drove in the first run of the season for the Jayhawks as he lined a RBI double into the left field corner in the first inning. The hit scored Mike Koszewski who singled in the first Jayhawks at-bat of the season.
• After a leadoff double by Koszewski and a walk from sophomore Luke Leto to start the third inning, Reeder came up with one out and sent a ball into the right field corner that brought in Koszewski and Leto.
• Two batters later Cranford singled on a two-strike, two-out pitch to right field to score Reeder.
• Valparaiso scored its only run of the game in the fourth inning on a solo homer by Brady Renfro.
• Brasosky came on in relief of Baumgartner in the sixth inning and tossed four scoreless innings.
• The Jayhawks added one more insurance run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Cranford to make the score 5-1.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mike Koszewski: Koszewski reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and two runs scored. Koszewski batted in the leadoff spot on Friday and is expected to be at the top of the order for the Jayhawks.
NUMBER OF THE GAME
1: Friday marked the first career win for Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald. He was hired on June 15, 2022.
“It’s a great team win. They executed on so many things, kept it simple and played really fundamental baseball. We asked them to do two things before the game – stay locked in on every pitch and be a great teammate – and I thought they did that. I was super proud of my staff. They were prepared and had their plans in order from the first pitch. It was a great team effort and great to get that one under our belt.” – Dan Fitzgerald
• Kansas improved to 20-7 in season openers since joining the Big 12 Conference before the 1997 season.
• Kansas has won six of its last seven season openers.
• Koszewski went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and two runs scored in his first career Division I game.
• Elvis was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored in his Jayhawks debut.
• Baumgartner and Brasosky each struck out six Valpo hitters.
• Reeder had a double and two RBIs in his first career Division I contest.
• Cranford recorded 2 RBIs in his first game in a Kansas uniform.
• Leto reached base three times in his KU debut.
Kansas will play game two of a three-game series against Valparaiso on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. Junior pitcher Sam Ireland will get the ball for the Jayhawks.