Kansas Tops Texas Southern in Second Annual Buck O’Neil Classic

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kansas has now won eight of its last nine games as the Jayhawks defeated the Texas Southern Tigers in the second annual Buck O’Neil Classic at Legends Field on Tuesday night by a final score of 8-5. Kansas has won both years of the Buck O’Neil Classic.

Kansas (16-15, 5-4 Big 12) hit three home runs on Tuesday evening in a night that honored Buck O’Neil and Negro League baseball. Sophomore Chase Jans, freshman Kodey Shojinaga and redshirt sophomore Jackson Cobb each homered in the contest. The home run was the first of Cobb’s career.

The Jayhawks would get on the board first, as Shojinaga blasted a solo home run over the left-field wall for his fourth home run of the season. Kansas would tack on another run on a fielding error and added one more in the second on a sacrifice fly by redshirt sophomore Michael Brooks to bring in sophomore Luke Leto and extend the Jayhawks’ lead to 3-0.

Texas Southern (21-13, 7-5 SWAC) would scratch two runs across on a fielding error in the fourth inning to cut the Kansas lead to 3-2.

The Jayhawks would answer back in the bottom half of the inning, as Brooks collected another RBI with a single to score Leto and push the lead to 4-2.

Kansas scored another run in the fifth, as junior Janson Reeder hit an RBI single off the pitcher that allowed Jans to score from second base and give Kansas a 5-2 advantage.

The Jayhawks would face some trouble in the top of the sixth, with two on and one out, but junior Thaniel Trumper was able to induce a double play lineout to first baseman Cole Elvis. The double play helped the Jayhawks escape the inning without surrendering a run.

Redshirt sophomore Jackson Cobb added to the Kansas lead, as he hit his first career home run over the right field wall to extend the lead to 6-2 for Kansas. The Jayhawks weren’t done in their half of the sixth, as Jans blasted a solo home run of his own. The homer was the fourth of the year for Jans and made the score 7-2.

Jans drove in another run in the eighth inning with an RBI single up the middle to score Brooks. The RBI hit was Jans’ second RBI of the game.

The Tigers picked up three runs in the ninth on a home run, but that was as close as Texas Southern would get.

Freshman Karter Muck started the game for the Jayhawks and allowed two unearned runs in three innings of work. Muck also struck out four batters. Junior Kolby Dougan entered the game in relief for Muck and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings and did not allow a hit, while striking out three batters. Dougan earned the win to improve to 2-0 this season.

Prior to start of Tuesday’s Buck O’Neil Classic, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Bob Kendrick threw out the first pitch. Both teams wore uniforms styled after Negro League teams, with Kansas wearing replica uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs and Texas Southern modeling uniforms after the Homestead Grays. Kansas also wore a number 22 patch on their jerseys to honor Buck O’Neil who wore the number 22.

Win: Kolby Dougan (2-0)
Final Line: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO
Loss: Cade Fontenot (0-2)
Final Line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO

“We had some really good at-bats in the middle innings, moving the ball and taking advantage of a couple mistakes that they made. I thought Coach Scott called an unbelievable game, and we had some big innings out of our bullpen.” – Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald

“Getting these wins is really big for us. It gives us a lot of confidence going farther into Big 12 play because we know we can beat anybody now,” – Jackson Cobb on establishing momentum.

• Kansas has won eight of their last nine games, a stretch that began on March 29.
• Kansas has now defeated Texas Southern in both Buck O’Neil Classic games (2022, ‘23). The Jayhawks have won six straight games against the Tigers and improved to 17-1 all-time.
• Kansas has multiple home runs in each of their last four games.
• Kansas’ pitching staff recorded 12 strikeouts on Tuesday night. The 12 strikeouts marked the seventh time this season Kansas had double-digit strikeouts.
• Cobb hit his first career home run in the sixth inning.
• Jans homered for the fourth time this season. He has 25 RBIs on the year, good for the third most on the team. He also has eight multi-RBI games, which is tied for the most by a Kansas player this season.
• Shojinaga hit his fourth home run of the season. The home run extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games.
• Freshman Jackson Kline had his 13-game on-base streak snapped.

Kansas will return to Hoglund Ballpark on Wednesday to begin a nine-game homestand. The Jayhawks take on Texas Southern for the second game of its two-game series. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CT. Kansas is undefeated at home this season with a 6-0 record. Fans can purchase tickets by contacting the Kansas ticket office at 785-864-3141 or by visiting the ticketing page here.