LAWRENCE, Kan. — The 18th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks pounded out 19 hits — nine for extra bases — in handing the visiting Dartmouth Big Green a 13-5 defeat on Friday evening at Hoglund Ballpark. Connor McKay went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and four RBIs, and Colby Wright also had three hits and scored three times to lead Kansas (15-7) to the victory.
Senior Jeff Keller was 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored three of the five runs for Dartmouth (2-8). Joining him with three safeties was sophomore Joe Purritano, who was 3-for-4 with a walk as the Big Green collected 13 hits of their own.
Junior Matt Parisi started the game off well for the Big Green by splitting the gap in left-center for a double. One out later, he trotted home on Keller’s fly to center for the first run of the evening. But Dartmouth wasn’t done as Purritano and junior Nick Lombardi stroked back-to-back doubles to give the Green an early 2-0 lead.
That lead was shortlived, however, as an error prolonged the bottom half and McKay took advantage by blasting his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to straight-away center.
Dartmouth had an opportunity to put another crooked number on the board in the third when it loaded the bases with nobody out. A double-play grounder allowed Keller, who led off the inning with a double, to score from third, but that would be the only run of the frame, leaving the Big Green on top, 3-2.
Sophomore right-hander Michael Danielak (0-2) worked around a leadoff double in the Kansas half of the third, but he was not as fortunate in the fourth when Blair Beck started a rally with a two-bagger to left-center. One out later, Aaron Hernandez knotted the score at three with a double of his own and, after taking third on a balk, crossed the plate with the go-ahead run when Justin Protacio pulled a single through the right side of the infield.
But Kansas wasn’t finished as the next two hitters also singled to load the bases. Danielak proceeded to fan McKay for the second out, but Dakota Smith cleared the bases with a triple and Tucker Tharp followed with a single as the Jayhawks batted around and scored six in the stanza.
Keller doubled again in the top of the fifth and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Lombardi plated Keller again in the seventh with a sacrifice fly, but 8-5 was as close as Dartmouth would get.
In the eighth, the Jayhawks strung together six straight hits — the last three being doubles — as they tallied five insurance runs.
Left-hander Wes Benjamin (4-0) was credited with the victory even though he yielded four runs on nine hits and a pair of walks over five innings with three strikeouts. Three relievers combined to close out the game, allowing just one run on four hits.
Danielak stayed in the game to complete six innings and retired seven of the last eight hitters he faced. But he gave up eight runs, six earned, on a dozen hits with one walk and three punchouts.
McKay was not the only Jayhawk with a big night as Smith and Hernandez each contributed a single, double and triple while scoring two runs. Smith added three RBIs to his line as did Colby Wright, who also had three hits fall safely.
The two teams will continue their three-game series on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. (ET), which will be broadcast by ESPN3. Sophomore right-hander Beau Sulser (1-1, 3.27 ERA) is slated to toe the slab for Dartmouth, while Kansas will counter with right-hander Robert Kahana (1-3, 3.56).