Kansas scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and tacked on single runs in each of the next two innings to pull away for a 7-3 victory over South Dakota State in the college baseball season opener for both teams Friday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Jayhawks' rally came after SDSU tied the game at 3-all with a three-run top of the fifth. Wyatt Andersen started the Jackrabbit outburst with a double to right-center and scored on a base hit by Derek Hackman. Freshman second baseman Avery Mellman then stepped to the plate and launched a game-tying two-run home run to center field.
SDSU reliever Brett Mogen, who struck out the side in order in the bottom of the fifth for his first inning of work, appeared to work around a leadoff double by Anthony Tulimero in the sixth by retiring the next two hitters before an error extended the inning. After a walk, Casey Burnham singled home both Tulimero and Conner VanCleave for the go-ahead runs.
Tulimero pushed the Kansas lead to 6-3 with a solo homer in the seventh and Skyler Messinger scampered home on a wild pitch in the eighth after leading off the frame with a single to center. Tulimero was 3-for-3, adding a pair of doubles and scoring three times in leading the Jayhawks' nine-hit attack.
Kansas scored the first run of the game on an RBI groundout in the home half of the third and upped its lead to 3-0 in the fourth on a James Cosentino two-run home run in the fourth off Jackrabbit starter Adam Mazur.
Mazur struck out four over four innings in a no-decision, while Mogen took the loss despite fanning six in three innings of work.
Ryan Cyr worked the first seven innings for Kansas to earn the victory. He struck out 11 and did not walk a batter while allowing six hits.
Jamie Berg was the lone Jackrabbit with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Jackrabbits and Jayhawks play Game 2 of their three-game series at 5:25 p.m. Saturday.