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Dutton, Leto Lead Jayhawks to 11-2 Win in Home Opener

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KUAthletics.com) – Kansas played its home opener on Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark and came out victorious with an 11-2 win against Texas Southern.

BOX SCORE

A six-run second inning provided more than enough support for Kansas starting pitcher Reese Dutton who did not allow an earned run in seven innings and struck out seven batters in the process. Junior Luke Leto finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs, three runs and two walks. New Mexico transfer Lenny Ashby also went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs, a run and two walks.

HOW IT HAPPENED
• After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Kansas exploded for six runs in the second inning. A leadoff walk to Janson Reeder and a groundout to advance Reeder to second base setup Luke Leto for an RBI single. After a John Nett single, Mike Koszewski had an RBI bunt single to score Leto. Later in the inning, Lenny Ashby and Janson Reeder each delivered 2-run doubles to give the Jayhawks a six-run advantage.
• Texas Southern (4-6) scored its lone two runs of the game in the third inning on a throwing error. Both runs were unearned.
• Kansas was able to get those two runs back in the bottom half of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Collier Cranford and an RBI single from Kodey Shojinaga. After three innings, KU held an 8-2 advantage.
• The Jayhawks added one more run in the sixth inning on a bases loaded walk.
• Dutton’s final inning came in the seventh and he finished how he started with a pair of strikeouts in the frame.
• Leto capped off the scoring with an opposite field two-run homer in the eight to push the score to 11-2.

PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win: Reese Dutton (2-1)
Final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO
Loss: Dade Hensley (1-1)
Final line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 4 BB, 2 SO

PLAYER OF THE GAME
Reese Dutton: The senior transfer from USC Upstate had his best outing of the year. Dutton tossed seven innings and did not allow an earned run. He allowed three hits over his seven innings of work. Dutton has now earned the win in back-to-back starts.

QUOTABLES & NOTABLES
“I thought that the fans were great. They brought a ton of energy and I think our guys fed off it. They were definitely behind Reese out there and he scattered three hits over seven and I thought he was fantastic. Awesome to be home. It was it was a very productive road trip, but the expression ‘there’s no place like home’ really is true because you’re just able to work and get batting practice in beforehand and sleep in your own bed and have your own locker and all that stuff. I know I was fired up to be home and I think they were too.” – Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald

“It was awesome. It was a great experience just to be around my team and the coaches and just get my feet wet out here at Hoglund Ballpark. Good to see the crowd and the environment. It’s a fun place to play and look forward to playing here in the future.” – Reese Dutton

• Kansas improved to 23-5 in home openers over the last 28 seasons since joining the Big 12 prior to the 1997 season. Kansas is 8-2 in home openers in the last 10 seasons.
• Dutton has earned a win in back-to-back starts.
• Leto hit his first home run of the season and matched his career high with three RBIs.

UP NEXT
Kansas will play games two and three of the four-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CT. The games will be broadcasted on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and live audio will be available on the Jayhawk Sports Network.

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