KU Ties Series with 9-3 Victory

LAWRENCE, Kan. Kansas scored seven runs in the first four innings, while Jayhawk starter T.J. Walz struck out 12 Kansas State batters as the Jayhawks dropped the 11th-ranked Wildcats, 9-3, Saturday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.

 

The Jayhawks, who evened the series at one game apiece, improved to 36-19 overall and 14-12 in Big 12 play, while Kansas State fell to 39-14-1 overall and 14-10-1. The loss snapped the Wildcats' 8-game winning streak against Kansas.

 

Kansas State had plenty of chances in the game as it left 10 runners on base, including a pair of bases-loaded situations in the fifth and sixth innings. Walz was able to escape both threats by striking out Carter Jurica to end the fifth, while Rob Vaughn flew out in the sixth.

 

Walz (8-1), who set a career high for strikeouts, allowed one run on five hits with just two walks. The right-hander struck out seven of the first 11 batters he faced.

 

The No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the Kansas lineup Robby Price, Brian Heere and Buck Afenir combined to go 8-for-14 with two home runs and four RBI.

 

K-State starter Lance Hoge (5-4) suffered the loss as the left-hander gave up five runs on five hits in two innings of work.

 

Kansas State freshmen relievers Kayvon Bahramzadeh and Kyle Hunter were impressive in the latter stages of the game as they combined to throw 1.2 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.

 

Seniors Drew Biery and Vaughn both hit solo home runs. Biery, Jordan Cruz and Jurica each tallied two hits to pace a 10-hit effort by Kansas State.

 

Kansas scored a run in the first frame when it loaded the bases with a one-out walk and a pair of singles. Tony Thompson hit a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to Biery at short, but Jurica’s throw to first pulled Justin Bloxom off the bag, allowing the Jayhawks to score their first run.

 

KU came back with three runs in the second as Preston Land walked and scored from first on a Zac Elgie double down the left-field line. Elgie moved to third on a single by Jason Brunansky and scored on a sacrifice fly to push the Jayhawk lead to 3-0. Price's single moved Brunansky to third before a passed ball brought home the third run of the frame.

 

The Wildcats chipped away in the third on Vaughn’s fourth home run of the year, a one-out shot over the left-field wall, but Kansas came right back in its half of the inning when Elgie stroked his second double of the game off the wall in center field to make the score 5-1.

 

The K-State deficit swelled to eight when Afenir hit a two-run homer over the right-field wall in the fourth, before a Price solo homer and a Casey Lytle RBI single in the sixth made the score 9-1.

 

K-State plated runs in the seventh and eighth frames on a RBI groundout by Nick Martini and Biery’s ninth home run of the season.

 

The rubber match between Kansas State and Kansas is scheduled for a 6:06 p.m., first pitch Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark. The game will be televised nationally on FSN with Greg Lucas and Jack Lazorko calling the action.