Kansas Takes Series; Big 12's Next

LAWRENCE, Kan. A seven-run Kansas third inning proved to be the difference in the game despite a late charge by Kansas State as the 11th-ranked Wildcats were downed by KU, 17-7, Sunday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.

 

With the loss, Kansas State finished the regular season with a 39-15-1 overall record and a 14-11-1 ledger in Big 12 play to finish fourth in the conference. The fourth-place finish was the highest in school history, besting the 2002 squad that tied for fifth. Kansas moved to 37-19 overall and 15-12 in league play as the Jayhawks enter Big 12 Championship play as the No. 5 seed.

 

KU scored 12 runs in the first four innings to jump out to a 10-run lead. The Cats did score five runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Kansas took the series for the first time since 2006.

 

Five different Kansas players recorded multi-hit games, including Nick Faunce, who was 5-for-5 with three RBI. David Narodowski and Buck Afenir also tallied three RBI.

 

Rob Vaughn paced the Cats offensively with his 3-for-4 night, while the senior tied his season high with three runs driven in.

 

Kansas starter Lee Ridenhour (6-2) picked up the win as he worked into the sixth. The freshman allowed five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

 

Todd Vogel (4-1) was tagged with the loss for the first time this season as the senior surrendered five runs on five hits in 2.1 innings.

 

For the third time in the series, Kansas plated the first run of the game when Narodowski doubled down the left-field line to start the game and then moved to third on a sacrifice. Brian Heere brought the run home on a groundout to put KU up 1-0.

 

The Wildcats came right back with two runs in the second when Justin Bloxom and Jason King tallied consecutive leadoff singles to put runners on first and third. Following a fly out, Jordan Cruz laced a double into left-center field on the first pitch he saw to bring home the first run. Vaughn followed with an infield single to score King and give K-State the lead.

 

Kansas scored another single in the second frame to tie the game at two when Tony Thompson led the inning off with a double and then scored on a two-out single by Faunce.

 

After Ridenhour shut down Kansas State in order in the third, Kansas put the game away in the bottom half when the Jayhawks scored seven runs in the frame. Narodowski doubled to lead off and scored on a throwing error by Vogel. Following a fielder’s choice, Afenir hit a two-run homer over the wall in left field to put KU up 5-2 and knock Vogel out of the game.

 

Thomas Rooke came in and allowed a single and two walks to load the bases before Faunce singled in a run. Jason Brunansky was next and reached on an error, which scored another run, while Narodowski drove in two more on a single to cap the inning.

 

After Kansas scored three in the fourth, the Cats attempted to chip away at the lead. Carter Jurica plated a run on an infield single in the fifth inning before a Vaughn two-run homer in the sixth. It was Vaughn’s fifth home run of the season and second of the series.

 

Freshman Nick Martini hit his fourth home run of the season, but the first against Big 12 competition, in the seventh inning to make the score 14-6.

 

Kansas State enters play as the No. 4 seed in the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City. The Wildcats will face Kansas for a fourth-straight game as the two teams square off on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Bricktown Ballpark.