Walk-Off Homer Sends KU to Extra-Inning Win
April 25, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas third baseman Zac Elgie hit the first pitch from reliever Johnny Fasola over the center-field wall to send the Jayhawks to an 8-7 walk-off victory over Kansas State in 11 innings Wednesday night in a non-conference tilt at Hoglund Ballpark.
KU improved to 17-25 on the season, while the Wildcats fell to 19-23. K-State has lost its last two games in extra innings after a 15-inning setback to Wichita State on Tuesday in Manhattan. The Wildcats also went extra innings in back-to-back games last year against both Wichita State and Kansas.
KU held an early 6-1 lead after plating six runs in the first inning, and it took a 7-4 advantage into the top of the ninth as it turned to right-handed closer Tanner Poppe. He quickly retired two batters before walking Jared King. Wade Hinkle was next and belted a 2-1 pitch over the right-field wall to pull the Wildcats to within one at 7-6. It was Hinkle’s team-leading eighth home run of the year.
Blair DeBord restarted the rally with a walk and Dusty Maas came in to pinch run for the K-State catcher. After Maas stole second, Mike Kindel battled to a 3-2 count and roped the 10th pinch of the at-bat into center field to tie the game at 7-7.
The Jayhawks squandered a chance in its half of the inning as it loaded the bases with one out, but Tanner Witt struck out Jake Marasco and forced Michael Suiter to fly out, sending the game into extra innings.
Both teams had chances in the 10th inning. The Wildcats loaded the bases with one out but King grounded into a double play to end the frame. Kansas loaded the bases again in the bottom half against Witt, but another fly out to center field ended the frame.
K-State put the go-head run into scoring position in the 11th with one out but again couldn't push across a run before Elgie put an end to the affair.
“I was proud because we could have checked it in after the first inning,” head coach Brad Hill said. “But then Caleb (Wallingford) settled in and put some zeros up, we chipped away a little bit and competed really hard. We just couldn’t finish. We were sitting there with two opportunities late in the game, but it didn’t happen.”
Elgie was one of four Jayhawks to record multi-hit games, including Tucker Tharp, who went 4-for-6 with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first. Jordan Luvisi (1-1), who recorded the final two outs of the top of the 11th, earned the win.
K-State had five players tally two-hit games in King, Hinkle, Kindel Jon Davis and Kyle Speer. Hinkle’s three RBI led the team as he is now tied for team-high honors with nine multi-RBI games this season.
K-State scored a run in the first inning on a King single. However, the first three KU batters reached base against K-State starter Caleb Wallingford, including Tharp’s leadoff homer. Following a pair of fly ball outs – including a sacrifice fly – Wallingford tried to get out of the inning with the Wildcats trailing by just one, but a walk, three singles and an error completed the six-run frame.
Wallingford bounced back in the next four frames as he faced just two batters over the minimum with a strikeout to keep the Wildcats in the game. He was followed by another freshman left-hander in Robert Youngdahl, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth before setting down the Jayhawks in order over his final two innings.
The Wildcats also received a solid pitching performance from Witt, who totaled two scoreless innings and worked around four walks with a career-best three strikeouts.
The Wildcats return home for a three-game series this weekend against Oklahoma State at Tointon Family Stadium. Friday’s game, which begins at 6:30 p.m., serves as Ladies Night as fans can purchase a $10 ticket package that includes one general admission bench ticket and one pink K-State baseball hat. The special ticket package is available online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets by entering the promo code LADIESNIGHT.
A pregame tailgate will be held at 5 p.m., directly behind the stadium off College Avenue. Fans can purchase tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.
Friday’s game will be aired on the five-station K-State Sports Network, while fans can see the game on K-StateHD.TV and Fox College Sports.