A.J. Morris leads Kansas State to a 4-1 win over the Hawks. Series now moves to Lawrence.

A.J. Morris (12-1) controlled the Jayhawks all night.  The Wildcat ace threw his fourth complete game of the year leading Kansas State to a 4-1 victory in round one of the Sunflower Showdown in front of a school record 4,280 fans.  The series moves to Lawrence for the final two games.  First pitch on Saturday and Sunday is at 6PM.

 

There really isn’t too much to write on this game.  A.J. Morris happened.  Shaeffer Hall pitched well and kept the Hawks in the game.  Kansas took an early lead in the third on a manufactured run.  Robby Price walked with one out, was moved to third by a Brian Heere single and brought home by a Buck Afenir sac fly. 

 

On days Morris pitches the Wildcats normally only need a few breaks to get a win and those breaks came for the home team in the sixth inning.  The inning opened with a single and a hit batter.  Nic Martini laid down a bunt to move the runners into scoring position but ended up with more than he hoped when Shaeffer Hall’s throw to first was off target.  Bases loaded, no outs, and the Jayhawk 1-0 lead was about to disappear.  The next batter, Just Bloxom, gave Morris all he would need with a two run single.  Two more runs would score in the inning, closing out the scoring for the night, but Bloxom’s single had already won the game.

 

The loss dropped Kansas to 35-19 and 13-12 in conference play.  Kansas State moved to 39-13-1 and 14-9-1.  Texas Tech beat Oklahoma State in the 9th inning last night 9-8, eliminating the Cowboys, so the Bricktown Eight are now set.  Kansas will finish somewhere between 4th and 7th dependent on how the next two days play out.  Link to the Big-12 Hardball scoreboard here.

 

A few additional game notes and the boxscore after the jump.

Oklahoma catcher J.T. Wise hit his 17th homerun of the season last night in the Sooner’s 6-5 victory over Texas A&M.  This brings him into a tie with Tony Thompson for conference lead.

 

Kansas collected seven hits off A.J. Morris, all singles.  In 100.2 innings this year Morris has given up only 16 extra base hits, which is just amazing.  Late in the game Tom Hedrick, who has now been on hand to see all Big-12 Friday starters pitch, said he believes Morris to be the best pitcher in the conference.

 

Junior reliever Travis Blankenship appeared in his 33rd game of the year last night.  That puts Travis in a tie for 5th place all-time in single season pitching appearances with Don Czyz (2004) and Jimmy Walker (1993).  The all-time school record (Don Czyz’s 37 set in 2006) is not out of reach by any means.  Kansas is guaranteed to play at least five more games this year, and likely to play more than that dependent on their making the NCAA tournament.  Blankenship, a Lawrence native who transferred in from JCCC, has been one of the biggest surprises of the year for the Hawks.

 

Buck Afenir moved into 10th place all time in KU history for career RBIs.  Buck now has 150 over his four years, passing Matt Tribble’s 149.  Ryne Price (155) sits in 9th place.  Preston Land set a less desirable record yesterday as well.  Preston matched his season high of 62 strikeouts in a season, which is also the single season record at KU.  Preston (2008), Ryne Price (2007), Chad King (1999) and Brandon O’Neil (1999) all struck out 62 times in a single season.

 

Also worth mentioning, James Stanfield made his first start at DH last night.  Stanfield went 1-3 with a single, a strikeout and grounded into a double play.

 

Link to KU recap.  Link also to a photo gallery from the game.  Check out that first picture of the clouds.  Lawrence was hit by a heavy hail storm at 5:30 and I was shocked to find the game go off on time in Manhattan.

 

May 15, 2009 at Manhattan, Kan. (Tointon Stadium)

Kansas 1 (35-19,13-12)

Player   ab    r    h  rbi   bb   so   po    a  lob 
Narodowski, David ss 
Price, Robby 2b 
Heere, Brian rf 
Afenir, Buck c 
Thompson, Tony 3b 
Lytle, Casey lf 
Land, Preston 1b 
Stanfield, James dh 
Brunansky, Jason cf 
Hall, Shaeffer p 
  Bochy, Brett p 
  Blankenship, Travis p 
  Selik, Cameron p 
Totals  32  24 
  

Kansas State 4 (39-13-1,14-9-1)

Player   ab    r    h  rbi   bb   so   po    a  lob 
Muenster, Adam dh 
Jurica, Carter 2b 
Martini, Nick lf 
Bloxom, Justin 1b 
King, Jason 3b 
Biery, Drew ss 
Cruz, Jordan rf 
Vaughn, Rob c 
Yelovich, Dane cf 
Morris, A.J. p 
Totals  29  27  11 

Score by Innings                    R  H  E

-------------------------------------------

Kansas.............. 001 000 000 -  1  7  2

Kansas State........ 000 004 00X -  4  8  0

-------------------------------------------

E - Land, P.(6); Hall, S.(1). DP - Kansas 1; K-State 1. LOB - Kansas 6; K-State 7. HBP - Jurica, Cart 2. SH - Jurica, Cart(2); Biery, Drew(9). SF - Afenir, B.(7); Cruz, Jordan(3). SB - Heere, B.(7).

Kansas   ip  er  bb  so  wp  bk  hbp  ibb  ab  bf  fo  go  np 
Hall, Shaeffer L,4-6  5.2  20  25  81 
Bochy, Brett   1.1  20 
Blankenship, Travis   0.2  17 
Selik, Cameron   0.1 
  
Kansas State   ip  er  bb  so  wp  bk  hbp  ibb  ab  bf  fo  go  np 
Morris, A.J. W,12-1  9.0  32  34  11  127 

Win - Morris, A.J. (12-1). Loss - Hall, S. (4-6). Save - None. WP - Morris, A.J.(6). HBP - by Hall, S. (Jurica, Cart); by Hall, S. (Jurica, Cart). Pitches/strikes: Hall, S. 81/51; Bochy, B. 20/14; Blankenship 17/10; Selik, C. 4/3; Morris, A.J. 127/83.

Umpires - HP: Chris Coskey 1B: Randy Bruns 3B: Scott Wilkerson
Start: 6:29 pm Time: 2:23 Attendance: 4280
Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy

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