Casey Lytle had reason to smile last night. The KU left fielder took a 1-1 Andrew Doyle pitch for a ride with two outs in the first inning. The 2-run shot was Lytle's first collegiate homerun and staked the Hawks to a 4-0 lead.
"It's huge, absolutely huge," Ritch Price said of the Jayhawk win in Norman last night. "It establishes the fact that we can go on the road and win on Friday night. Now we have to finish the deal and win the series."
Kansas picked up an enormous road win yesterday in Norman. Robby Price and Casey Lytle each took OU ace Andrew Doyle deep in the first inning and staked KU to a 4-0 lead before the home team came to bat. The Hawks added an additional run in the top of the third when Preston Land drove in Tony Thompson with two outs. Facing one of the best offensive teams in the nation five runs would not have been enough to get a win on most nights but the KU pitching staff stepped up once again and delivered. Shaeffer Hall (4-4) scraped all night and handed off a 5-4 lead two outs into the sixth inning. Four KU relievers combined to get the final 10 outs without giving up a single hit. Paul Smyth came on in the 9th to retire the side in order and earn his seventh save of the season, and first since the final game of the Texas series on March 22nd.
The win improved the Jayhawk's Big-12 record to 11-8, which puts them only one game out of first place currently held by Texas A&M (13-8). There is a lot of nasty weather heading into Oklahoma so the teams will try to get in the last two games in any way possible. They will start a double header Saturday at noon and play as much baseball as possible. If they are unable to get all 18 innings in on Saturday they will come back Sunday and wrap up the series. Hopefully the games will be broadcast on KLWN AM-1320 despite the “seat of our pants” scheduling. Keep an eye on this link for free live video web casts.
After the jump additional game notes and links to the KU recap and box score.
Casey Lytle gets his first tater: Lytle’s first inning two-run homerun was the first long ball of his collegiate career. The other Hawk to go deep in that first inning, Robby Price, was also an unlikely candidate. Robby’s homerun was only his third of the season and fifth of his career, now nearing 600 at bats.
Paul Smyth’s return: It was great to see Smyth enter the game in the 9th and protect a one run lead so confidently. Smyth retired the three men he faced on only 10 pitches to earn the save. Smyth now has 25 career saves at Kansas, second all-time to Don Czyz’ 31. While it is very unlikely Smyth will break Czyz’ career saves record he does have a chance to pass Czyz on the all-time career appearances record. Czyz appeared in 128 games from 2003-2006. Smyth trails that record by five games. It looks like KU will get in at least another dozen games this year between the regular season, the conference tournament and a very possible NCAA tournament appearances. If Smyth stays healthy and has his game right I would not be surprised at all to see him leave with that record well in hand.
Jayhawks marching into history: As long as we are talking career records, there are a few more Hawks who are marching up the all-time career lists. Buck Afenir’s 27 homeruns places him in a tie for fifth place all-time at KU with Matt Gundelfinger (1978-1980). Preston Land will break into the top-10 as well if he connects twice more this season. Buck Afenir needs 10 more RBI’s to break into the top-10 all-time RBI list. Matt Tribble (2001-2004) currently holds the #10 slot at 149. Robby Price’s ownership of the #1 spot on the all-time sacrifice list is growing to ridiculous proportions. Price's 11 sacrifices this year gives him a career total of 49. Number two on the all-time KU list, his older brother Ritchie Price. Ritchie ended his four years at KU with 35. Robby still has more than a full season to add to his total.
KU Pitching Dominance: Kansas’ pitching staff is one of the best in the school's modern history. The team ERA is 3.89 right now. The last time a KU team had an ERA under four was before every member of the current team was born, 1981. Kansas has ridden this pitching staff to a 32-15 overall record and an 11-8 conference record. KU has only won 11 or more conference games three times in the twelve year history of the Big-12 (’97 12-18; ’05 11-15 & ’06 13-14.) KU has placed itself in an excellent position to record its first ever winning season in Big-12 play. As long as Kansas wins at least three of their final eight conference games they will be guaranteed of breaking the .500 mark on the season.
May 01, 2009 at Norman, OK (L Dale Mitchell Park)
Kansas 5 (31-15,11-8 Big 12)
|Narodowski, David ss||2||1||0||0||2||2||0||2||0|
|Price, Robby 2b||4||1||1||2||1||0||1||2||1|
|Heere, Brian rf||4||0||0||0||1||1||3||0||2|
|Afenir, Buck c||5||0||0||0||0||2||5||0||4|
|Thompson, Tony 3b||5||2||3||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Lytle, Casey lf||4||1||1||2||1||1||2||0||0|
|Land, Preston 1b||4||0||1||1||0||2||9||0||0|
|Elgie, Zac dh||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||3|
|Brunansky, Jason cf||3||0||2||0||1||0||7||0||0|
|Hall, Shaeffer p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Bollman, Brett p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Blankenship, Travis p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Murray, Colton p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Smyth, Paul p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
Oklahoma 4 (33-13,11-8 Big 12)
|Johnson, Jamie cf||2||1||1||1||2||0||3||0||0|
|Hernandez, Bryant ss||4||0||0||0||1||0||2||1||1|
|Baker, Aaron 1b||5||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0|
|Wise, J.T. c||4||0||2||2||0||0||10||1||1|
|Buechele, Garrett 3b||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||1|
|Ogle, Tyler dh||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hubbard, Ross ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||3|
|Johnson, Casey lf||4||1||1||0||0||1||4||0||0|
|Herren, Kaleb rf||3||0||1||1||0||0||2||0||1|
|Harughty, Matt 2b||4||1||2||0||0||1||3||2||1|
|Doyle, Andrew p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Seng, Tyson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Robinson, J.R. p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Anderson, Chase p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Score by Innings R H E ------------------------------------------- Kansas.............. 401 000 000 - 5 8 1 Oklahoma............ 002 200 000 - 4 8 1 -------------------------------------------
|E - Heere, B.(1); Buechele, G.(6). DP - Kansas 1. LOB - Kansas 10; Oklahoma 8. 2B - Thompson, T.(17); Brunansky(6); Herren, K.(8); Harughty, M.(8). HR - Price, Ro.(3); Lytle, C.(1). HBP - Narodowski; Buechele, G.. SF - Johnson, J.(2); Herren, K.(1). SB - Brunansky(5); Hernandez, B(9).|
|Hall, Shaeffer W,4-4||5.2||8||4||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||22||26||9||5||93|
|Smyth, Paul S,7||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||3||0||3||10|
|Doyle, Andrew L,6-4||3.2||6||5||5||4||6||1||0||0||0||17||21||4||1||88|
|Win - Hall, S. (4-4). Loss - Doyle, A. (6-4). Save - Smyth, P. (7). WP - Doyle, A.(7). HBP - by Hall, S. (Buechele, G.); by Seng, T. (Narodowski). PB - Wise, J.T.(6). Pitches/strikes: Hall, S. 93/63; Bollman, B. 4/2; Blankenship 24/14; Murray, C. 27/17; Smyth, P. 10/8; Doyle, A. 88/50; Seng, T. 56/33; Robinson, JR 9/7; Anderson, C. 10/7.
Umpires - HP: Bob Homolka 1B: Bill McGuire 3B: Mark Wagers