One thing is that you don't have to say one motivational thing in this series. If you don't get fired up to play these guys, there's something wrong with you." - Coach Price on the Kansas-Missouri baseball series.
Kansas came up just short last night vs. Aaron Crow and the Tigers. Robby Price made a rare error and KU stranded 12 baserunners allowing Missouri to escape Hoglund with a 5-3 victory. Photo courtesy of the LJ World.
Going into last night's game I knew Kansas had to play a very solid game, and find a little luck, if they were going to beat Aaron Crow and the Tigers. Both these things happened. Nick Czyz delivered a good start, the Hawks managed to produce 17 baserunners and the bullpen pitched well. In the end it came down to one clutch hit, or, more accurately, the lack of that one last clutch hit. Trailing 5-3 Kansas loaded the bases in the ninth before going down swinging.
Aaron Crow came as advertised. The Missouri ace struck out 11 Jayhawks in seven innings without surrendering an earned run. Kansas made some luck in the bottom of the third by scoring two unearned runs off an Andrew Thigpen throwing error. Nick Czyz pitched well enough to keep the team in the game, going five innings while giving up four runs (three earned). The Hawks forced Crow to throw a lot of pitches, drawing five walks and six hits. After the game Coach Price said, "We just tried to run his pitch count up and see if we could get him out of the game." After seven innings and 117 pitches the Tigers turned a 5-2 lead over to the bullpen.
Kansas scored quickly in the bottom of the eighth to cut the led to two runs. The ninth inning was edge-of-your-seat baseball. After recording two quick outs Missouri reliever Ryan Allen loaded the bases on a John Allman double and back to back walks to Buck Afenir and Ryne Price. Missouri wanted this win badly. In a move that surprised just about everyone at Hoglund the Tigers brought in Kyle Gibson, their Saturday starter, and asked him to secure the final out. Erik Morrison worked a 3-1 count before Gibson came back to strike him out swinging and finally quiet the remaining crowd.
It was a great night of baseball. A good crowd of about 1,400 showed up, including at least a couple hundred Missouri supporters. I came into last night's game knowing that the odds were against KU getting a win on Crow Night. The team kept me there all 27 outs and almost stole a win. I am optimistic about the next two games. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the game today will go off without delay. This series still is very much Kansas' to win. First pitch Saturday scheduled for 6PM, Sunday 1PM.
Other Big-12 Scores
Texas A&M 6 at Nebraska 3 (16 Innings! Wow!)
Texas Tech 2 at Oklahoma State 3
Kansas State 6 at Oklahoma 4 (KU & KSU tied for 7th now)