T.J. Walz dominated tonight in Suprise, Arizona. Shutting down the #7 Sun Devils through 6.1 innings. (Photo via grfx.cstv.com)
Heading to #7 Arizona State the Jayhawks must have been thinking that winning one of three games would be a victory of sorts. Mission accomplished, and with a game to spare. After dropping the opening contest 9-4 Kansas came back to tie up the series one apiece on the strength of a phenomenal start by sophomore pitcher T.J. Walz. Facing one of the toughest hitting line-ups in the nation Walz went 6.1 innings, gave up six hits, two runs (one earned) walked one and struck out six. Travis Blankenship and Brett Bochy kept the Sun Devils off the score board for 1.2 more innings before Paul Smyth closed out the game with a scoreless 9th.
The Kansas offensive stars tonight were David Narodowski, Brian Heere and Buck Afenir, each with two hits. Afenir drove in the go ahead run in the top of the seventh inning. Tony Thompson kept his hitting streak alive (now at 22, second longest in school history) with an RBI double. Zac Elgie drove in the third run and hit a single.
Kansas improves to 10-4 on the year while ASU falls to 13-3. This was the first defeat for the Sun Devils in a weekend match-up. Link to the KU game recap and boxscore here.
This is the biggest win for KU this year. The team has to be feeling the confidence. This one finally got me off the fence. Mark me down as officially optimistic about the '09 Hawks. Big-12 teams are going to have to take them seriously.
Kansas will go for the series win tomorrow at around 6:30PM. KU will provide a free web cast of the game.