A balanced Kansas attack kept the pressure on the Oklahoma State pitching staff all day today. The Jayhawks scored in five of their eight innings at the plate while pounding the Cowboys 13-6. Kansas will go for a series sweep tomorrow at Hoglund at 1PM. This is shaping up to be quite a year for the Kansas baseball team. The history of KU baseball is littered with stories of futility against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. So far this year Kansas has gone 6-2 against these clubs. There is something special happening at Hoglund this year. What makes it all the more surprising is that the success is completely unexpected. Kansas was picked to finish last in the Big-12 in the pre-season coaches poll. Kansas’ win today gave the Jayhawks a 6-5 Big-12 record and put them in 5th place in the conference.
Today each of the first four players in the KU lineup had multi-hit games. Brian Heere, who is insanely hot over the last two weeks, went 3-5 today. The postgame KU press release pointed out that in the last 8 games Heere is hitting .593 with 8 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 27 at bats. Buck Afenir went 3-4 with 3 RBIs and 3 runs. Afenir hit his fourth homerun today, his first since March 18th. Tony Thompson went 1-4 with 2 RBIs giving him 43 on the year. Thompson has 24 RBI’s in his last 13 games. Robby Price went 2-3 with a walk. The core of the batting order is practically overheating.
T.J. Walz (4-0) continued to pitch well against conference opponents. Walz went 6.2 innings for the win, striking out a career high 10 batters. Walz began showing fatigue in the sixth inning when he allowed the first two OSU batters to reach base but he gutted out another five outs before exiting with KU ahead 9-4. Walz ended up throwing 111 pitches. OSU sent Tyler Blandford (6-1) to the mound today instead of on Sunday as was initially announced. Blandford took his first loss of the year, lasting only 4.1 innings. The OSU fireballer needed 94 pitches to get that far. In the first two games OSU has had to bring 10 pitchers in from their bullpen. The phone in the KU bullpen has only rung once during those same games. Travis Blankenship pitched the final 2.1 innings of today’s game. This situation has to bode well for Kansas’ chances of getting a sweep tomorrow. The OSU pitching staff is going to leave Lawrence bruised and exhausted.
Just as a side note: The last time an opposing pitcher managed to last six innings against Kansas? - James Quisenberry of Northern Colorado on April 1st. Kansas is scoring an average of nine runs a game during that streak.
The OSU team seemed visibly frustrated today. Several times they argued balls and strikes with the umpire and looked even worse in the field then normal. It is possible that fans at Hoglund today saw another chapter of one of this season’s most dramatic storylines being played out. - One tremendously talented team continued to fall short of expectations and perhaps revealed signs it might unravel under pressure. Another team full of slap hitters and gut check pitchers continued to exceed expectations and show signs that as a whole they might be much better than the sum of their individual scouting reports.
A large and enthusiastic crowd of 1,100 showed up at Hoglund today. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow until after game time. First pitch is set for 1PM.
Box score and link to KU recap after the jump.
Apr 11, 2009 at Lawrence, KS (Hoglund Ballpark)
Okla. St. 6 (21-13,4-7 Big 12)
|Dabbs, Micheal cf||5||2||3||0||0||2||0||0||0|
|Hambly, Tyrone 3b||5||1||3||4||0||1||0||3||0|
|Medchill, Neil lf||3||1||0||0||2||2||3||0||1|
|Green, Dean 1b||5||0||1||0||0||2||7||0||1|
|Kroll, Doug rf||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||2|
|Belza, Tom 2b||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||4||0|
|Womack, Jared dh||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1|
|Knecht, Marcus ph||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Propst, Brad ss||4||1||0||0||0||1||2||1||2|
|Walker, Eric c||3||1||1||0||0||0||9||0||0|
|Thomas, Rafael ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Blandford, Tyler p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Breedlove, Jeff p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kent, Joe p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Starks, Jared p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Keeling, Thomas p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Fisher, Uriah p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Kansas 13 (22-12,6-5 Big 12)
|Narodowski, David ss||5||2||2||1||0||1||2||1||0|
|Price, Robby 2b||3||3||2||0||1||0||1||2||0|
|Heere, Brian rf||5||2||3||4||0||0||0||0||0|
|Afenir, Buck c||4||3||3||3||1||0||13||2||1|
|Thompson, Tony 3b||4||1||1||2||1||1||1||0||2|
|Lytle, Casey lf||3||1||1||1||1||1||1||0||1|
|Brunansky, Jason cf||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Land, Preston 1b||4||0||1||1||0||3||4||0||0|
|Elgie, Zac dh||3||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||1|
|Waters, Jimmy ph/dh||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Faunce, Nick cf/lf||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||1|
|Walz, T.J. p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Blankenship, Travis p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|E - Belza(5); Propst(1); Narodowski 2(9); Price, Ro.(3). DP - Kansas 1. LOB - Oklahoma St 7; Kansas 7. 2B - Dabbs(7); Hambly(9); Heere, B.(6). HR - Hambly(6); Heere, B.(2); Afenir, B.(4). HBP - Knecht; Price, Ro.; Waters, J.. SF - Land, P.(2). SB - Hambly(2); Lytle, C. 3(5). CS - Kroll(1).|
|Blandford, Tyler L,6-1||4.1||6||8||6||3||7||1||0||1||0||19||23||2||4||94|
|Walz, T.J. W,4-0||6.2||8||4||3||2||10||0||0||0||0||27||29||6||2||111|
|Win - Walz, T. (4-0). Loss - Blandford (6-1). Save - None. WP - Blandford(9); Keeling(5). HBP - by Blandford (Price, Ro.); by Keeling (Waters, J.); by Blankenship (Knecht). Pitches/strikes: Blandford 94/53; Breedlove 19/13; Kent 4/3; Starks 12/7; Keeling 26/14; Fisher 15/10; Walz, T. 111/76; Blankenship 50/31.
Umpires - HP: Dan O'Connell 1B: David Wiley 3B: Randy Bruns