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Nebraska takes advantage of shoddy KU defense to defeat the Jayhawks 11-4

Kansas committed six errors in Friday’s game with Nebraska.  The poor Kansas play allowed the Huskers to pick up a conference road win by a score of 11-4.  Kansas fell to 27-15 and 8-8 in the conference.  Nebraska improved to 19-21-1 and 5-14.


The game started out well enough for Kansas.  The Jayhawks built an early 4-0 lead through three innings.  Preston Land accounted for two of the runs when he dropped a two out double just inside the left field foul line in the third inning.  The hit brought home Brian Heere and Buck Afenir.  From that point forward it was all downhill for KU.


Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong in the top of the fourth.  Two errors, one by each of the KU middle infielders, allowed Nebraska to close to within 4-3.  The eighth man Shaeffer Hall ended up facing in the inning, light hitting Nebraska third baseman Jake Mort, hit a rare homerun to put Nebraska up 6-3.  The three run shot was only Mort’s fifth homerun in four years at Nebraska.  Kansas never recovered from the six runs NU put up in the fourth.  Kansas only collect three more hits over the next five innings.  The KU defense continued to play extraordinarily badly during the end game.  Normally reliable shortstop David Narodowski committed four errors in the game.  All told KU errors accounted for seven of the eleven runs scored by Nebraska.


After an out of character performance like last night’s it is best to just set the game aside for the time being and look forward to round two.  Price said after the game, “The one thing I told our guys is that we have to find a way to flush that one.  That’s the first time we’ve played bad at home all year.  Obviously we played bad in every phase of the game.”  First pitch for Saturday’s contest is 6PM.


Additional game notes, a link to the KU recap and the box score after the jump.


Ritch Price Ejected: KU head coach Ritch Price was ejected from the game in the bottom of the seventh inning by home plate umpire Patrick Spieler.  Price came onto the field after Spieler called a strike on a pitch after Robby Price attempted to call time.  When the strike was called Robby was out of the batter’s box and had his back to home plate.  He was clearly surprised time had not been granted.  Ritch Price took up the case with Spieler and the conversation quickly became heated.  This is the first time I have seen Price ejected from a game since 2007.  I’ll add here that I agree with his coming out and arguing what to me looked like an arbitrary decision by Spieler not to grant Robby time.  The incident will probably be written off as Ritch Price acting out of frustration due to his team’s poor performance but doing so would be at best only partially true.


Cameron Selik and Paul Smyth back in action: Kansas used two pitchers in relief in tonight’s game who are attempting to overcome recent injuries.  Cameron Selik faced one batter in the sixth inning, retiring Tyler Farst with a runner in scoring position and two outs with only two pitches.  Paul Smyth pitched for the first time since April 5th.  Smyth pitched around a lead-off double by Cade Thompson to record a scoreless 8th inning.  Smyth struggled with control but ended up recording three outs with Thompson at third base without allowing him to score.


Jordan Roualdes' pick move: Two Kansas runners were picked off first base in the first two innings by Nebraska starter Jordan Roualdes.  Roualdes got David Narodowski leaning in the first inning and then repeated the trick the next inning catching Preston Land off first base.  Nebraska starting pitcher Erik Bird was charting the game behind home plate.  Bird, who by the way seems like a good guy, confirmed that Roualdes pick off move was pretty wicked and that KU fans should see these outs as more a compliment to Roualdes than a reflection of poor baserunning.


Casey Hauptman middle relief work: Despite his pick off artistry Roualdes did not last long in the game.  KU chased the NU starter after 3.2 innings.  Rather than feast on the Nebraska bullpen Kansas’ offense was instead almost completely shut down by reliever Casey Hauptman.  Hauptman pitched the final 5.1 innings of the game giving up only one hit and no runs.  It was an impressive outing.


Nebraska Defense: A few other notes on Nebraska players.  The Husker defense looked good tonight.  Center fielder D. J. Belfonte and left fielder Nick Sullivan both made nice catches on sinking KU line drives in the outfield.  Tony Thompson was robbed of hits on both plays.  Tony had a particularly frustrating night.  In addition to the two rob jobs above in the third inning with runners at first and second Tony hit a low line drive caught at knee level by Nebraska first baseman Tyler Farst.  Zac Elgie has reason to complain tonight as well.  Nebraska third baseman Jake Mort twice snagged hard hit balls off Elgie’s bat and converted them into outs.  The game ended on one final nice defensive play by the Huskers.  Shortstop Ben Kline caught a looping James Stanfield fly ball with his back to the infield to record the 27th out.  The fact that KU collected 12 hits despite this long collection of six impressive Nebraska defensive plays indicates that the Hawks were swinging well tonight despite the lack of runs scored. 

Crowd: Tonight’s game attracted KU’s largest home crowd of the year.  The announced attendance was 1,381.  The weather looks promising for Saturday’s game as well so hopefully the team will see a lot of supporters out there as they try to rebound.  Be sure to check out bkmhoxx' Nebraska prospect preview if you go.

Link to KU recap

Apr 24, 2009 at Lawrence, KS (Hoglund Ballpark)

Nebraska 11 (19-21-1,5-14 Big 12)

Player   ab    r    h  rbi   bb   so   po    a  lob 
Tezak, Jeff 2b 
Mort, Jake 3b 
Bailey, Adam rf 
Farst, Tyler 1b  10 
Asche, Cody dh 
  Thompson, Cade ph 
Kline, Ben ss 
Belfonte, DJ cf 
Neer, Cody c 
  Kiser, Kale ph 
  Burleson, Cory c 
Collins, Boomer lf 
  Sullivan, Nick lf/ph 
Roualdes, Jordan p 
  Hauptman, Casey p 
Totals  43  11  13  10  27  10 

Kansas 4 (27-15,8-8 Big 12)

Player   ab    r    h  rbi   bb   so   po    a  lob 
Narodowski, David ss 
  Stanfield, James ss 
Price, Robby 2b 
Heere, Brian rf 
Afenir, Buck 10 
Thompson, Tony 3b 
Lytle, Casey lf 
Land, Preston 1b 
Elgie, Zac dh 
Brunansky, Jason cf 
Hall, Shaeffer
  Selik, Cameron p 
  Blankenship, Travis p 
  Murray, Colton p 
  Smyth, Paul p 
  Burk, Kevin p 
Totals  36  12  27  13 

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
Nebraska............ 000 610 400 - 11 13  1
Kansas.............. 112 000 000 -  4 12  6
E - Roualdes, J.(1); Narodowski 4(15); Price, Ro.(5); Afenir, B.(3). DP - Nebraska 1. LOB - Nebraska 9; Kansas 6. 2B - Bailey, A.(9); Thompson, C.(2); Land, P.(6). 3B - Kline, B.(2); Price, Ro.(3). HR - Mort, J.(4). HBP - Sullivan, N.. SB - Farst, T.(2); Belfonte, D. 2(7); Sullivan, N.(2). CS - Mort, J.(2).

Nebraska   ip  er  bb  so  wp  bk  hbp  ibb  ab  bf  fo  go  np 
Roualdes, Jordan   3.2  11  20  21  80 
Hauptman, Casey W,3-4  5.1  16  16  46 
Kansas   ip  er  bb  so  wp  bk  hbp  ibb  ab  bf  fo  go  np 
Hall, Shaeffer L,3-4  5.2  10  29  30  111 
Selik, Cameron   0.1 
Blankenship, Travis   0.0  10 
Murray, Colton   1.0  24 
Smyth, Paul   1.0  19 
Burk, Kevin   1.0  11 

Win - Hauptman, C (3-4). Loss - Hall, S. (3-4). Save - None. WP - Smyth, P.(4). HBP - by Murray, C. (Sullivan, N.). PB - Afenir, B.(7). Pitches/strikes: Roualdes, J. 80/52; Hauptman, C 46/34; Hall, S. 111/75; Selik, C. 2/2; Blankenship 10/5; Murray, C. 24/13; Smyth, P. 19/12; Burk, K. 11/7.

Umpires - HP: Patrick Spieler 1B: Ken Eldridge 3B: Mike Droll
Start: 5:59 pm Time: 2:58 Attendance: 1381
Weather: Partly cloudy, windy, 84*
Blankenship faced 3 batters in the 7th.