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Kansas splits first two games with #7 Baylor. Series to be decided Sunday at Noon.

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Kansas and Baylor split the first two games of their weekend series.  On Friday Kansas took a 6-5 lead into the ninth only to allow Baylor to score three runs off closer Paul Smyth and lose the game 8-6.  The Jayhawks stormed back in awesome fashion  on Saturday shutting out Baylor 6-0.  Kansas starter T.J. Walz went the distance in game two pitching a three hitter.  Sunday’s deciding game will start at noon, an hour earlier than originally scheduled, in an attempt to beat rain expected for Sunday afternoon.

 

Kansas’ record now stands at 18-11 and 4-4 in the Big-12.  Baylor is 19-8 and 6-5.

 

Game recaps and boxscores after the jump.

Also, be sure not to miss bkmhoxx' Baylor Prospect Preview if you go to Sunday's game.

 

 

Friday Game: Baylor 8 – Kansas 6

The Jayhawks chased Baylor ace and All-American candidate Kendal Volz after 4.2 innings on Friday.   Shaeffer Hall was getting hit hard all night but he managed to hand a 6-5 lead off the KU bullpen after five innings.  Buck Afenir was largely responsible for this lead.  The KU catcher went 3-4 with 3 RBIs.  Colton Murray, Travis Blankenship and Brett Bochy pitched three scoreless innings and the game went to the ninth with the same score.  KU closer Paul Smyth suffered another disasterous outing and took the loss after giving up three runs in the final frame.  Smyth gave up back to back hits to start the inning which allowed Baylor to score the tying run.  With no outs and a runner at first he induced light hitting Baylor center fielder Don Lambert to bunt a ball right to the pitcher’s mound.  Smyth wheeled and threw well wide of second base in an attempt to turn a double play.  The ball went to centerfield and put runners at second and third with no outs.  With the infield in Smyth struck out Raynor Campbell before giving up a two run sharply hit single to right by Dustin Dickerson.  The Jayhawks were unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth. 

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Kansas shortstop David Narodowski will miss some time after suffering an injury in Friday's loss to Baylor.  The KU shortstop is hitting .342 and providing excellent defense. 

via media.kansan.com

The loss was Smyth’s fifth of the year.  The Jayhawks also suffered a loss of a different nature that same inning.  Shortstop David Narodowski apparently slipped on the dirt pathway while chasing down a ground ball in short left field which ricocheted off Tony Thompson’s glove.  Narodowski leg came out from under him awkwardly and Narodowski went down and stayed down for perhaps a minute.  He attempted to walk off the injury for one pitch before leaving the game.  I understand he may have suffered a high ankle sprain.  Hopefully the injury will not keep him out of the lineup for long.  James Stanfield will sub for Narodowski at shortstop for the time being.  Narodowski is an excellent defensive shortstop and has been hitting for a high average.

The cold and windy weather did not prevent the KU fan base from showing up in force for the game.  The attendance of 1,199 was a season high.  The loss snapped Kansas 14 game home winning streak, the third longest in school history.

 

Saturday: Kansas 6 – Baylor 0

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T. J. Walz is the whole story of Saturday's game.  The Kansas sophomore right hander went the distance giving up only three singles, a walk and a hit batter.  Walz threw 116 pitches in the game.  Oddly enough just this week in my interview with Coach Price we discussed Walz’ inability to go deep into games.   Walz moves to 3-0 on the season.  He has now beaten two top-10 teams, Arizona State and Baylor.

Kansas score two runs in the fourth inning when Jason Brunanasky and Brian Heere both hit doubles and Tony Thompson an RBI single.  The Hawks put the game out of reach by scoring four more runs in the sixth inning.  Buck Afenir and Nick Faunce hit RBI doubles but the big blow was Tony Thompson’s seventh homerun of the season, a two run towering shot to left field.

 

The Hawks are the first team to hang a loss on Baylor freshman Logan Verrett.  Verrett was chased after 5.1 innings in which he gave up five runs.  He falls to 7-1 on the year.

 

Buck Afenir has been a BEAST this week.  In the last three games Afenir has collected four singles, two doubles and NINE RBIs.  Tony Thompson has been scorching hot as well.  During that same span the KU third baseman has a single, two doubles, a homerun and seven RBIs.  The heart of the KU order is beating strong right now.

 

Saturday’s win over Baylor raises KU’s overall record vs. the Bears to 6-34.  All five of Kansas’ previous victories had been by one run.

 

I can’t encourage KU fans strongly enough to come out and support the team on Sunday.  A win on Sunday will give KU only it’s second series victory over Baylor ever and will improve the Hawk’s Big-12 record to 5-4.  I also guarantee that if Kansas wins on Sunday you will see them ranked in the national polls next week.  The weather looks menacing but the pitching match-up favors Kansas I believe.  If Kansas defends Hoglund those in attendance will be seeing a special day for Jayhawk baseball.

Link to KU Recap and Boxscore of Friday's Game.

Link to KU Recap of Saturday's game.