Simpson Sparks KU Victory in Season-Opener

Feb. 2, 2007

HILO, Hawaii –

Junior Brock Simpson’s two-run double in the top of the seventh broke open a tie game and gave the University of Kansas a 4-1 triumph over Hawaii-Hilo Thursday evening at Wong Memorial Stadium. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The win is KU’s third-straight season-opening victory, while the Vulcans fall to 0-5 on the season.

Simpson had the big hit in what proved to be the deciding inning. After a botched safety squeeze, it looked as if UHH would survive a leadoff double by junior Ryne Price. However, Simpson drove a 3-1 pitch off the right field fence for a three-base hit that scored pinch runner Nick Faunce and senior Kyle Murphy.

Simpson led the Jayhawks with six triples last season. He later scored on a wild pitch.

The run support was more than enough for junior transfer Zach Ashwood. The 6-foot-4 lefty went six innings, allowing just one unearned run on one hit. He struck out seven and walked three in his KU debut.

Senior relief pitcher Ryotaro Hayakawa worked scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. While sophomore Paul Smyth survived a leadoff walk to earn his first career save.

Ryne Price paced the offense, going 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run to lead off the top of the second for KU’s first run of the game. Price hit nine homers in just 84 at-bats last season.

The Vulcans tied the score in the bottom of the inning. After a walk, a passed ball and a fielder’s choice, UHH’s Ryan Taiariol delivered an RBI-single to right field.

UHH starting pitcher Lars Knepper was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs on four hits over 6 2/3 innings.

The Jayhawks (1-0) will play UHH in a doubleheader Friday at Wong Memorial Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. CST (3 p.m. local time).