Walk-Off Double Foils Kansas, 1-0
Feb. 24, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Freshman left-handed pitcher Wes Benjamin tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, however, Wes Rea’s RBI double in the bottom of the ninth plated the winning run as Mississippi State topped Kansas, 1-0, in a non-conference baseball game played Friday evening at Dudy Noble Field.
The Jayhawks snap their four-game winning streak and fall to 4-1 overall, while the Bulldogs improve to 3-1. KU won a game earlier in the day, 9-2 over Mississippi Valley State.
After going through the first eight innings with neither team producing a run, the Bulldogs won the game in walk-off fashion against Kansas closer Tanner Poppe. MSU center fielder C.T. Bradford started off the ninth with a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Rea then slammed the first pitch he saw off the wall in left field with the base runner moving on contact, allowing him to score easily from first base.
The run against Poppe marked the first allowed by the Kansas bullpen this season. Prior to the ninth inning Friday, KU’s relief pitchers had gone 9 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
KU’s starting pitcher, Benjamin, was brilliant in his second start for the Jayhawks. The 6-foot-1 freshman pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Not only did he pitch well, he also fielded his position to help shut down Bulldog rallies in the game. In the second, after a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, the freshman lefty threw a base runner out at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt. While in the fourth, he knocked down a hot shot following a leadoff hit to turn a 1-6-3 double play.
KU’s offense threatened early and then ran into Chris Stratton. The Bulldog relief pitcher went the final six innings and held the Jayhawks to no runs on one hit with a walk and eight strikeouts.
The Jayhawks were held to three hits on the night – two by James Stanfield. Junior Jordan Dreiling added a leadoff double in the seventh. KU left seven men on base, including two in the first and three in the second against MSU starter Ben Bracewell.
KU will look to bounce back Saturday with a 4 p.m. contest against Mississippi State. The game can be heard on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access at kuathletics.com.