Jayhawks Dust Off North Dakota, 6-3
March 4, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Sophomore Tony Thompson hit a three-run homer in the first inning, while junior Travis Blankenship pitched five solid innings as Kansas completed a two-game sweep of North Dakota, 6-3, Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks, who have now won three of their last four, improve to 4-3 overall, while the Fighting Sioux drop to 0-6.
Just like they had done in Tuesday’s game, Kansas grabbed an early lead and rode their strong pitching. In Wednesday’s contest, Blankenship was masterful for five innings. He needed just 27 pitches to get through the first three innings, retiring all nine Sioux he faced.
The Lawrence, Kan., native went five innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts to pick up his first victory in a Jayhawk uniform.
Meanwhile, Thompson paced the Jayhawk offense. The sophomore third baseman cracked KU’s first home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning to stake the Jayhawks to a 3-0 lead.
Kansas tacked on two more runs in the second on back-to-back RBI singles by Brian Heere and Robby Price. First baseman Preston Land, who along with Heere led the Jayhawks with two hits, started the second inning rally with a leadoff double down the left field line.
The Sioux got on the board in the fourth as Aaron Cook drove in a run with a ground out to short. However, KU got the run back in their half of the fifth as Land delivered an RBI single after Jimmy Water reached on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch.
KU’s bullpen allowed two runs in the sixth, however Brett Bochy and Paul Smyth closed the door, retiring the final six men to come to the plate in order.
The Jayhawks will look to extend their winning streak when Northwestern visits Hoglund Ballpark for a four-game series this weekend. The teams will open with a doubleheader Friday at 1 p.m.