Kansas Completes Doubleheader Sweep, 5-4
March 8, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Jordan Dreiling scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on a wild pitch, giving sophomore Wes Benjamin his first victory of the season, 5-4, over Niagara Friday evening as Kansas completed a doubleheader sweep of the Purple Eagles at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks win their third in a row to move to 9-5 on the year, while Niagara falls to 3-13.
After the Purple Eagles scored three unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, Dreiling took matters into his own hands in the seventh. The senior third baseman reached on a hit by pitch, stole two bases and scored when relief pitcher Ben Zaccagnino’s offering to Michael Suiter hit the dirt and ricocheted high in the air in front of home plate.
Dreiling’s winning run came on the heels of producing the game-winning RBI in the first game of the day.
The seventh inning run helped Wes Benjamin earn his first win of the season. The sophomore lefty was dominant outside of a hiccup in the sixth inning. Benjamin allowed one earned run on six hits with a walk and a career-high 11 strikeouts. His 11 K’s were the most by a Jayhawk since teammate Frank Duncan fanned 11 in a win at Texas on April 20 of last year.
Fellow sophomore Robert Kahana earned his first save of the year, retiring all six men he faced in the final two innings.
The Jayhawks again used the stolen base to their advantage, swiping nine bases in the win. For the second-straight day, KU finished one stolen base away from the school record of 10, established in 2000.
KU stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, scoring runs on two sacrifice flies and an RBI single by sophomore Connor McKay. The Jayhawks’ pair of sac flies gives the team 15 for the season after producing just 14 all of last year.
The home team added a run in the fifth on an RBI ground out from Alex DeLeon.
Niagara came back in the sixth, using two Jayhawk errors and Greg Rodgers’ two-run double to tie the game at four. However, KU’s pitching took over after that. Benjamin and Kahana combined to retire the final 10 Purple Eagles to come to the plate in the game.
Suiter led the Jayhawk offense, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. It marked his third multi-hit game of the weekend and seventh of the season. Dreiling became the third different Jayhawk to record three stolen bases in a game this season, while Suiter and McKay chipped in two apiece.
Coming into the weekend, KU had stolen 21 bases in their first 11 games of the season. The Jayhawks have now matched that in the first three games of the series against Niagara.
Kansas will look for its first four-game sweep of the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.