Jayhawks Rout Niagara, 11-4; Finish Off Sweep
March 9, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Jordan Dreiling and sophomore Dakota Smith each recorded three RBIs, while senior Thomas Taylor allowed just three unearned runs in six innings as Kansas finished off a four-game sweep of Niagara, 11-4, Saturday at rainy Hoglund Ballpark.
Saturday’s game was delayed twice by rain showers, which fell on the KU campus throughout the afternoon. However, it didn’t stop the Jayhawks from improving to 10-5 and completing its first four-game sweep since 2011. The Purple Eagles dropped to 3-13 on the year.
After a two-hour, 20 minute delay held up the start of play, the Jayhawks got their bats going early. Kansas scored three runs in the first and third innings to hold a comfortable cushion for most of the game.
KU scored three in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly, an RBI single by Michael Suiter and an infield fly rule play that first baseman Alex DeLeon hustled home safely from after the Niagara infield misplayed the ball. The Jayhawks added a run in the second and scored three more times in the third on Tommy Mirabelli’s RBI double and a two-run single by Smith.
That was more than enough support for Taylor, who held the visitors in check for the first six innings. The senior allowed just three unearned runs on a bases clearing double after a two-out error extended the inning. He finished the afternoon with six strikeouts, running his season total to a team-best 27.
After the Purple Eagles cut the deficit to 7-3 in the fifth inning on Christian Vangeison’s three-run double, the Jayhawks answered with two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to put the game out of reach. Smith drove in his third run of the game with a fielder’s choice, while Dreiling collected the team’s 18th sacrifice fly of the season to cap the rally.
Junior Jordan Piché earned his second decision of the series, pitching the final three frames to pick up his second save of the year.
Sophomore Justin Protacio, Smith and Suiter all recorded two hits to lead the Kansas offense. Suiter’s two-hit game gave him eight for the series in 14 at bats. It also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. DeLeon also matched a school record, getting hit by pitch three times in the game.
The Jayhawks added two more stolen bases in the game, giving the team 23 in the four-game series with Niagara. KU’s season total of 44 steals is more than it had all of last year.
Kansas will look to stay on track with one final non-conference tune up before it gets into Big 12 play next weekend. The Jayhawks will host Jackson State at 3 p.m., Wednesday afternoon in the final contest of the five-game homestand.
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