Jayhawk Rally Falls Short at No. 4 Arizona State
March 15, 2009
SUPRISE, Ariz. –
Junior Robby Price and sophomore Tony Thompson each had three hits, while senior Nick Faunce hit a grand slam as Kansas nearly erased an eight-run deficit Sunday. Fourth-ranked Arizona State scored five runs in the sixth inning and escaped with a 12-10 triumph over the Jayhawks at Surprise Stadium.
The Sun Devils take the three-game series and improve to 14-3 overall, while KU drops to 10-5. All three of ASU’s losses have come against Big 12 competition.
Down 12-5 after seven innings, KU rallied for five runs off of Sun Devils’ closer Jordan Swagerty. David Narodowski reached on an error to open the inning, and then after an out, moved to second on a single by Price. Senior Buck Afenir cut the lead to six runs with a sharp single to the outfield, scoring Narodowski.
Following Thompson’s third hit of the game, extending his hitting streak to 23 games, Faunce slammed an 0-1 pitch deep into the night to bring the Jayhawks within two. It was the senior’s first round-tripper of the season, and first KU grand slam since March 4, 2008.
However, KU could come no closer. After struggling through the first six hitters he faced, Swagerty recovered to retire the final five Jayhawks he faced to close out the game.
ASU grabbed a 4-0 lead early on a two-run homer by left fielder Kole Calhoun. However, KU fought back to tie the game at four, highlighted by Casey Lytle’s two-run double in the fourth off of Sun Devil ace Mike Leake.
The Sun Devils responded with three runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth inning to build a commanding eight-run lead. Calhoun and first baseman Riccio Torrez led the ASU attack with three hits and three RBIs a piece.
KU’s offense produced 10 runs on a season-high 15 hits. Price and Thompson each had three hits, while Afenir, Faunce and Lytle chipped in with two a piece. Lytle added a career-high three RBIs.
Thompson’s 23-game hitting streak is the second-longest by a Jayhawk and is tied for the ninth-longest in Big 12 history.
Kansas will look to shake off the loss Tuesday when the Jayhawks face San Diego State in a brief two-game series at Tony Gwynn Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. CST.