Jayhawks Outlast No. 8 Texas A&M, 17-13
March 17, 2007
COLLEGE STATION, Texas –
Shortstop Erik Morrison and designated hitter Justin Ellrich delivered run-scoring hits in the top of the 11th as the University of Kansas outslugged No. 8 Texas A&M, 17-13 for a Big 12 baseball victory Saturday evening at Olsen Field.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks improve to 13-10 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play, while the Aggies fall to 19-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
KU collected 20 hits in a Big 12 game for the first time since 2005 and just the third time since 2003. Seven different Jayhawks had multiple hits in the game, including the top three hitters in the order, Kyle Murphy, Robby Price and John Allman, who all had three hits.
The Jayhawks took the lead for good in the top of the 11th with a four-run rally. With one out, Allman was hit by a pitch and Simpson walked to set up Morrison’s RBI double over the left fielder’s head to break the tie.
After Texas A&M intentionally walked second baseman Ryne Price, senior Dylan Parzyk drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Designated hitter Justin Ellrich then doubled in two more runs to give the Jayhawks a four-run cushion.
Sophomore Paul Smyth pitched 4.2 innings of relief to pick up the win. Smyth allowed the tying run to score in the ninth, but shut down TAMU in the final two innings.
The Jayhawks broke on top in the first inning on back-to-back hits by Allman and Brock Simpson. With two outs in the inning, Allman tripled to right field on a ball that got by Aggie outfielder Brian Ruggiano. Simpson made Texas A&M pay by slapping a single up the middle to give KU a 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. After a single and a two-base error on a wild pick-off attempt, the Aggies knotted the score on a ground out to short.
That was just the beginning. Kansas built a 10-2 lead on the strength of a six-run fourth. Simpson had the big hit in the inning, a three-run homer to right field to cap the rally. It was the right fielder’s first home run of the season. Simpson’s three-run blast followed RBI hits by Buck Afenir, Murphy and Allman.
KU scored three more runs in the fifth on a two-run single by Murphy and an RBI single by freshman Robby Price.
However, Texas A&M responded with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth, sending 13 hitters to the plate in the inning. Four of the Aggies’ runs were unearned after a pair of Jayhawk errors.
Kansas regained the lead at 12-10 in the seventh on Allman’s two-run single to center field. Once again, the Aggies answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Ryne Price gave KU another lead in the top of the ninth with a sac fly to right field. But for a third time, Texas A&M rallied. Ben Feltner’s infield single plated the tying run with one out and put the winning run on third base.
However, after an intentional walk, Smyth got out of the inning by inducing a 5-2-3 double play to end the threat.
Smyth was the last of five pitchers used by the Jayhawks Saturday. He retired the final six hitters he faced to pick up his first win of the year.
KU will try to win the series tomorrow when the teams meet for the rubber game at 1 p.m.
The victory was KU’s first over a nationally ranked team this season, and the first over a team ranked in the top ten since a 7-5 win over Oklahoma on April 30 last year. The Sooners were also ranked eighth in the country at that time … Robby Price extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the top of the fourth. Price is one of just 20 players to enjoy a hitting streak of 15 games or longer at KU … The Jayhawks have now won at least one game of the series against Texas A&M in each of the last four seasons. Prior to 2004, KU was 8-30 all-time against the Aggies.