Jayhawks Rally For Two Wins Thursday
March 20, 2008
BRADENTON, Fla. –
The Kansas baseball team had the rally caps working Thursday at the Florida Spring Classic. In two games, KU erased early deficits to earn a pair of victories, 7-6 over Central Connecticut State and 8-6 over Dartmouth at IMG Academy Park. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks improve to 13-8 with the two wins.
In the first game, senior Ryne Price had two hits, while Buck Afenir had two RBIs in a 7-6 triumph over the Blue Devils from CCSU.
The Jayhawks trailed 4-3 after five innings, but came back roaring in the sixth. KU scored the tying run and the go-ahead run on an infield single by Erik Morrison and a wild throw from the CCSU pitcher. Morrison scored on a single to left by designated hitter Buck Afenir as KU took a 6-4 lead.
KU stretch its advantage to 7-4 on Preston Land’s RBI double in the seventh, plating John Allman.
Junior Paul Smyth entered in a bases loaded jam in the seventh and worked out of it with a pair of strikeouts. The third-year righty pitched three innings of relief for his third save of the season.
Senior Matt Lane, a Lawrence native, pitching 1 1/3 innings of relief to earn his first win in a Jayhawk uniform. Lane allowed just one base runner on a walk, pitching in relief of Hiarali Garcia.
Robby Price’s two-run double with two outs in the ninth lifted KU to an 8-6 come-from-behind win over Dartmouth in the second game of the day.
With two outs and Joe Southers at first base, Casey Larson collected his fourth hit of the afternoon – singling to right field. Larson became the third different Jayhawk to record a four-hit game this season.
That set up Price, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, to play hero with a double to the right-center gap. The sophomore second baseman’s three runs batted in matched a career high.
The ninth inning rally came on the heels of a furious comeback by the Jayhawks.
The Big Green led 5-0 after four innings on the strength of two Damon Wright home runs.
The Jayhawks cut the deficit to 5-2 on an RBI single by Matt Berner and a triple by Larson, who was a homer shy of hitting for the cycle.
Buck Afenir’s three-run homer tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the sixth, however the Big Green responded with a solo shot by James Wren in the bottom of the inning.
KU equalized the score again on a double by Larson and an RBI single by Robby Price.
Senior Andres Esquibel scattered nine hits and six runs over eight innings of work. It was the longest start by a KU pitcher this season.
Sophomore Brett Bollman pitched a perfect ninth for his first save in a KU uniform.
The 5-0 deficit marked the largest that KU has overcome to win a game this season.
The Jayhawks (13-8) will play Ohio State (noon CST) and UMBC (4 p.m. CST) in action Friday at the Florida Spring Classic.