Kansas Wins Slugfest With Southern Utah in Extras, 11-10
March 21, 2012
- Coach Price
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Ka’iana Eldredge went 5-for-7 and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning with an infield single as Kansas rallied from a late deficit to beat Southern Utah, 11-10 in extra innings Wednesday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. The second game of the doubleheader was cancelled due to rain.
After trading runs with Southern Utah for the better part of the afternoon, the Jayhawks came out on top and improve to 10-10 on the year, while the Thunderbirds fall to 3-16 overall.
Trailing 10-8 in the bottom of the ninth inning, KU loaded the bases on a hit batsmen, a Tucker Tharpe walk and a Jordan Dreiling single. That set the stage for Eldredge, whose father David watched in the opposing dugout as head coach of the SUU baseball team. Eldridge knocked a two out pitch to right off of Thunderbird reliever Chase Rezac, which plated two runs and tied the score up at 10.
Following a one hour, 19-minute rain delay, the teams took the field for the top of the 10th. One inning later, Kansas pieced together a rally on a lead-off single by Tucker Tharp. Tharp would reach second on a sacrifice by Jordan Dreiling and an throwing error on SUU catcher Taggert Lunceford. Another Kansas sacrifice by Kevin Kuntz gave Eldredge another chance to be a hero as he stepped to the plate with two runners in scoring position with one out. On the first pitch the Honolulu, Hawaii native slapped a ball to short, enabling Tharp to cross the plate for the walk-off win.
Morvick, who pitched two scoreless innings, picked up his second win of the year. He recorded a strikeout and allowed just three base runners.
Both teams traded runs back-and-forth throughout the day. The Jayhawks and Thunderbirds combined for 21 runs on 35 hits over 11 innings of baseball.
Trailing 2-1 in the third, Kansas battled back as Jordan Dreiling reached on an error and Kuntz moved Dreiling over to third with a line drive to right center. Dreiling would score to tied the game on another line drive single by Eldridge – his second hit of the day. Freshman Connor McKay then made it three straight singles to give KU a 4-2 lead as two Crimson and Blue runners crossed the plate on his scorcher to left center. Stanfield and Jake Marasco stringed together two more two-out singles which gave KU a 5-2 lead.
Southern Utah struck back in the top of the fifth with an RBI double by left fielder Brad Royer, which made it 5-3. Royer would cross the plate himself after a throwing error during a rundown in the Kansas infield to bring the Thunderbirds within one run.
Kansas stretched the lead to 7-4 on back-to-back doubles by DeLeon and McKay. A wild pitch moved McKay over to third and Stanfield drove in KU’s second run of the inning on a fielder’s choice.
Not phased, the Thunderbirds would regain the lead in the seventh with a four-run inning. SUU shortstop Bo Cuthbertson hit a two-run homer to left, while Justin Neuhart and Mitchell Kauweloa recorded RBI hits, giving the visitors an 8-7 lead. SUU stretched the lead to 10-7 on another two-run homer by Cuthbertson in the eighth. The 2011 All-American went 4-for-4 on the day with two homers and five RBIs.
Kansas rallied for a run in the eighth and then Eldredge’s two-run single in the ninth sent the game to extra innings.
Eldredge became the first Jayhawk to collect five hits in a game since Nick Faunce turned the trick against Kansas State in 2009. DeLeon went 3-for-5 with a pair of two-out RBIs, while Dreiling also had three hits in the game. McKay also chipped in two hits and three RBIs.
The Jayhawks’ 19 hits in the game were the most since the team collected 20 against Oklahoma State April 30, 2010.
Kansas will open Big 12 play on Friday when it faces No. 27 Baylor in Waco, Texas. The series opener is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Friday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.