Kansas Splits Doubleheader with No. 9 Nebraska to Open Big 12 Play

March 26, 2005

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior outfielder Gus Milner singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the University of Kansas baseball team to 7-6 victory over No. 9 Nebraska in the first game of a doubleheader at Hoglund Ballpark in the team’s Big 12 opening series.

Kansas fell by a score of 9-3 in the nightcap of the doubleheader to bring their overall record this season to 21-9 and 1-1 in Big 12 play. The Cornhuskers’ record now stands at 20-3 with a 1-1 mark in conference action.

In the first game, the Huskers were able to plate the game’s first run as they tallied a score in the top of the first inning off Kansas starter Mike Zagurski courtesy of a RBI single from designated hitter Brandon Buckman.

Third baseman Alex Gordon gave the Huskers a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning when he connected on this eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field of Zagurski.

Zagurski (4-2) got a no decision in the contest, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing five earned runs while striking out seven batters and walking three.

In the top of the fifth inning, Gordon added to the Nebraska lead as he connected on his second home run of the game, a two-run blast over the wall in right field. The multiple home run game was the second of the season for Gordon.

The Kansas offense exploded in the bottom of the fifth inning to rough up Nebraska starter Joba Chamberlain, who had held KU hitless prior to the inning. The Jayhawks pushed across two runs on RBI hit by pitches as Chamberlain plunked three batters and walk one other in the inning. In addition, Milner plated a run with a sacrifice fly, while seniors Sean Richardson and Mike Dudley and junior Jared Schweitzer added RBI singles in the inning. The Jayhawks scored six runs in the frame to take a 6-4 lead.

The Cornhuskers cut the KU lead to 6-5 in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Lawrence, Kan., native Curtis Ledbetter, which bounced off the foul pole down the right field line.

The Huskers were able to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the eighth inning off of KU reliever Kodiak Quick when Buckman doubled to drive in Gordon, who had reached on a leadoff walk.

Nebraska reliever Brett Jensen entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and failed to retire a batter. Junior second baseman Matt Baty singled to begin the inning and was followed by junior shortstop Ritchie Price, who reached base on an error by Jensen. After the Huskers failed to record an out on fielder’s choice off the bat of A.J. Van Slyke, Milner came to plate with the bases loaded and slammed a pitch over the head of right fielder Andy Gerch to give the Jayhawks their third walk-off victory this season.

Junior closer Don Czyz (2-1) picked up the win in the contest, pitching 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief while striking out three batters.

In the second game, Buckman gave the Huskers an early 1-0 lead as he doubled in the top of the first inning to drive in Joe Simokaitis with the game’s first run.

The Jayhawks broke through against Nebraska starter Zach Kroenke in the bottom of the third inning to plate a pair of runs and take a 2-1 lead. Baty and Price highlighted the frame as they both collected RBI singles.

Kroenke allowed only three runs in six innings to pick up the win in the nightcap improving his record this season to 3-0, while KU starter Sean Land (2-2) lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing four runs to be tagged with the loss.

Nebraska was able to recapture the lead in the top of the third innings as it tallied three runs on a RBI single by centerfielder Daniel Bruce and a two-run double off the bat of Gerch.

With the Huskers leading 8-3 in the eighth inning, Gordon connected on his third home run of the doubleheader as he blasted the first pitch he saw from KU reliever Travis Goset high over the wall in center field.

Kodiak Quick (7-1) will take the hill for the Jayhawks on Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark as KU attempts to win a series over Nebraska for the first time since the 1997 season. First pitch in Sunday’s contest is set for 1 p.m.