Walk-Off Hit Foils Jayhawk Rally Again
March 27, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – For the second-straight game, KU rallied from an early five-run deficit to tie the score, only to lose on a walk-off base hit. This time, Missouri State senior Kevin Medrano’s bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning broke a tie and gave the Bears a 9-8 victory over Kansas Tuesday night at Hammons Field.
The Jayhawks drop their fourth straight and fall to 10-14 on the season, while Missouri State wins its eighth in a row to improve to 20-6 overall.
Kansas trailed 8-3 after two innings, but a four-run fourth and an RBI single by Ka’iana Eldredge in the sixth tied the score at eight. It marked the second consecutive game that KU had dug itself out of an early hole after rallying from a 6-1 deficit at Baylor Sunday.
However, just like Sunday’s loss, the middle inning rally was not quite enough.
Missouri State shortstop Eric Cheray doubled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored the winning run after a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Medrano, a native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., provided the game-winning RBI with a line drive up the middle against a drawn-in infield.
Kansas scored three runs in the first inning on back-to-back two-out RBI hits by Jake Marasco and Zac Elgie. Elgie’s two-run single in the first marked his second-straight game with a two-out base hit with the bases loaded.
Missouri State answered by scoring eight runs in the next two innings, forcing early departures by KU starting pitcher Drew Morovick and reliever Jordan Jakubov.
Not phased, the Jayhawks rallied to cut the five run deficit to one in the fourth inning. After Michael Suiter started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, right fielder Tucker Tharp and shortstop Kevin Kuntz delivered back-to-back singles. Kuntz’s base hit extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games.
After a wild pitch and an RBI ground out by Eldredge made the score 8-6, freshman Connor McKay collected KU’s fourth two-out RBI of the night with a line drive single to right field.
The Jayhawks tied the game in the sixth when Kuntz led off the inning with a triple and scored on Eldredge’s RBI single under Missouri State first baseman Luke Voit’s glove.
MSU relief pitcher Grant Gordon picked up the win by pitching three scoreless innings in relief. He did not allow a Jayhawk base runner over the seventh, eighth and ninth frames and tallied five strikeouts.
Nearly as impressive was KU reliever Robert Kahana, who pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. Kahana’s work out of the bullpen allowed the Jayhawks to rally in the middle innings after Missouri State had jumped out to a five-run lead.
Kansas will return home and face Big 12 foe Texas Tech this weekend in a three-game conference series, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.