Jayhawks Rally to Upend No. 11 Oklahoma, 10-8
March 30, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. – Senior Alex DeLeon went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, while Robert Kahana and Jordan Piché combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen as Kansas ended two long streaks with a 10-8 come-from-behind win over No. 11 Oklahoma Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Jayhawks improved to 15-10 overall and 3-3 conference play and snapped Oklahoma’s (25-5, 5-1 Big 12) 13-game winning streak. KU also ended a 12-game losing streak against the Sooners, which dated back to May 3, 2009. It was also KU’s first win over a ranked opponent this season.
Kansas scored seven runs in the top of the first, but needed rallies in the seventh and eighth innings to claim the win. After OU scored seven times in the fifth inning to take the lead, the Jayhawks started their half of the seventh with three-straight singles by seniors Kevin Kuntz, Jordan Dreiling and DeLeon.
DeLeon’s opposite field single tied the score at 8-8. Dreiling then stole third base and scored on freshman Jacob Boylan’s sacrifice fly. The Jayhawks added an insurance run in the eighth with doubles by Ka’iana Eldredge and Kuntz for a two-run advantage.
KU’s bullpen did the rest. Kahana picked up his third victory of the year, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, which included pitching out of a jam in the fifth after OU had taken the lead. After suffering his first loss on Friday night, Piché earned his third save of the season Saturday. The junior college transfer allowed just one hit over the final 1 2/3 innings with one strikeout.
The Jayhawks’ win was not without controversy. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Sooners a man on with a leadoff single by Anthony Hermelyn. However, on a ground ball to second by pinch hitter Caleb Bickerstaff, the umpires ruled that pinch runner Justin Burba interfered with Justin Protacio’s ability to turn a double play, calling both the base runner and the batter out. After a long argument, play resumed and Piché recorded the final out on a grounder to second.
Kansas broke out of a series long slump in the first inning, scoring seven runs and equaling its hit total from the first two games of the series. DeLeon started things with a two-run double to right, while Eldredge made the score 4-0 with a two-run single to center with two outs. Sophomore Justin Protacio followed with a two-run double down the left field line, while Dakota Smith capped the first inning rally with an RBI single to center.
However, Oklahoma collected seven runs of their own in the fifth inning. After the first two hitters reached, Sooner right fielder Max White homered to left field. Then with two outs and the bases loaded, left fielder Hunter Haley tripled to the gap in right-center, giving OU the lead.
Kuntz led the Jayhawk offense, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, while DeLeon and Eldredge both collected two hits. The Jayhawks matched a season high with five doubles in the game.
Prior to Saturday, KU had not won a game against the Sooners since a 9-5 victory at L. Dale Mitchell Park on May 2, 2009. The Jayhawk losing streak to Oklahoma included three walk-off losses and a pair of extra inning defeats.
Kansas will return home for a five-game homestand, beginning with a non-conference contest against Creighton at 6 p.m., Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
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