Kansas Baseball Rallies In the Nick of Time
March 31, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Senior Nick Faunce has had some big hits in his Kansas career, but perhaps none compare to his ninth inning home run Tuesday. The fifth-year outfielder hit the first walk-off home run of his career as the Jayhawks overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to stun Northern Colorado, 8-6 at Hoglund Ballpark.
Kansas, which extended its home winning streak to 13 consecutive games, improves to 16-10 overall, while the Bears drop to 8-16. The Jayhawks’ 13-game streak is tied for the third-longest in team history.
The streak looked in doubt throughout much of the afternoon, but the Jayhawks scored seven runs in the final two innings to pull out an improbable victory.
Trailing 6-4 heading into the ninth, Kansas scored four times with two outs, capped by Faunce’s second home run of the season.
Sophomore Tony Thompson started the inning with a double to right, and scored to cut the deficit to one on Jimmy Waters’ bloop single. First baseman Preston Land worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a hard ground ball that found a hole between second and third. Waters came around to score the tying run after Northern Colorado misplayed the ball in the outfield.
With the winning run on second, Faunce launched a 2-1 pitch over the center field fence for KU’s first walk-off home run in almost two years.
The ninth-inning heroics rescued relief pitcher Paul Smyth, who gave up a pair of solo home runs in the top of the ninth, which gave the Bears a 6-4 lead.
Northern Colorado opened the game with a three-run rally in the third and tacked on a fourth run in the eighth inning on a Seth Budde homer.
Kansas rallied to tie the score in the eighth with another two-out rally.
After NC starting pitcher James Quisenberry retired the first two hitters he faced, Zac Elgie drew a walk and scored on Faunce’s double to left-center. Quisenberry gave way to Forbes Scott, who gave up an RBI triple to David Narodowski, bringing KU within one at 4-3.
Following another call to the bullpen, Robby Price tied the game with a line drive up the middle for his second hit of the game.
Kansas outhit the Bears, 14-10 in the game, which included three hits by Narodowski, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Jayhawks will complete the two-game series with Northern Colorado Wednesday at Hoglund Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.