Faunce's Heroics Power Kansas Past Missouri State, 7-6
April 16, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Junior Nick Faunce’s timing was impeccable. After Missouri State broke a tie game in the seventh inning, the Kansas center fielder launched a two-run homer in the eighth to lead the Jayhawks to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Bears in front of 1,337 fans Wednesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
KU sweeps the season series with Missouri State for the first time since 2003 and improves to 24-16 overall, while the Bears fall to 23-12.
Faunce, who had not homered in 144 collegiate at bats, came up with a runner on first after Tony Thompson singled up the middle with one out. On a 0-1 pitch, the junior center fielder drove a fastball into the night to lift the Jayhawks to a 7-6 lead.
Junior relief pitcher Paul Smyth retired the Bears in order in the ninth to record his third victory of the season.
Faunce’s home run got the Jayhawks off the hook. After spotting the Bears a 5-0 lead, Kansas came back within one in the bottom of the fifth. With one out in the inning Faunce started a four run rally as he and Casey Larson collected back-to-back base hits.
After Robby Price was hit by a pitch to load the bases, John Allman drove in KU’s first runs of the ballgame with a two-run single to center field. After an error plated another run, Ryne Price collected his 53rd RBI of the season with a ground out to first base.
KU tied the game in the sixth on Larson’s sacrifice fly, which scored Preston Land, who started the inning with a walk.
However, Missouri State’s Ben Carlson staked the Bears to 6-5 lead in the seventh with a mammoth home run to right field. It was the sophomore’s 11th of the season.
But Faunce’s heroics helped the Jayhawks record their 24th victory of the season. Last year KU did not tally its 24th win until May 11. He and Thompson – the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, were the only two Jayhawks to collect multiple hits in the game.
The Jayhawks will look to continue its five-game winning streak when they take on No. 9 Nebraska in the first of a three-game series Friday in Lincoln, Neb. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.