Missouri Rallies to Beat Kansas, 3-2

April 16, 2011


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Missouri right fielder Blake Brown’s RBI single to right field in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 victory over Kansas Saturday afternoon to even the teams’ Big 12 series at Taylor Stadium.

The Jayhawks snap their three-game winning streak, and fall to 17-18 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12, while Missouri improves to 14-21 overall and 2-8 in conference play. The Tigers snap their nine-game losing streak as well as their six-game losing streak to KU.

Kansas scored two runs early, but could not add to it, despite putting men on base in virtually every inning and Brown made them pay in the ninth.

With the score tied at 2-2, Brandon Champagne led off the ninth with a single to right and moved to second on a sacrifice. That set up Brown’s heroics. The junior right fielder lined a 2-0 pitch into right field in front of Casey Lytle to score Champagne with the winning run.

It was the first loss of the season for KU closer Colton Murray and marked the third time in the last three visits to Columbia that the Jayhawks have lost in walk-off fashion.

On the strength of a Zac Elgie’s RBI double in the first and an RBI ground out in the third, Kansas built a 2-0 lead after three innings.

KU starting pitcher Tanner Poppe was effectively wild through four, allowing just one hit, however, the Tigers broke out in the fifth. After Poppe retired the leadoff man, Champagne collected a one-out single and Eric Garcia doubled to right field.

Poppe retired Brown on a ground out to third, but a wild pitch and an RBI single by Jonah Schmidt tied the score at 2. The sophomore righty departed after allowing two runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. It was Poppe’s shortest start of the season.

Both teams put men on in the ensuing innings, but the Tigers finally broke through in the ninth. The Jayhawks’ best chance came in the top of the ninth when Ka’iana Eldredge doubled to right with one out, but Brandon Macias grounded out and Jason Brunansky struck out to end the inning.

Brunansky appeared to save the game momentarily for KU in the eighth. With Tigers on second and third with two outs, pinch hitter Dane Opel hit a sinking liner into center field that the junior dove for and caught just before the ball hit the ground to retire the side.

The Jayhawks will look to win their first three-game series in Columbia, Mo., since 1983 when the teams meet for the rubber game of the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.