Walz, Jayhawks Knock Off No. 9 Nebraska, 6-3
April 20, 2008
Final Stats | Highlights
LINCOLN, Neb. –
Omaha native T.J. Walz returned to his home state and pitched 7 2/3 innings to earn his first conference win, while junior Buck Afenir backed him with three hits and two RBIs as Kansas bounced ninth-ranked Nebraska, 6-3 in front of 5,964 fans Sunday at Hawks Field.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks become the first Big 12 team to defeat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, and improve to 25-18 overall and 5-10 in the conference. Nebraska falls to 28-7-1 and 13-4-1 in the Big 12.
Walz was the story for Kansas Sunday, holding the Huskers to three runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. The freshman retired the first eight hitters he faced and did not allow a base hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning.
Walz dominated the strike zone with a good fastball and a hard breaking ball that kept the Huskers off-balance for much of the afternoon. He didn’t give up a run until Jake Optiz hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
On the other side, KU provided six runs of offense for the third straight game of the series. Afenir drove in the Jayhawks’ first two runs with two-out singles in the first and the sixth.
After Nebraska scored in the bottom of the sixth, KU exploded for three runs in the top of the seventh. Senior Erik Morrison started the rally with a lead-off single and scored on a Nick Faunce sacrifice fly. After Robby Price collected the third base on balls of the inning, John Allman brought in two runs with a single to left field, lifting KU to a 5-1 advantage.
The Huskers tallied single runs off Walz in the seventh and eighth, but could not catch the Jayhawks who added an additional run in the eighth on an RBI double by Morrison.
KU’s No. 3 through No. 6 hitters combined to go 7-for-16 with two runs scored and five RBIs. Afenir led the group, going 3-for-4 with two driven in.
Junior Paul Smyth recorded the final out of the eighth and worked around a lead-off walk in the ninth to collect his seventh save – matching his career high.
The Jayhawks will travel to No. 9 Wichita State Tuesday for a non-conference battle against the Shockers at Eck Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.