Elgie's Walk-Off Homer Powers KU Past K-State, 8-7
April 25, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Zac Elgie’s timing was impeccable. The senior third baseman needed one pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning to send a walk-off home run into the night as Kansas outmuscled Kansas State, 8-7, in a non-conference baseball game played Wednesday night at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks improve to 17-25 on the year and win for the fifth time in their last seven games, while K-State falls to 19-23 and drops their fifth-straight.
Despite loading the bases in both the ninth and 10th innings, KU needed Elgie’s blast to center to get past the Wildcats, who scored three runs in the ninth to tie the game at seven. Elgie’s homer was the first walk-off round-tripper by a Jayhawk since 2009 and the first of the senior’s career.
Elgie led off the bottom of the 11th and blasted a first-pitch fastball over the center field fence to lift KU to its 17th victory of the season and the first over Kansas State since 2010.
Junior Jordan Luvisi, KU’s seventh pitcher of the game, earned his first win in a Jayhawk uniform, getting the final two outs in the 11th inning. KU ended the frame on a ground ball into the hole that shortstop Kevin Kuntz made a diving stop on and fired to third to retire the side.
Kansas had a chance to win the game in nine innings, but the Wildcats scored three runs in their half of the inning to force extras. After relief pitcher Tanner Poppe retired the first two hitters on ground outs, K-State’s Jared King walked and Wade Hinkle homered off the scoreboard in right field to cut the KU lead to 7-6.
Wildcat catcher Blair DeBord then walked and pinch runner Dusty Maas stole second in front of Mike Kindel’s game-tying single to center field.
The Jayhawks scored six runs in the first inning to take what seemed to be a commanding lead. Sophomore Tucker Tharp, who went 4-for-6 in the game, led off with a home run to left center, becoming the second Jayhawk to lead off with a round-tripper this season.
The inning continued as four other Jayhawks collected base hits, including Connor McKay’s two-run base hit up the middle. After a throwing error by the Wildcat center fielder plated another run, Ka’iana Eldredge capped the rally with an RBI single through the right side.
KU collected 14 hits on the night, the team’s highest total since recording 19 against Southern Utah on March 21. Tharp led the way with four, while Kuntz, Elgie and junior Jake Marasco collected two each.
Freshman Drew Morovick pitched the first five innings for KU, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks. He was in line for his fourth win of the season before the Wildcat rally in the ninth.
Freshman Colin Toalson, Robert Kahana, Jaydee Jurgensen, Matt Kohorst and Luvisi all made scoreless appearances out of the bullpen.
Kansas will look to carry the momentum from Wednesday night into a three-game Big 12 series with No. 23 Oklahoma this weekend. The Jayhawks and Sooners will open the series Friday at 6 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.