Afenir, Czyz Spark KU Past OU, 6-3
April 28, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. –
Sophomore Buck Afenir went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and sophomore lefty Nick Czyz allowed just one earned run over six innings as the University of Kansas tripped up No. 27 Oklahoma, 6-3 in a Big 12 contest played Saturday at Dale Mitchell Park.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
KU improves to 21-26 overall and 7-13 in the conference, while OU falls to 28-16 and 8-9 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks, by virtue of Baylor’s loss at Texas A&M moves into a ninth-place tie with Bears. Both teams trail Texas Tech and Kansas State by one-half game for seventh.
On Saturday, the Jayhawks jumped out to an early lead behind the pitching of Czyz, who missed last weekend’s start. The 6-foot-2 lefty went six innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits to collect his first conference win of the season.
KU jumpstarted its offense with three runs in the top of the second. After Afenir and second baseman Ryne Price drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, junior Brock Simpson tripled to the gap in right-center to score both runs. Two batters later, designated hitter Joe Servais hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Simpson from third.
The Sooners came back with a pair of runs in the third on Aljay Davis’ sacrifice bunt and Aaron Reza’s single to right field, which plated Aaron Ivey.
OU put the tying run on third in the fifth, but failed to score as Robby Price’s throw cut down Ivey at the plate on a ground ball to third.
KU starter Nick Czyz escaped damage again in the sixth as he induced a double play off the bat of Zach Hedges to end the inning with two on and one out.
Closer Paul Smyth also escaped a sticky situation in the seventh. The sophomore righty inherited a two on with one out jam, but got Joseph Hughes to line into a 4-6 double play to end the threat.
Oklahoma hit into two double plays and left 10 men on base in the loss.
Smyth earned his sixth save of the season, working 2 2/3 innings, scattering four hits and one run. Smyth struck out two and walked none.
Afenir extended KU’s lead to 5-2 with a two-run double to left center in the top of the eighth, while Simpson added his third RBI with a sac fly to cap KU’s second three-run inning Saturday.
The Jayhawks catcher had two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Simpson went 1-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs.
The win was especially sweet for KU head coach Ritch Price, who tied former Jayhawks head coach Bobby Randall with his 166th victory at KU. Price is now 166-138-1 (.546) in four-plus seasons with the Jayhawks.
KU will look to earn its first Big 12 series victory in the rubber game of the three-game series at 1 p.m. at Dale Mitchell Park.