Dramatic Home Run Foils Kansas Comeback, 13-12
May 10, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. –
Two players hit ninth inning home runs Sunday. Kansas sophomore Tony Thompson hit a grand slam in the top of the frame to tie the contest, however Ryan Ampleman’s walk-off solo shot gave Missouri a 13-12 victory over No. 23 Kansas and the series win at Taylor Stadium.
The loss, KU’s second-straight walk-off loss on the road the last week Sundays, sends the Jayhawks to a 35-18 overall record and a 13-11 mark in the Big 12. MU improves to 30-23 overall and finish 16-11 in conference play.
The Jayhawks trailed by as many as six runs in the game, but came back with five runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 12. Pinch hitter James Stanfield led off the inning with a walk and scored on Brian Heere’s RBI single. After a Buck Afenir walk loaded the bases, Tony Thompson came up and crushed an 0-1 pitch for his first career grand slam, tying the score.
However, after a fly out in the bottom of the ninth, Ampleman slammed Colton Murray’s 2-0 pitch over the center field fence to give Missouri the dramatic win in walk-off fashion.
It marked KU’s second straight trip to Columbia, Mo., where the team had a chance to earn a series win on a Sunday, and fell on a walk-off home run. In 2007, it was Evan Frey’s two-run homer that did them in.
Kansas trailed 6-1 after two innings as the Tigers sent starting pitcher Brett Bollman to the showers with his shortest start of the season.
However, the Jayhawks fought back in the middle innings, taking advantage of Tiger miscues. In the fourth inning, KU scored two runs on a walk, a passed ball, an RBI single, a double and a wild pitch.
After Missouri scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 9-3 lead, Kansas loaded the bases in the fifth and had the middle of the order due up. After Robby Price was hit by a pitch to cut the deficit to 9-4, the Tigers turned in perhaps their biggest defensive play of the day as Michael Liberto caught a line drive off the bat of Brian Heere and doubled up the runner at second base to stall the threat.
KU brought the deficit to 9-7 in the seventh inning on a Buck Afenir sacrifice fly, however Missouri answered again with two unearned runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to build the 12-7 advantage.
Kansas committed four errors in the game, which led to five unearned runs.
Thompson’s 17th home run, which tied the game, is tied for the second-most by a Kansas player in a season. His 71 RBIs are also tied for the second-most by a Jayhawk.
He and Brian Heere were the only two Kansas players with two hits in the game Sunday.
Kansas will look to bounce back in its final Big 12 series of the season against in-state rival Kansas State. The Jayhawks and Wildcats will kick off their three-game series Friday evening in Manhattan, Kan. at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s games will be played in Lawrence at 6 p.m.