Kansas State Holds off Kansas for Big 12 Series Sweep
May 12, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas third baseman Jordan Dreiling went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI and nearly had a Senior Day story to tell his future grandchildren, but flied out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth as Kansas State held on for a 7-3 win at Hoglund Ballpark Sunday afternoon. The Big 12-leading Wildcats swept the series, KU’s last at home this season.
Dreiling, who was honored with the program’s five other senior student-athletes and one senior student support staffer in a pregame ceremony, was part of a 4-for-10 combined effort that saw the three senior position players reach base eight times Sunday, but the nation’s second-best hitting ball club proved too much to handle for at least one weekend. Kansas (31-21, 12-12 Big 12) attempted a two-out rally, needing four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but after loading the bases, K-State (37-15, 14-7 Big 12) reliever Tanner Witt got Dreiling to flyout and end the threat.
Fellow senior Kevin Kuntz went 2-for-4 in the game to extend his hitting streak to eight games and contributed his 22nd sacrifice bunt of the season, two shy of the Kansas single-season record. A day after hitting two home runs, senior first baseman Alex DeLeon drew three walks and went 1-for-2 at the plate. Senior reliever Tanner Poppe finished the game for KU, throwing three consecutive scoreless frames before allowing two runs – one unearned – in the ninth.
Poppe was the most effective Kansas pitcher as the staff struggled with walks early on, issuing a total of seven free passes – tying for the second-most allowed in a single game this season. The first three batters of the game reached – one on a hit, one on a walk and the third on a throwing error to first by starting pitcher Frank Duncan (3-5) to load the bases. After a sacrifice fly by Jared King scored the first run, Duncan walked Austin Fisher to load the bases again and Jon Davis made it 2-0 Wildcats with a groundout to second. Duncan struck out Mitch Meyer to end the inning.
Kansas answered with a single run in the bottom of the first, turning a leadoff walk by Justin Protacio into a run with Kuntz’ sacrifice and a two-out double by Dreiling after K-State starter Blake McFadden (5-2) pitched around DeLeon. That’s all the Jayhawks would get though, as Dakota Smith grounded out to short.
Duncan worked around a walk to the second batter in the second inning and looked to do the same in the third, but after a pair of fly outs, Davis singled to center to keep the inning alive and put runners on the corners. Mitch Meyer, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, hit a blooper to right that bounced in front of Smith, then over his head and rolled to the fence. Before it could be corralled and thrown home, two runs had scored and Meyer was thrown out trying to stretch the triple into an inside-the-park home run.
After giving up the single run to the Jayhawks in the first, McFadden settled in and retired 12 of the next 14 Kansas batters over the next four innings, and the Wildcats tacked on another run in the top of the fifth against KU reliever Drew Morovick to make it a 5-1 game.
The Jayhawks used a leadoff single by Michael Suiter in the sixth to chase McFadden, then a Dreiling walk and a Smith single loaded the bases with one out. Connor McKay flied out to right, just deep enough for Suiter to slide under the tag with a collision at home plate and Ka’iana Eldredge singled up the middle in the next at-bat to plate Dreiling from third. K-State reliever Gerardo Esquivel entered the game and struck out Tucker Tharp to end KU’s scoring, but the Jayhawks pulled within two at 5-3.
That’s as close as Kansas would get, outside of the bases loaded situation in the bottom of the ninth. Esquivel gave up two hits in the seventh before Jake Matthys worked the Wildcats out of a first-and-third jam, and Matthys worked a perfect eighth before handing the ball to Witt to close the game.
On the other side, Poppe retired nine in a row from the sixth through eighth innings after the Jayhawks had allowed at least one baserunner in the first five frames. The Wildcats finally strung a pair of hits together against the senior from Girard, Kan., in the ninth and scored on another sacrifice fly from King then a single from Fisher to make it 7-3.
Kuntz kept KU’s hopes alive in the ninth with a two-out base hit through the left side of the infield then Suiter and DeLeon each drew walks to load the bases before Dreiling was retired to end the game.
K-State’s Meyer finished the contest with three RBI after going 2-for-4 at the plate, and Ross Kivett scored two of the Wildcats’ runs while going 3-for-5. Fisher went 2-for-4 and both drove in and scored a run.
Kansas’ senior recognition also included relief pitcher Jordan Luvisi, Friday night starter Thomas Taylor and student athletic trainer Meghan Oeding. The Jayhawks finished Big 12 Conference play at 12-12 and finish the regular season on the road at Utah in Salt Lake City, next Saturday through Monday. The Jayhawks will then open Big 12 Tournament play at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 22-26, with their first round opponent still to be determined with one weekend of conference play left.
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