Walz, Kansas Down Kansas State, 9-3
May 16, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Sophomore pitcher T.J. Walz struck out a career high 12 Wildcats, while senior Buck Afenir went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer as Kansas snapped an eight-game losing streak against in-state rival Kansas State with a 9-3 victory Saturday night in front of a packed house at Hoglund Ballpark.
The win moves the Jayhawks to 36-19 overall and 14-12 in the Big 12. The 14 conference wins are the most by KU since 1994, when the team was a member of the Big Eight Conference. Kansas State falls to 39-14-1 and 14-10-1 in the conference.
KU jumped on the Wildcats early and rode its ace to his team-high eighth victory of the season.
Walz went six innings, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts. His 12 k’s were the most by a Jayhawk pitcher since Mike Zagurski fanned 12 against Missouri on May 14, 2005.
He retired the first seven hitters he faced, including five via the strikeout, before Rob Vaughn’s solo home run with out one in the third.
However, by the time of Vaughn’s blast, the Jayhawks had built a 4-0 cushion. Junior Robby Price walked with one out in the first and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tony Thompson.
In the second inning, Preston Land opened the inning with a walk and freshman Zac Elgie doubled him in with a shot down the left field line. The Jayhawks added two more runs on singles by Jason Brunansky and Robby Price, a sac fly and a passed ball.
After the home team tacked on a fifth run in the third, Afenir put the game out of reach in the fourth, blasting a two-run homer to right for his eighth round-tripper of the season. The senior catcher has 29 career homers, which tie him for third all-time at KU with former Jayhawk Travis Metcalf.
Price added a solo shot in the sixth inning, his fifth of the season. In all, four different Jayhawks recorded two or more hits in the game, including Afenir, whose four hits were a career high.
Kansas third baseman Tony Thompson went 1-for-3 to extend a hitting streak to 12-straight games, which dates back to the final game of the Nebraska series on April 26.
Walz picked up his eighth victory of the season to go against one loss. His .889 winning percentage is the fourth-best in school history.
The Jayhawks will wrap up the three-game series with K-State Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark. First pitch will be at 6:05 p.m., with the game being televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.