Late Run Sinks Jayhawks in Manhattan
May 17, 2008
MANHATTAN, Kan. –
Junior Buck Afenir hit his ninth home run of the season, while junior Preston Land collected two hits, however, Kansas State lead-off hitter Derek Bunker’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth broke a tie and lifted the Wildcats to a 5-4 triumph over Kansas Saturday night at Tointon Family Stadium. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks fall to 30-26 overall and 9-17 in the Big 12, while K-State improves to 26-27 overall and 10-16 in the conference. KU can still qualify for the conference tournament with a win Sunday over the Wildcats.
Saturday’s see-saw affair in Manhattan had the Jayhawks coming out on the short end of things for the second straight night. KU had a lead at 3-2 and tied the game at 4-4 with a Ryne Price sacrifice fly in the seventh, but could not come up with the clutch hit.
K-State scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth of Kansas closer Paul Smyth. Center fielder Dane Yelovich led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position with a stolen base. After fouling off several two-strike pitches, Bunker slapped a 2-2 offering up the middle for the game-winning hit.
It marked the Wildcats’ sixth consecutive win over KU, dating back to the 2006 season.
K-State broke out on top in the second inning. After a double, a walk and a hit batsman, Yelovich drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. Bunker then delivered the Wildcats’ second run of the inning with a bunt down the third base line with two outs.
Kansas came back with two runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game. After Buck Afenir walked and Erik Morrison singled, first baseman Preston Land broke out of an 0-for-16 slump, with an RBI single to left field. KU then evened the score on Joe Southers’ single to center, scoring Morrison and erasing the early deficit.
One inning later, Buck Afenir gave the Jayhawks a 3-2 lead with his ninth home run of the season into the trees in right-center. It was the junior’s first round-tripper since the Sunday game against Oklahoma on May 4.
The Wildcats regained the lead in the bottom of the inning with four singles in the inning, including RBI hits by Justin Bloxom and a bloop single with two outs by Rob Vaughn to give K-State the lead.
Down, but not out, Kansas loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. The Jayhawks tied the game on Ryne Price’s team-leading 60th RBI – a sac fly to left field. Price tied former Kansas outfielder Josh Dimmick for the sixth-most RBIs by a Jayhawk in team history.
However, that’s all KU could muster off K-State closer Daniel Edwards, who wound up retiring all eight men he faced to earn the win.
The Jayhawks will look to salvage the final game of the series Sunday at 2 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.