Jayhawks Fall in Heartbreaking Fashion, 11-10
May 18, 2008
MANHATTAN, Kan. –
Senior Justin Ellrich hit a two-out, two-strike home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Jayhawks a one-run lead. But Kansas could not hold on.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
K-State catcher Rob Vaughn drove in the tying-run while his pinch runner – Carter Jurica – scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a bases loaded hit by pitch as the Wildcats swept the Jayhawks with a bizarre 11-10 triumph Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Jayhawks finish the season at 30-27 overall and 9-18 in the Big 12, while K-State enters the conference tournament at 27-27 and 11-16 in the conference. The loss, coupled with Oklahoma’s victory over Oklahoma State Sunday, eliminates the Jayhawks from postseason participation.
KU trailed for much of the game Sunday, but took its first lead since the top of the first on Ellrich’s third home run of the season. The senior came up with Erik Morrison on first base and two outs after Morrison had extended the inning with a two-out single. Ellrich fell behind in the count, but worked it to 2-2 before slamming a fastball off the scoreboard in right field to give KU a 10-9 lead.
The Jayhawks needed to get just three outs in the ninth to clinch a spot in the conference tournament, but pinch hitter Byron Wiley led off with a single and Vaugh – who entered the at bat 0-for-4 in the game – doubled down the left field line to tie the score.
After Dane Yelovich’s sacrifice moved pinch runner Jurica to third with one out, Kansas intentionally walked Derek Bunker and Brett Scott to load the bases. Relief pitcher Sam Freeman struck out K-State’s Nate Tenbrink to record the second out, but hit Justin Bloxom with his first offering in the next at bat to force in the winning run.
It was KU’s second straight one-run loss and its seventh consecutive loss to the Wildcats.
The Jayhawks’ postseason hopes looked good in the first inning. After Casey Larson walked to lead off the game, and Robby Price singled up the middle, senior John Allman hit his sixth home run of the season to give KU a 3-0 lead.
It was short-lived however, as the Wildcats scored four runs in the second to take a 4-3 lead.
Morrison hit his seventh home run of the season to tie the game in the top of the third. The senior became the sixth different Jayhawk to collect four or more hits in a game this season.
However, the Wildcats came back with three runs in the fifth on RBI hits from Yelovich and Bunker, who combined to go 7-for-8 with five RBIs in the game.
Trailing by three in the eighth inning, KU came within one on Larson’s third home run of the season. Of the senior’s six home runs in a Jayhawk uniform, five of them have come against Big 12 opponents.
Sunday marked the third time this season that KU has hit three home runs in a game that it lost. The Jayhawks outhit the Wildcats 15-14, but KU committed four errors, hit five batters and allowed seven stolen bases.
Morrison led the Kansas offense, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored, while Larson, Robby Price, Tony Thompson and Nick Faunce each chipped in two hits. Larson drove in three runs and also scored twice.