Kansas Blows Past #13 Oklahoma State, 11-6, Face MU Saturday

May 26, 2006

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The University of Kansas (40-23) scored five sixth inning runs to break a 5-5 tie and blow past #13 Oklahoma State (39-17), 11-6, Friday night at the Big 12 Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Kansas improves to 2-0 in the Big 12 Championship and will face Missouri, also 2-0, for the right to play in the Big 12 Championship game at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s KU-MU contest is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Sophomore Erik Morrison gave Kansas a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo home run, his first of two in the game. After Morrison’s blast, KU loaded the bases with a single, walk and hit batter. Senior Ritchie Price looked to drive home two runs but his line drive to center field was caught by a diving Keanon Simon to thwart KU’s threat.

Kansas extended its lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Back-to-back walks to Jared Schweitzer and Gus Milner followed by an RBI single off the bat of John Allman plated KU’s first run of the frame. Morrison drove home his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly.

For the second straight game, senior Matt Baty knocked a solo home run. The fourth inning homer was Baty’s second of the season. Milner tacked on another run with a double to the left field gap that scored Ritchie Price after he singled.

OSU’s starting pitcher Matt Gardner was pulled after giving up the double to Milner. Gardner pitched 3.2 innings and was tagged with five runs while walking a season-high four batters.

Oklahoma State tied the game with a five run sixth inning. Shelby Ford launched a three-run home run to put OSU on the scoreboard. The hit was the Cowboy’s fourth of the game and chased KU’s starter Sean Land out of the contest in favor of freshman Paul Smyth.

After striking out the first batter he faced, Smyth allowed a double and two singles, allowing the Cowboys to tie the game at 5-5.

Baty started KU’s big seventh inning when he beat out an infield hit then advanced to second on a throwing error. After moving to third on a fly out, Baty scored on a single by Schweitzer. Milner recorded an infield single and scored on an Allman single to right field.

Morrison gave Kansas an 8-5 lead with his second sacrifice fly of the game. After two walks loaded the bases, freshman Buck Afenir lined a two-run single down the left field line to give KU a 10-5 advantage.

After the Cowboys scored a run off Smyth to pull to within 10-6, KU called on senior Don Czyz from the bullpen. With a runner on first and one out, Czyz struck out the first batter he faced and coaxed a ground out to end OSU’s threat.

Morrison extended KU’s lead to 11-6 with a solo home run in the eighth. The blast was Morrison’s 13th of the season, the fourth most in a single season by a KU player.

The Arroyo Grande, Calif., native finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBI. Baty, Milner, Allman and Ryne Price also notched two-hit games.

“One through nine, everything started to click on all cylinders so hopefully we can keep going with it,” said Morrison after the game.

Smyth (5-1) picked up the victory for Kansas. The freshman threw 2.1 innings, allowing six hits and three runs.

Land pitched 5.0 solid innings and held OSU off the scoreboard and to three hits until Ford’s three-run homer with no outs in the sixth. The junior left struck out the side in the third inning and finished the game with five strikeouts to tie a season high.

“We played an outstanding game,” said head coach Ritch Price. “I would like to compliment Sean (Land). I thought he was the difference in the ball game.”

Czyz threw the game’s final 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three.

Kansas will start senior RHP Ricky Fairchild (6-6, 5.88 ERA) Saturday against Missouri. KU defeated the Tigers two games to one in Lawrence earlier this season.

Game Notes: KU’s 40-wins is tied for second most in school history (40 in 1994 and 45 in 1993) … Erik Morrison hit his 12th and 13th home run of the season moving him into a tie for the fourth most for a single season in KU history … Senior Matt Baty was hit by a pitch for the 17th time of his career in the second inning to move into a tie for eighth all-time … John Allman extended his hitting streak to eight games, tying a career-high … The game was KU’s 24th against a Top 25 team this year … KU is now 2-2 against Oklahoma State this season … The winner of the KU-MU game will face the winner of the Nebraska-Texas game played at 1 p.m. on Saturday.