KU Defeats #14 Nebraska, 9-7, to Win Big 12 Championship
May 28, 2006
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Oklahoma City, Okla. –
The University of Kansas downed #14 Nebraska, 9-7, Sunday afternoon to win the 2006 Big 12 Championship and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Matt Baty was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Erik Morrison and Ryne Price were named to the All-Tournament Team.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The 6th-seeded Jayhawks (42-23) jumped on 4th-seed Nebraska (42-15) 5-0 after two-and-a-half innings at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla. Freshman Nick Czyz (4-3) recorded the win for KU while his older brother – Don Czyz – recorded one out in the ninth for his NCAA-best 18th save.
Leading 9-5 entering the ninth inning, Nebraska strung together four straight singles and scored two runs to close the gap to 9-7. Don Czyz entered with the winning run at the plate and coaxed a ground ball to first baseman Jared Schweitzer who stepped on first for the games final out.
For the fourth straight tournament game, Kansas scored first. Freshman Buck Afenir knocked a two-out single to score sophomore Brock Simpson from second base. Simpson reached first on a walk and moved to second when Preston Land also drew a walk.
Ritchie Price led off the third inning with a double to the warning track in left-centerfield. A single by Schweitzer put runners at the corners. Gus Milner then notched a bloop single to shallow right to score Price and give the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead.
Nebraska’s starting pitcher Jon Klausing was chased from the game after a fly out by John Allman moved both runners up a base. Right-hander Charlie Shirek entered the game to replace the left-hand throwing Klausing.
Morrison took Shirek’s first offering up the middle for a two-run single. Simpson capped KU’s four-run third inning with his team-high sixth triple of the season to plate Morrison and give the Jayhawks a 5-0 lead.
Nebraska recorded its first hit off Nick Czyz with two outs in the fourth inning. Andrew Brown notched a single to shallow right field to score Ryan Wehrle all the way from first base. Andy Gerch followed with a long RBI triple to the gap in left-center field that glanced off Baty’s glove to make the score 5-2.
Kansas responded with two runs of its own in the top of the fifth inning. A hit by pitch and single put two men on base. A fielder’s choice by Simpson scored KU’s first run while an outfield error on a fly ball by Preston Land plated an unearned.
Schweitzer gave Kansas a six-run cushion with a solo home run off the left field foul pole. The homer was Schweitzer’s ninth of the season and 21st of his career.
Schweitzer struck again in the sixth inning with an RBI single to give Kansas a 9-2 lead. The senior finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Paul Smyth gave up a two-run homer to Wehrle in the eighth inning. After the homer, Kansas called on senior Kodiak Quick to pitch in relief for the first time this season. Quick allowed three runs off six hits in 1.2 innings before being replaced by Don Czyz.
Nick Czyz finished the game with three strikeouts while allowing just three Nebraska hits. Smyth allowed two runs in 1.2 innings of work.
The NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Show is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 29. The announcement of the 64-team field will air on ESPN.
The 16 host sites were announced on Sunday. The following schools will be hosts to a Regional beginning on Friday, June 2: Alabama, Arkansas, Cal State Fullerton, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Rice, Texas and Virginia.
Game Notes: The victory was KU’s first conference tournament or regular season win since claiming the regular season Big Seven crown in 1949 … The University of Kansas baseball and softball teams both won their Big 12 post season tournament this year, becoming the fourth set of teams from the same school to do so … Both teams entered the tournament as the sixth seed and both became the lowest seed to win the tournament … Coming into the week, Kansas had never won a Big 12 Tournament game (0-4) … KU’s 42 wins is the second most in school history, and three behind the school record of 45 set in 1993 … Senior Don Czyz was named to the 2006 College Baseball Foundation All-America Team on Saturday.