Dominant Pitching Paces Jayhawks to Another Win
Dec. 18, 2012
BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic – Senior right-handed pitcher Tanner Poppe allowed no runs on two hits with nine strikeouts over five innings as Kansas baseball completed a three-game sweep of the Royals Dominican Academy Tuesday with a 3-2 triumph at Art Stewart Field.
The Jayhawks improved to 4-0 on their trip to the Dominican Republic, including three wins over the Royals.
KU’s pitching, led by Poppe, fanned 14 in the game and allowed just one walk as well as two runs on seven hits. Three of the Royals’ hits came in their half of the seventh inning and produced both of the team’s runs, which cut KU’s lead to 3-2.
However, with the bases loaded and one out, relief pitcher Dakota Smith recorded a strikeout and a soft line drive to shortstop to end the threat.
The Jayhawk offense produced just three base hits, but they made them count. In the third inning, after two walks, a sacrifice and a fielder’s choice put runners on second and third with two outs, Jordan Dreiling recorded a two-run single with a bullet to right field. It gave the Jayhawks an early 2-0 lead.
Kansas stretched the advantage to 3-0 when freshman Tommy Mirabelli singled with two outs and then scored with the help of a stolen base, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Fellow freshman Jacob Boylan doubled in the eighth inning for KU’s only other base hit.
Poppe, who opened last season as the team’s closer, looked much more in command in the starting role. His nine strikeouts would have been a career high. Junior transfer Jordan Piche’ picked up his second save of the week, fanning two in the ninth inning.
After the game, the divided up into four groups and passed out health kits to families in need in the sugar cane villages of San Jose, Blanco, Santana, Victoria, Guayagar and El Coca. The team packed these health kits – which included clean towels, soap, tooth paste, a tooth brush and combs – back in November in Lawrence.
According to recent poverty data by International Fund for Agricultural Development, over one-third of the country lives in poverty, including 20 percent living in extreme poverty. Many of the houses the Jayhawks visited lacked basic needs such as electricity. However, the villagers were elated to be greeted by their American visitors Tuesday.
The Jayhawks will return to the diamond on Wednesday when they begin a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians Dominican Academy in San Antonio de Guerra. First pitch is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local time (8:30 a.m. CT). KU will also play one more game against a Dominican amateur team on Thursday.
Fans can follow the team with daily updates on KUAthletics.com, which will also feature a link to Coach Price’s blog that will appear on CollegeBaseballInsider.com during the trip. All six games against the major league organizations will be available on GameTracker also on KUAthletics.com.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.