⚾ Ahuna's Walk-Off Gives Kansas Win Over Baylor
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A stellar pitching performance by starter Eli Davis and a walk-off single by freshman Maui Ahuna pushed the Kansas Jayhawks past the Baylor Bears, 3-2, in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Jayhawks (21-15, 3-9 Big 12) came out victorious over the Bears (24-12, 5-7 Big 12) during a pitching duel due to Davis keeping Kansas in the game and holding Baylor’s offense back.
Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Jayhawks came up with some Sunday dramatics to win the finale. Dylan Ditzenberger led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tavian Josenberger. With one out and Ditzenberger on second, Ahuna lined a pitch off Baylor’s Luke Boyd to left field to score Ditzenberger and give the Jayhawks the walk-off win.
Jonah Ulane, who pitched the top half of the ninth and gave up a leadoff homer, earned the win to improve to 2-0. Of course, the Jayhawks wouldn’t have been in position for the win had it not been for the stellar start of Davis.
The Southpaw pitched through 6.2 innings, striking out five and giving up only one run. He threw 102 pitches and had his best outing of the Big 12 season.
The first three innings were scoreless for both teams, but the Bears struck first in the top of the fourth inning when they finally got to Davis.
A leadoff double, a hit batter and a fielder’s choice gave Baylor an early 1-0 lead over Kansas.
The Jayhawks didn’t go down without a fight. Skyler Messinger led off the sixth inning with a double down the left field line and Tom Lichty stepped up to the plate, singling to right field and tying the ballgame.
Kansas jumped on Baylor again in the seventh inning. Ahuna singled with two outs and Messinger drew a walk, giving KU two runners on with two outs.
Blaine Ray stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter and laced a single into center field, scoring Ahuna and giving Kansas a one-run edge. Ray has now pinch hit for the cycle this season: recording a single, double, triple and home run as a pinch hitter.
Daniel Hegarty came in to relieve Davis with two outs in the seventh and ended the Bears’ threat. Hegarty also recorded a scoreless eighth inning.
The Bears tied the game at two runs apiece in the ninth inning with the home run off Ulane. The Jayhawks answered right back with Ahuna’s big walk-off hit.
Tavian Josenberger went 1-for-4 at the plate and extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Ditzenberger and Ahuna each had multi-hit games, as did left fielder Brett Vosik.
The win ensured a winning week for the Jayhawks, who went 3-2 after a midweek sweep of Air Force. Kansas returns to action Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., at the University of Texas-Arlington.