Kansas tops Wildcats in extra innings
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team overcame a ninth-inning debacle by its bullpen to defeat K-State, 9-8, in 10 innings Friday night at Tointon Family Stadium to open up the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown.
Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cyr and junior closer Zack Leban combined to give up five runs off three hits and five walks in the bottom of the ninth, and allowed Kansas State (18-30, 3-19 Big 12) to send the game into extra innings.
Sophomore shortstop Benjamin Sems hit Kansas’ (23-25, 6-12 Big 12) third two-out home run of the day in the top of the 10th, and Leban (3-2) went back out and sealed up the victory to punch KU’s ticket to the Big 12 Championships in two weeks.
“You look up there in that ninth inning and your two best relievers give up a five spot,” head coach Ritch Price said. “I almost had a heart attack in our dugout. As well as we played – I liked the toughness we showed. It would have been easy to walk back in the dugout and lose in extra innings.”
Combined, KU hurlers punched out the Wildcats 17 times. Junior righty Jackson Goddard hurled six strong innings for the Jayhawks and allowed just one earned run while striking out nine batters. Cyr pitched two innings, striking out four, while Leban tossed two frames where he struck out another four compared to five walks.
“I can’t say enough good things about Goddard,” Price said. “He struggled early in the game, but when he found his fastball, he was just completely dominant with it. Sometimes you have to find ways to win. We punch them out 17 times and we are hanging on to win in the end.”
Junior left fielder Devin Foyle and junior third baseman David Kyriacou rounded out the trio of two-out home runs hit by the Jayhawks, marking the second time in as many games KU has accomplished the feat.
Foyle’s two-run home run marked his ninth of the season while the three combined add to give KU a total of 38 dingers on the year – more than doubling the team’s home run production from a year ago (18).
“The ball was flying today,” Price said. “You can tell all three were going to be out of the ballpark when they left the bat. That’s how well they were hit. We are a physical team with the bat.”
The Dillons Sunflower Showdown between Kansas and Kansas State continues Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3 or tune into an audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three home runs: For the fourth time this season and second time in as many games, Kansas connected for three home runs in a single contest. In those four contests, the Jayhawks hold a record of 3-1. When KU hits two or more bombs, they win 71 percent of the time (5-for-7).
Twelve games: Junior left fielder Devin Foyle hit his team-leading ninth home run of the season against Kansas State to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. During that span, Foyle is batting .391 (18-for-46) with three doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs. He is one game away from tying KU’s longest hitting streak of the season that was held by Jaxx Groshans (13) earlier in the year.
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