Samford Walk-off in Extra Innings Downs Kansas, 3-2

Box Score Final Box (.pdf)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Backed by one of the best performances by its bullpen all season, the Kansas baseball team dropped game one of a doubleheader to Samford, 3-2, in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
 
The Jayhawks (16-21) turned the resumption game of Friday’s tilt over to its bullpen in the second inning and the threesome of senior Hayden Edwards, sophomore Tyler Davis and senior Sam Gilbert combined to hold the high-potent Samford (22-17) offense to two runs through seven and 2/3 innings.
 
“That was one of the best performances by our bullpen all year,” head coach Ritch Price said. “You couldn’t ask for anymore from Edwards, Davis and Gilbert than we got today. That is as good as those young men have pitched all year.”
 
Senior lefty Ben Krauth started Friday’s game and tossed one inning, retiring all three batters he faced – with two strikeouts. Rather than send him back out to pitch Saturday to finish the game and breakup his routine, Price elected to move to the bullpen with Edwards starting on the bump.
 
The veteran Edwards pitched four innings and gave up three hits including a solo home run in the second inning and a RBI-single in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs then added a single in the fifth before the bullpen combination held Samford hitless the next five innings heading into the bottom of the 10th.
 
“For us to hold that team to three runs – you couldn’t ask for a better performance from our guys on the mound,” Price said. “It took everything those guys had to keep us in the game. We tied it and had opportunities to take the lead and couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of the bullpen today.”
 
Samford kept the Jayhawks off the scoreboard until the eighth inning when Kansas scored two runs to tie the game. Senior right fielder Joe Moroney singled to lead off the inning and then scored on a RBI-double by junior centerfielder Joven Afenir. Senior second baseman Colby Wright followed suit to drive in Afenir with his own RBI-double to tie the game up, 2-2.
 
However, even with the late rally, KU gave away its chances to take the lead stranding nine runners on base. The Jayhawks had a prime opportunity to do damage early in the fifth inning when they got the first two runners aboard with no outs against Samford starter Stephen Jones. The righty sat down the next three batters and kept Kansas off the board.
 
The Jayhawks managed a runner on base in each the ninth and 10th innings, respectively, but couldn’t muster any offense before the Bulldogs won it with a walk-off double in the final frame off closer Stephen Villines (4-2).
 
“I thought we had really bad at bats when we had opportunities to score,” Price said. “We didn’t do a very good job of identifying the changeup and staying away from that pitch. Our left-handed hitters chased the ball out of the zone. There were a lot of non-competitive at bats and we had plenty of opportunities to win.”
 
Game two of the doubleheader will begin at 3:10 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio and on the dial on KJHK 90.7 FM.
 
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