Monday, May 4, 2009
Norman, Okla. Oklahoma avoided a sweep, but it took the Sooners an extra inning to end Kansas University’s recent dominance.
Casey Johnson’s RBI double in the bottom of the 10th lifted ninth-ranked OU to a 10-9 victory over the Jayhawks on Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The outcome ended KU’s winning streak at six and its winning streak over the Sooners at seven.
Still, the Jayhawks took two of three during the weekend series for their first series road win over a ranked team since 2006.
“Any time you go on the road, play a team that is ranked in the top 10 and win two out of three, you take that before you even get on the bus,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “I was proud of our effort all weekend, and I was proud of the way we battled back today. Our bullpen was special all weekend, and they’ve been doing it for us all year. They were very good again this weekend.”
The Jayhawks jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Sooners responded with six in the bottom. OU sent 11 men to the plate in the first to make KU call the bullpen early.
Down 6-2 in the third, Tony Thompson brought the Jayhawks within one with his first three-run home run of the game — a high fly over the left-field wall.
Two innings later, Thompson gave KU a 9-7 lead with a drive over the right field fence with Brian Heere and Buck Afenir on base in front of him. It marked the sophomore’s third multi-homer game of the season and second in three weeks.
“If you’re going to come from six runs down, the middle of your lineup has to get it done for you,” Price said. “The middle of the lineup has to set the table, which they did, and then Afenir and Thompson have to get the big hits. That was why we were able to make up such a huge deficit.”
Thompson has now tied the KU record for home runs by a sophomore with 14. His 14 round-trippers also equal the fourth-best single-season total by a Kansas player, by Erik Morrison in 2006.
The Sooners plated two runs in the seventh off Brett Bollman to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
“It shows that we’ve made really good progress,” Price said. “Our bullpen has been outstanding, which gave us a chance to win the first two days and a chance to get back in it today. We beat their bullpen up pretty good over the weekend. We played pretty good defense, we swung the bats well, and we’ve been getting better contribution from the tail end of our lineup. That’s the reason why we’re putting more runs up, but today we just weren’t as good.”
KU collected just six hits in the game, including Thompson’s two three-run homers.
OU plated the winning run in the 10th after Tyler Ogle was hit by a pitch with one out, and left fielder Johnson launched a double into the left-center gap. It was the Jayhawks’ first extra inning loss since a 10th-inning defeat at Arkansas on Feb. 26.
KU fell to 33-16 overall and is tied with OU for fourth in the Big 12 at 12-9. Oklahoma is 34-14 overall.
Both teams have six Big 12 games remaining.
Kansas will travel for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game at Wichita State.