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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lost weekend: KU baseball swept by league-leading KSU

Kansas' Michael Suiter looks to the umpire for a call after sliding into home under the tag by Kansas State catcher Blair DeBord during the final game of Kansas' three game home series against Kansas State Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark. The Wildcats swept the series.

Kansas' Michael Suiter looks to the umpire for a call after sliding into home under the tag by Kansas State catcher Blair DeBord during the final game of Kansas' three game home series against Kansas State Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark. The Wildcats swept the series.

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When the weekend began, Kansas University’s baseball team was as hot as it had been all season and salivating about the opportunity ahead with rival and league-leading Kansas State coming to town for a three-game series.

Sunday afternoon, after the Wildcats completed the sweep with a 7-3 victory, the Jayhawks were much less enthusiastic.

For the third straight day, Kansas State flexed its offensive muscles and flashed its defensive leather, both of which were simply too much for the Jayhawks to overcome.

“This weekend, things just didn’t go our way, as the scores showed, and it’s pretty disappointing,” KU senior third baseman Jordan Dreiling said. “They were good, competitive games. We just fell short.”

After losing 4-3 in a dogfight Friday night and falling victim to a nine-run K-State rally to lose 9-6 on Saturday, the Jayhawks quickly found themselves in a hole in the finale. Despite getting just one hit in its first at-bat, K-State (37-15 overall, 14-7 Big 12) picked up two runs in the top of the first thanks to the Jayhawks’ fourth error of the weekend. Although KU responded with a run during its half of the first on an RBI double from Dreiling, the early hole quickly grew, and the Jayhawks were down 5-1 heading into the sixth inning.

“The strength of our club is starting pitching,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “And we pitched about as poorly as we’ve done all year, and that didn’t really give us much of a chance.”

Starter Frank Duncan lasted just three innings and gave up three hits, three earned runs and four walks to the 16 batters he faced. The bullpen did its best to keep KU alive, with Drew Morovick and Tanner Poppe combining for five straight innings of one-run relief. But that success eventually ended, as Poppe, who retired KSU three-up, three-down during the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, gave up two runs in the ninth to turn the Wildcats’ 5-3 lead into a 7-3 advantage.

“The only way you can come back from that far behind is, you gotta put zeroes up,” Price said. “When they scored in the ninth inning, obviously that was devastating.”

Poppe, a senior pitching at home for the final time, said he was pleased with his work in the middle innings.

“I came in and just tried to give our team a chance,” he said. “That’s all you can do in that situation.”

From the sixth inning on, KU put the tying run on base twice and sent the tying run to the plate six times. But aside from a sacrifice fly from Connor McKay and an RBI single from Ka’iana Eldredge — both in the sixth — KU could not push across enough runs to complete the comeback.

“Their defense played really good,” Price said. “I thought we hit, like, four balls that were base hits that they took off the board, and I credit their infield defense. It was fabulous.”

Despite seeing the deficit double in the top of the ninth, the Jayhawks (31-21, 12-12) did not go quietly in their final at-bat. Kevin Kuntz, Michael Suiter and Alex DeLeon all reached base with two outs, allowing Dreiling to come to the plate as the tying run. But the Lawrence native flied out to left field to end the game.

“This one will definitely be a little bit tougher to flush,” a dejected Dreiling said. “But next weekend’s a new weekend, and we just have to get after it.”

Price agreed that moving past this sweep might take awhile but emphasized that his team, which still has hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, did not have time to sulk.

“We’ve gotta get over this weekend in a hurry,” Price said. “We still have a chance.”

KU will close the regular season this weekend with a three-game series at Utah and then will head to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 tournament.

Kansas State 202 010 002 — 7 9 0

Kansas 100 002 000 — 3 8 1

W – Blake McFadden, 5-2. L – Frank Duncan, 3-5.

2B: Austin Fisher, KSU; Jordan Dreiling, KU. 3B: Mitch Meyer, KSU.

KU highlights: Tanner Poppe 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER. 1 K; Justin Protacio R; Kevin Kuntz 2-for-4; Michael Suiter 1-for-4, R; Alex DeLeon 1-for-2, 3 BB; Jordan Dreiling 1-for-4, RBI, R; Ka’iana Eldredge 1-for-4, RBI.

Comments

Dyrk Dugan 7 years, 8 months ago

unless we advance to the finals of the Big 12 tourney, or actually qualify for the NCAAs....this weekend qualifies to get the coach fired. you can't beat your bitter in state rival one game at home? when was the last time KSU swept us in Lawrence? i don't remember it happening anytime recently....i'm surprised the LJW didn't report that.

we were 9-6 at one point in the league...and finished 12-12. another late season swoon....this is getting real old.

Lucas Town 7 years, 8 months ago

We have not beat K-State in baseball at home since 2009. The schedule back then was a 3 game series, 2 at home and 1 away and the home team for the series got both home games. K-State swept us at home in 2011 also. But there it is, the last victory against K-State at Hoglund Ballpark was in the 2009 season.

Mick Allen 7 years, 8 months ago

We win the series from all 4 Texas schools in the Big 12, yet get swept by KSU and WVU. What looked like a promising season has now morphed into the same old same old. Price's tenure has been disappointing to say the least. Our offense has to be the worst in the league.

Dyrk Dugan 7 years, 8 months ago

totally agree. KSU has made three straight NCAAs....(this year will be #4) and we can't crack it once?

there are no more excuses....it's probably time for a change. KSU hired a a highly successful Div II coach to head their program...there has to be a similar guy out there for us....either DII or a middle tier DI program. We have to get coaches committed to excellence for the University of Kansas.. ...period. :)

squawkhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

If KSU wins the Big 12 Championship, and they probably will, they will have won three conference championships this year (football, basketball and baseball). I wonder when the last time a team accomplished that?

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

It was disappointing, but the team took a big step forward. The KSU fans will be trolling quite heavily if the end up winning.

This is how you defeat it, "Try going to a Bowl and winning it, going to the Final Four, and the College World Series in the same academic year". Kansas has done it.

sporty 7 years, 8 months ago

HAHAHA! "this is how you defeat it". Try winning a game. It's 2013, stop living in the past. ku is losing whatever clout it thought it had. Maybe you guys will win a football game this year....maybe....

RAC 7 years, 8 months ago

Lack of a division title in football that year always waters that down.

Steve Corder 7 years, 8 months ago

What frosts my cheeks is the silence about the solid, scrapy play of these kids on this post when they where winning series. Yet, get swept by the conference leaders and suddenly it's the coach?

kay_you 7 years, 8 months ago

Impressive, but not as impressive as a national title. Still the only team in the conference without an NT in any sport. MEOW.

Hammertoe 7 years, 8 months ago

KU is really only good in one sport, men's basketball. K-State will be conference champs in football, basketball and baseball. The billboards on I70 will be going up soon.

kay_you 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe baseball will be the sport where you actually win a post season game. MEOW.

sporty 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe this is the year ku will win a conference football game....maybe

kay_you 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe this is the year you finally finish that degree in animal husbandry. Then you can get a real job and stop trolling.

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