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No more waiting: Kansas baseball beats Kentucky, 10-6, at Louisville regional

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Kansas' Connor McKay, center, hits a foul against Kentucky during an NCAA college baseball regional tournament game in Louisville, Ky., Friday, May 30, 2014. Catching is Kentucky's Michael's Thomas. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Kansas' Connor McKay, center, hits a foul against Kentucky during an NCAA college baseball regional tournament game in Louisville, Ky., Friday, May 30, 2014. Catching is Kentucky's Michael's Thomas. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

After the program went five seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance, Kansas University's baseball players didn't mind doing a little waiting around Friday against Kentucky at Louisville's Jim Patterson Stadium.

Three weather delays prolonged the regional opener a total of three hours and 22 minutes, but after the third moratorium on baseball caused a near two-hour halt in a tie game, the Jayhawks scored four runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings to move on to Saturday's winner's bracket with a 10-6 victory.

Senior Tucker Tharp put Kansas (35-24) ahead for good in the top of the seventh with an RBI double off the left field wall. He later scored from third, making it 8-6, when senior Ka'iana Eldredge hit into a double play with no outs.

Junior Justin Protacio kept the Jayhawks going in the eighth, providing a 9-6 lead when he drove in sophomore Tommy Mirabelli, who led off with a triple. Protacio later scored on a wild pitch from Kentucky reliever Chandler Shepherd.

The Jayhawks and Wildcats (35-24) were tied, 6-6, in the bottom of the fifth when severe weather stopped the action for the second time in the afternoon.

When play resumed, junior right-handed reliever Drew Morovick took the mound for Kansas, and went 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and no runs — making it possible for the Jayhawks' lead to grow.

Tharp went 3-for-5 with three RBIs in the victory. Backup right fielder Joven Afenir, who entered for Dakota Smith when the starter injured a knee in the first inning, went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Junior Michael Suiter drove in two runs.

Kansas, which led 3-0 in the first inning before an hour-plus delay, scored three more in the second inning after Kentucky's Ka'ai Tom drilled a three-run homer to tie the game.

KU will face the winner of Louisville and Kent State at 4 p.m. CST on Saturday.

Get the blow-by-blow details of KU's long day at the ballpark below.

KANSAS STARTING LINEUP

SS JUSTIN PROTACIO

2B COLBY WRIGHT

LF MICHAEL SUITER

RF DAKOTA SMITH

CF TUCKER THARP

DH CONNOR McKAY

C KA'IANA ELDREDGE

1B BLAIR BECK

3B TOMMY MIRABELLI

P JORDAN PICHE'

KENTUCKY STARTING LINEUP

CF AUSTIN COUSINO

3B MAX KUHN

DH A.J. REED

LF KA'AI TOM

C MICHAEL THOMAS

RF STORM WILSON

1B THOMAS BERNAL

SS MATT REIDA

2B JaVON SHELBY

P KYLE CODY

TOP 1 — JAYHAWKS

• Justin Protacio draws a walk on full count

• Colby Wright bunts down 1B line, throwing E by UK P Kyle Cody soars into foul territory — Protacio reaches 3B

• Michael Suiter sacrifice bunt down 1B line scores Protacio

KANSAS 1, KENTUCKY 0

• [Wright advances to 3B on wild pitch to Dakota Smith]

• Dakota Smith smashes RBI double to LF gap — scores Wright

KANSAS 2, KENTUCKY 0

• Tucker Tharp singles to LF — Smith advances to 3B

• Tharp steals 2B as rain begins to pour — slick ball takes off on C Michael Thomas, ends up in the outfield — Smith scores, Tharp moves on to 3B on the E

KANSAS 3, KENTUCKY 0

None by Kansas Baseball

None by Kansas Baseball

{After a 1 hour, 3 minutes rain delay, play resumes with Connor McKay at bat, 3-2 count, 1 out}

{Kentucky replaces starting P Kyle Cody with RHP Andrew Nelson}

• Connor McKay strikes out

• Ka'iana Eldredge strikes out looking

BOTTOM 1 — WILDCATS

• Austin Cousino strikes out

• Max Kuhn singles to CF

• A.J. Reed walks

• Ka'ai Tom crushes 3-run home run to RF

KANSAS 3, KENTUCKY 3

• Micheal Thomas grounds out to SS

• Storm Wilson grounds out to 2B

AFTER 1 INNING, KANSAS 3, KENTUCKY 3

TOP 2 — JAYHAWKS

• Blair Beck grounds out to 2B

• Tommy Mirabelli strikes out

• Justin Protacio walks

• Colby Wright walks

• Michael Suiter single to LF scores Protacio from 2B

KANSAS 4, KENTUCKY 3

• Joven Afenir (entered for Dakota Smith, who hurt a knee before rain delay) singles to LF

• Tucker Tharp drives in 2 runs with single to the right side

KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 3

• Connor McKay grounds out to SS

BOTTOM 2 — WILDCATS

• Thomas Bernal pops to SS

• Matt Reida strikes out looking

• JaVon Shelby strikes out

AFTER 2 INNINGS, KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 3

TOP 3 — JAYHAWKS

• Ka'iana Eldredge grounds out to 2B

• Blair Beck grounds out to 3B

• Tommy Mirabelli walks on 3-2 pitch

• Justin Protacio grounds out to 1B

BOTTOM 3 — WILDCATS

• Austin Cousino hustles his way to double on would-be base hit to CF

• [Cousino advances to 3B on wild pitch to Max Kuhn]

• [Cousino scores on passed ball]

KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 4

• Max Kuhn walks

• A.J. Reed strikes out

• Ka'ai Tom hits into inning-ending double play — 2B Wright to SS Protacio to 1B Beck

AFTER 3 INNINGS, KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 4

TOP 4 — JAYHAWKS

• Colby Wright grounds out to 2B

• Michael Suiter flies out to LF warning track

• Joven Afenir singles to CF

• [Joven Afenir steals 2B]

• Tucker Tharp robbed of hit up middle by sliding 2B JaVon Shelby, who throws him out

BOTTOM 4 — WILDCATS

• Micheal Thomas singles to CF

• Storm Wilson singles to CF — Thomas advances to 3B; Wilson to 2B on throw

• Thomas Bernal knocks in 2 with base hit up the middle

KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 6

• Matt Reida flies out to deep RF

• JaVon Shelby pops out, foul to 1B Blair Beck, who grabs it right before stepping into Kentucky's dugout

• [Bernal steals 2B]

• Austin Cousino chops infield single to SS; Protacio doesn't make throw to 1B and KU is able to tag out Bernal, who took a big turn around 3B

AFTER 4 INNINGS, KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 6

TOP 5 — JAYHAWKS

• Connor McKay grounds out to SS

• Ka'iana Eldredge strikes out

• Ka'iana Eldredge lines out to 2B

BOTTOM 5 — WILDCATS

{Rain brings second in-game weather delay}

None by Kansas Baseball

None by Kansas Baseball

None by Kansas Baseball

{Play resumes, following one hour and 58 minutes weather delay}

{KU RHP Drew Morovick relieves starting P Piche' — no outs, no one on base for Kentucky}

• Max Kuhn singles to LF

• A.J. Reed flies out to LF

• Ka'ai Tom flies out to LF

• Micheal Thomas pops out to SS Protacio in LF

AFTER 5 INNINGS, KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 6

TOP 6 — JAYHAWKS

{Chandler Shepherd enters to pitch for Kentucky}

• Tommy Mirabelli singles to LF

• Justin Protacio lines out to CF

• Colby Wright grounds to SS, reaches on fielder's choice — Mirabelli out at 2B

• Michael Suiter lines out to CF

BOTTOM 6 — WILDCATS

• Storm Wilson walks on full count

• Thomas Bernal sacrifice bunt — Wilson moves to 2B

• (Wilson moves to 3B on wild pitch)

• Matt Reida pops out to shallow LF — Michael Suiter throws out Wilson at home, where Ka'iana Eldredge applies the tag with ease

AFTER 6 INNINGS, KANSAS 6, KENTUCKY 6

TOP 7 — JAYHAWKS

• Joven Afenir singles to LF

• Tucker Tharp smacks RBI double off LF wall

KANSAS 7, KENTUCKY 6

• Connor McKay bunt down 3B line gives him an infield single — Tharp moves to 3B

• Ka'iana Eldredge hits into double play, but Tharp scores

KANSAS 8, KENTUCKY 6

• Jacob Boylan (hit for Blair Beck) grounds out to 2B

BOTTOM 7 — WILDCATS

• JaVon Shelby strikes out

• Austin Cousino flies out to CF

• Max Kuhn flies out to RF

AFTER 7 INNINGS, KANSAS 8, KENTUCKY 6

TOP 8 — JAYHAWKS

• Tommy Mirabelli smacks triple off RF wall

• Justin Protacio RBI single to CF

KANSAS 9, KENTUCKY 6

• Colby Wright doubles to gap in right-center — Protacio moves to 3B

• Michael Suiter pops up to 2B

• (Protacio scores on wild pitch to Joven Afenir — Wright moves to 3B)

KANSAS 10, KENTUCKY 6

• Joven Afenir strikes out looking

• Tucker Tharp flies out, foul to RF

BOTTOM 8 — WILDCATS

• A.J. Reed walks on four pitches

• Ka'ai Tom flies out to CF

{Closer Stephen Villines relieves Morovick}

• Micheal Thomas reaches on fielder's choice with ground ball to 3B — Reed out at 2B

• Storm Wilson strikes out

AFTER 8 INNINGS, KANSAS 10, KENTUCKY 6

TOP 9 — JAYHAWKS

• Connor McKay strikes out looking

• Ka'iana Eldredge flies out to CF

• Ryan Pidhaichuk strikes out looking

BOTTOM 9 — WILDCATS

• Thomas Bernal grounds out to SS

• Matt Reida doubles down the RF line

• Kyle Barrett (hitting for JaVon Shelby) flies out to CF

• Austin Cousino flies out to LF

FINAL: KANSAS 10, KENTUCKY 6

Comments

Ben Kane 3 years, 1 month ago

dang. i'm in Lexington and it's sunny skies. going to game tomorrow if we can pull this one off.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 1 month ago

Is like like MLB where it's a best of 5 series? Or 7?

Benton Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

It's double elimination. 4 team regional with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Kent State. Today's winners play each other. Today's loser's play each other, and we go from there.

Benton Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

Just saw on Twitter that NCAA wants to resume at about 6 p.m. CST.

Benton Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

KU baseball officials say second weather delay (in bottom of 5th) will end at 6:10 p.m. CST. That's about an hour and 50 minutes since the stoppage began.

Dan Cook 3 years, 1 month ago

We're a minimum of 4 wins away from Omaha! Let's try to beat the 13th ranked Cardinals at their place first.

Micky Baker 3 years, 1 month ago

This was by far the biggest win of the year for KU. Dakota Smith goes down in the first inning with a twisted knee. I hope he's alright. Then there were two rain delays after the one that delayed the start of the game. It seemed like KU pitchers weren't going to be able to stop Kentucky, then Morovick had an outstanding outing along with Villines.

Kansas needs to start fast again tomorrow and put the pressure on the host team. It hasn't worked out for a few like Florida and Florida State both losing on day one. All 5 Big 12 teams are in the winner's bracket of their respective regional.

4 teams from the SEC lost, and two of them lost to Big 12 teams today.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 1 month ago

I thought I read where KU was in the NCAA tourney in '09. If so, that would be 4 seasons without an invite. Right or wrong?

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 1 month ago

09 was the last time KU made it. 14-9 equals 5 so it's been 5 years since KU last made the NCAA tournament.

Dan Cook 3 years, 1 month ago

Benton -- what's the injury report on Dakota? Coach said during the TV interview yesterday he went for a MRI and there were worries about significant damage. I sure hope he's okay.

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