March 15, 2009

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Senior Buck Afenir’s RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh broke a tie and lifted Kansas to a 3-2 triumph over No. 4 Arizona State in a non-conference baseball game Saturday evening at Surprise Stadium.

The Jayhawks, who have won eight of their last nine, improve to 10-4 overall, while the Sun Devils fall to 13-3.

Afenir’s base hit, his second of the game, broke a two-all tie in the seventh and provided the Jayhawk pitching staff with the lead. The senior catcher, who went 2-for-4 on the day, came up with runners on first and second and dropped a bloop single into right field to score Brian Heere with two outs.

Kansas continued to receive great starting pitching. On Saturday, sophomore T.J. Walz tossed 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with just one walk and six strikeouts. Walz’ performance was the sixth quality start by a Jayhawk in 14 games this season, and earned the righty his second victory of the season.

He allowed a run in the second inning on a double and a single with two outs, and a run in the third on an RBI ground out following a throwing error. Following the second run, the 6-foot righty retired 10 of the next 12 hitters he faced.

He completed the game by striking out shortstop Drew Maggi in the seventh, turning the game over to the Kansas bullpen.

Meanwhile, his offense scratched out three runs despite leaving 12 men on base and striking out 15 times.

Kansas took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when sophomore Tony Thompson slammed a double off the center field wall with the bases loaded and one out. KU nearly grabbed a two-run advantage, however a perfect throw from center field nailed Brian Heere at the plate.

With the double, Thompson extended his hitting streak to 22 consecutive games. He now holds the second-longest hitting streak in Kansas baseball history, just two behind record-holder Jared Schweitzer, who hit safely in 24 straight contests.

After ASU tied the game, KU took another one-run lead on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of freshman Zac Elgie. Elgie has six RBIs this season and just four base hits.

In the ninth, senior Paul Smyth pitched around a lead-off single to record his third save of the season. After two blown saves in his first two outings of the season, Smyth has allowed just one baserunner in his last five appearances.

The Jayhawks will look to win the three-game series Sunday when they face the Sun Devils at 6:30 p.m. CST. The game can be heard via audio webcast at kuathletics.com.