March 21, 2009

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Junior Robby Price’s timing was impeccable. Hitless in his previous 12 at bats, Price snapped out with a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to lift Kansas to a 4-3 come-from-behind triumph over No. 1 Texas Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

The Jayhawks, undefeated in their first nine games at home, improve to 12-7 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12. Kansas wins its first conference series of the season, and first over a Top 25 opponent since 2006. The Longhorns fall to 14-5 and 2-3 in Big 12 play.

Trailing 3-1 after Kevin Keyes’ three-run homer in the top of the sixth, the Jayhawks fought back to tie the game in the sixth and then scored the winning run in the seventh off the bat of Price.

Shortstop David Narodowski started the seventh with a bunt single, which landed just inches inside the foul line on the third base side. He moved to second on a Brian Heere bunt, setting the stage for Price. The junior second baseman worked the count to 3-1 and then lined a fastball into the gap in left center field, plating the go-ahead run.

KU’s bullpen made the one-run lead stand up as five relievers: Cameron Selik, Travis Blankenship, Brett Bochy, Colton Murray and Paul Smyth combined to shut out the Longhorns over the final 3 2/3 innings. Smyth recorded the final three outs to earn his fifth save of the season.

For the second straight day, the Jayhawks utilized a Texas miscue to score the first runs in the third inning. Narodowski recorded his first hit of the day on an infield single and stole second. Heere then hit a ground ball in-between first and second that caused first baseman Brandon Belt to commit his second throwing error of the series, allowing Narodowski to score.

Texas came back with three runs off KU starter T.J. Walz on Keyes’ second home run of the series, a three-run shot to left following a walk and a single by Russell Moldenhauer.

Walz did not factor in the decision, but kept the Jayhawks in the game, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

After Selik came on to retire the side in the sixth, KU tied the game with a two-run single by Jimmy Waters, which chased Texas starting pitcher Brandon Workman from the game. Workman went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and six k’s. Waters’ at-bat was preceded by a Buck Afenir walk and a Tony Thompson single.

The Jayhawks earned a series victory in their first Big 12 set of the season for the first time since 2000, when KU downed Iowa State in two of three games. Kansas also improved to 4-3 this season against Top 25 teams with wins over No. 1 Texas, then-No. 4 Arizona State and then-No. 21 Arkansas.