KU, Quick rebound
Routed in opener, Jayhawks rally
Kodiak Quick was either superhuman – or super-lucky – to be able to pitch after getting plunked in the bullpen on Saturday by teammate Andy Marks.
“I got smoked by a ball,” Quick said. “I was reaching over the fence to get the radio and got a 90 mile-an-hour fastball right off my head.”
Showing no side effects – and also no fear- the senior took down the mighty Oklahoma offense in a 7-5 Kansas University baseball victory Sunday to end the weekend series.
“That’s a huge game for us,” Kansas coach Ritch Price said. “As far as I’m concerned, it saved our season.”
After losing the first two games of the series, the Jayhawks avoided what could have been a costly sweep. They are fighting for their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 12 years.
Quick’s heroics came just a half-hour after No. 8 Oklahoma showed its dominance offensively in a 17-2 blowout.
Quick was unfazed, going six scoreless innings and allowing time for the KU bats to get going.
They did so in the fifth.
After managing just one hit in the first four innings, Kansas strung together six in the span of seven batters.
John Allman and Brock Simpson contributed run-scoring doubles, and Ritchie Price capped it with an RBI single to give Kansas a 5-0 lead.
The Jayhawk hurlers were just good enough to close it out.
Quick gave up back-to-back home runs to Jackson Williams and Joe Dunigan in the seventh and was replaced by Paul Smyth, who recorded the final two outs of the inning.
With a 7-2 lead, KU standout closer Don Czyz did what he needed to in one of his worst outings of the year.
In the eighth, the right-hander gave up a solo homer to Ryan Rohlinger – the first he had allowed all season in 45 innings pitched.
After a double play in the ninth, Czyz also watched as Chuckie Caufield finished an 11-pitch at-bat with a two-run homer to left to make it 7-5.
Aaron Reza popped out to left to end it.
“It’s really big for us,” Quick said, “to not get swept.”
Kansas also ended Oklahoma’s 13-game win streak in the process.
Third-string catcher Andrew Spitzfaden provided a major spark off the bench for Kansas.
The freshman went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. He also contributed a triple in each game Sunday.
“I’ve got to hit them pretty far and someone’s got to fall down for me to get all the way to third base,” Spitzfaden said.
With regular catchers Dylan Parzyk (sprained ankle) and Buck Afenir (mumps) still recovering, Price said he was pleased with Spitzfaden’s production.
“I don’t think the kid could have played any better,” Price said, “than he played this week.”
The Jayhawks recovered well after getting dominated in Game One Sunday.
Oklahoma banged out 25 hits, scoring five in the fifth and six in the ninth to make an ugly game even uglier.
Kansas starter Ricky Fairchild lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.
Still, the Jayhawks rebounded and quickly put the first game behind them.
“We have four of five guys in that dugout that have been here four years and they know how to play the game,” Price said. “They play like professionals.”
Kansas (32-18, 10-11) will play host to St. Mary’s on Tuesday.