Surprise, Ariz. Robby Price and Tony Thompson each had three hits, and senior Nick Faunce hit a grand slam to help Kansas University nearly erase an eight-run deficit, but the Jayhawks ultimately suffered a 12-10 setback to No. 4-ranked Arizona State in nonconference baseball on Sunday.
The outcome gave ASU — which plated five runs in the sixth inning — a 2-1 win in the weekend series.
Arizona State improved to 14-3, while KU fell to 10-5. All three of ASU’s losses were to Big 12 Conference teams, including a setback to Kansas in the series opener Friday.
Down 12-5 after seven innings, KU rallied for five runs off of Sun Devils closer Jordan Swagerty. David Narodowski reached on an error to open the inning, and then after an out, moved to second on a single by Price. Senior Buck Afenir cut the lead to six with a sharp single to the outfield, scoring Narodowski.
Following Thompson’s third hit of the game, extending his hitting streak to 23 games, Faunce slammed an 0-1 pitch deep into the night to bring the Jayhawks within two.
However, KU could come no closer. After struggling through the first six hitters he faced, Swagerty recovered to retire the final five Jayhawks he faced to close the game.
ASU grabbed a 4-0 lead early on a two-run homer by left fielder Kole Calhoun. However, KU fought back to tie the game at 4, highlighted by Casey Lytle’s two-run double in the fourth off of Sun Devil ace Mike Leake.
The Sun Devils responded with three runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth inning to build a commanding eight-run lead. Calhoun and first baseman Riccio Torrez led the ASU attack with three hits and three RBIs a piece.
KU’s offense produced 10 runs on a season-high 15 hits. Price and Thompson each had three hits, while Afenir, Faunce and Lytle chipped in with two apiece. Lytle added a career-high three RBIs.
Thompson’s 23-game hitting streak is the second-longest by a Jayhawk and is tied for the ninth-longest in Big 12 history.