Murfreesboro, Tenn. Junior catcher Alex DeLeon went 2-for-5 with a three-run double and four RBIs and sophomore Frank Duncan earned his first collegiate victory as Kansas University downed Middle Tennessee, 7-3, to give coach Ritch Price his 300th victory at KU on Friday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
Price, who has been at Kansas since 2003, is the second Jayhawk head coach to amass 300 victories at the school — joining Floyd Temple, who won 483 games from 1954-81.
“First off, I’m really honored to be the baseball coach at the University of Kansas,” Price said. “There isn’t a guy in America that loves their job more than I do. I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to coach some great young men in my 10 years at Kansas. I got a lot of texts today from former players wishing me good luck, and that’s what it’s all about. This (winning 300 games) is as much about them as it is about me.”
After Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second, Duncan and the Jayhawk bullpen went into shutdown mode. The Kansas staff held the Blue Raiders to just one hit — a single to lead off the ninth — over the final seven innings.
Meanwhile, KU’s offense made quick work of the early deficit.
In the third inning, KU tied the score with two-out RBI singles by DeLeon and freshman left fielder Michael Suiter.
The Jayhawks took the lead in the fourth when Jordan Dreiling doubled down the right field line, and Kevin Kuntz doubled into the left-field corner.
DeLeon broke the game open in the sixth with his three-run double.
Duncan struggled early, but picked up the win. The sophomore went 52⁄3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
“One of the things I really like about Frank (Duncan) is his make-up; he’s a great competitor,” Price said. “Personally, I didn’t think his stuff was very good today. His arm was down on his breaking ball and his change-up, and as a result, his stuff was hanging. But like all kids that know how to compete, he found a way to get us into the sixth inning, and his stuff got better as the game went on.”
Relief pitchers Jordan Luvisi and Jordan Jakubov allowed just two base runners over their 21⁄3 innings, while Tanner Poppe recorded two strikeouts in the ninth.
KU will play Bowling Green at 10:30 a.m. and Belmont at 2 p.m. today at Belmont’s Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn.