Oklahoma City Michael Suiter hit a two-run home run and four Kansas pitchers combined on a shutout as the Jayhawks beat TCU 4-0 Saturday night to reach the Big 12 championship game.
Robert Kahana (5-1) threw six shutout innings and Jordan Piche earned his 12th save after 2 1-3 innings of relief as sixth-seeded Kansas (34-24) earned a spot against No. 4 seed Oklahoma in today's 1 p.m. title game. The Sooners defeated top-seed Kansas State, 7-6, in 11 innings Saturday afternoon.
“Obviously, I’m thrilled with the way our kids played tonight,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “I think that anytime you are trying to accomplish something special and get yourself to a championship in such a good conference, like the Big 12, it starts with your starting pitching. I thought Robert Kahana grinded out six good innings for us. He got into trouble, but made some big pitches to leave runners stranded on base.”
Kevin Kuntz had an RBI single in the third, and Alex DeLeon doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth. Suiter tacked on his first home run in the seventh off Alex Young.
Cody Jones had three singles for TCU (29-28), which was eliminated from championship contention before the game started.
Horned Frogs starter Andrew Mitchell (1-2) gave up two hits and one run in five innings.
Kansas will play in the Big 12 title game for the second time in league history. The sixth-seeded Jayhawks won the tournament in 2006.
This year, Kansas earned a 3-0 tourney record with victories against No. 3 West Virginia, No. 2 Oklahoma State and seventh-seeded TCU.
“I think the biggest thing is to enjoy the moment,” Price said. “Anytime you have a chance to win a championship, the players have to live for the opportunity and embrace it. Rather than putting pressure on yourself, you have to go out there and enjoy it. We have had some success in these kinds of games in the past when going about it with that kind of process.”
TCU 000 000 000 — 061
KU 001 001 20X — 461
W — Robert Kahana (5-1). L — Andrew Mitchell (1-2). SV — Jordan Piche' (12)
2B — Alex DeLeon, KU. HR — Michael Suiter, KU.
KU highlights: Kahana 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R; Piche' 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K; Ka'iana Eldredge 2-for-4, R; Suiter 1-for-4, 2 RBI, R; Kevin Kuntz 1-for-1, RBI, R.