Duncan's Strong Outing Leads KU Past Air Force 5-2
May 4, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Sophomore Frank Duncan struck out nine batters in eight plus innings of work, while junior Alex DeLeon went 3-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season Friday night as Kansas defeated Air Force, 5-2, in the second game of the Jayhawk Classic. Missouri State defeated Air Force, 7-0, in the first game of the day.
With the win, KU improves to 19-27 on the year, while the Falcons dropped to 12-32 overall.
Duncan tossed 101 pitches and surrendered one earned run on just six hits. The victory improved the right hander's record to 5-6 and his nine strikeouts gave him 85 for the season, just 15 away from becoming the fifth KU hurler to fan 100-plus hitters in a season.
While Duncan was in command on the hill, DeLeon found his stroke at the plate, finishing just a triple away from the cycle.
The Jayhawks grabbed an early lead, plating three runs in the bottom of the first against Falcon starter Cameron White. Sophomore Tucker Tharp led off the inning with a double down the left field line and was brought home on a sacrifice fly by James Stanfield. In the very next at bat, DeLeon added to his team's lead with a towering home run to left, which landed in the trees to give Kansas a 2-0 lead. Following DeLeon's fourth long ball of the year, first baseman Jake Marasco doubled home Jordan Dreiling to extend KU's advantage to 3-0.
Air Force would get one of those runs back in the top half of the second on a solo home run to left by outfielder Alex Bast, which made it 3-1, KU. After giving up the long ball, Duncan found his rhythm, retiring six straight batters and eight of ten through three.
That is where the score would stand until the top of the sixth when a throwing error put a Falcon base runner on third for Bast, who drove home his second RBI on the day, making it 3-2.
KU extended their lead the very next inning when, following a hit batsman and a double by DeLeon, Dreiling singled to left to bring home James Stanfield. Two batters later, right fielder Connor McKay reached on a fielder's choice to force home a run and stretch the Jayhawk lead to 5-2.
After another scoreless inning, Duncan gave up an infield hit to start the top of the ninth. The Falcon's sixth and final hit would put an end to the sophomore's night as he gave way to freshman Robert Kahana. The Hawaiian righty retired all three Air Force hitters he faced to earn his first career save.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon during the second day of the Jayhawk Classic. KU will meet Air Force at 3 p.m., following the Falcons' first game with Missouri State at 11 a.m.