COLUMBIA, Mo. - Juniors Erik Morrison and Ryne Price hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the ninth inning as the University of Kansas rallied for a dramatic 7-5 victory over 25th-ranked Missouri Friday night Taylor Stadium.
The Jayhawks improve to 16-15 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12, while the Tigers fall to 20-8 and 2-2 in conference play.
With two outs and KU trailing by one, junior Brock Simpson doubled off Kyle Gibson. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Morrison slammed a slider into the Tigers' bullpen to give the Jayhawks a 6-5 lead. It was the junior's sixth home run of the season and could not have come at a more opportune time.
Junior Ryne Price followed with a solo homer to right field to give KU a 7-5 lead. It marked the third time this season that the Jayhawks have hit back-to-back homers. In all three cases, Morrison was involved.
Morrison was 3-for-4 Friday and for the third time this season, was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He also drove in three of KU's seven runs.
After giving up a pair of base hits in the ninth, sophomore Paul Smyth finished the game by inducing a fly out off the bat of Aaron Senne. Smyth earned his second victory of the season by scattering five hits over three innings of relief.
KU took an early lead with two runs in the top of the second. After loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single, senior Kyle Murphy drove in the first run of the ball game with an RBI walk. Freshman Robby Price stretched the lead to 2-0 with a sac fly which scored catcher Buck Afenir. The sophomore catcher was the only Jayhawk besides Morrison with more than one hit in the game.
Missouri scored three runs off KU starter Nick Czyz in the next two innings. The big hit came off the bat of catcher Trevor Coleman, who hit a two-run homer to left field. The Tigers added another run in the sixth on an RBI fielder's choice, by Evan Frey.
The Jayhawks tied the game in the seventh on an RBI double from Morrison and a wild pitch by Missouri's Gibson.
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead off Smyth in the seventh, setting up Morrison and Price's heroics.
KU starting pitcher Czyz scattered 10 hits over six innings, allowing four runs while walking one and striking out two. Missouri starting pitcher Aaron Crow allowed just three hits, but walked a career high eight Jayhawks. Neither starter factored in the decision.
The loss was Missouri's first at home this season and KU's first victory in the opening game of a weekend series this season since it defeated Hawaii-Hilo, 4-1 in the season opener.
The teams will meet in game two of the series beginning at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
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