Kansas has a prime-time player on its baseball team.
Pitcher Jim Walker didn't allow a run through nine innings in Kansas' 3-2 loss in 15 innings to Wichita State on Wednesday night at Hoglund-Maupin Stadium.
The game was televised live on channel 62.
"Maybe TV brought Jim Walker to another level. . .He's a hot dog anyway," KU baseball coach Dave Bingham quipped. "I think that's as fine a pitching performance as I've seen in five years. It's a shame we couldn't get him a run to win the game."
The only problem was KU's hitters couldn't touch WSU starter Joel Bradberry and reliever Jaime Bluma. Walker left after allowing a run in the 10th. The Jayhawks rallied to tie in the bottom of the frame, and again plated a run after WSU scored in the 13th, before finally succumbing in 15.
WALKER'S LINE read: 9 innings, four hits, one run, eight strikeouts and three walks.
"It's the best game I've pitched since I've been here," said Walker, a junior from Nickerson. "I was really focused."
Not only because the game was televised, he said, but because WSU was the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
"I tried to not let TV affect me," Walker said. "I wanted to have a good performance to make our team look good and maybe get us some more publicity. I think we're back. I think the 'Hawks are back."
The Jayhawks, 16-13, have dropped seven of their last eight games. WSU, meanwhile, is 26-1.
"It was a wonderful game between two good teams," Bingham said. "There was great pitching on both sides. Offensively, I don't think there were a lot of good cuts."
KU collected 14 hits to WSU's eight, but the Jayhawks stranded 16 baserunners.
"OUR PITCHERS came through. They showed guts," said center fielder Darryl Monroe, who had three hits. "Our bats couldn't get the big hit tonight."
Kent Mahon and David Soult also had three safeties. Mahon and Soult singled in tying runs in the 10th and 13th innings respectively.
Pinch hitter Joel Benninghoff made the final out, driving a long fly to the warning track in center, stranding Brent Wilhelm at third. WSU had taken the lead in the top of the frame on a home run by Joey Jackson.
"We had opportunities in the three, four, five spots time and again and didn't get it done," Bingham said.
John Wuycheck, Niemeier and Rory Tarquinio each went 1-for-6.
Kansas will travel to Oklahoma State for a four-game series, starting with a single game at 7 p.m. Friday. Also scheduled is a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday and a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday.