Archive for Thursday, April 18, 1996


April 18, 1996


For the longest time Justin Headley couldn't buy a base hit.

Wednesday afternoon was no exception, but darned if Headley didn't win the game for Kansas University's baseball team, anyway.

Headley, KU's junior outfielder-first baseman, scored a run, threw out a would-be Nebraska runner from left field and -- oh yeah -- drove home the game-winner with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh of KU's 9-8 victory over Nebraska at Hoglund-Maupin Stadium.

"Look at his line," KU coach Bobby Randall said after the Jayhawks' second-straight victory. "He was 0-for-1 with a walk, a run, a sacrifice and an RBI. But look at his defense, his hustle ... he didn't get a hit, but he had a good game."

Headley's hitless streak hit seven games on Wednesday, but he couldn't be happier.

"I've been pressing for a while," said the left-handed Headley, who, through a run of bad luck and a steady dose of his nemeses, left-handed pitchers, had his batting average drop from a healthy .424 back on March 24 to .293 after Wednesday's game. "I felt relaxed out there for the first time in a long time. In the back of my mind, I was thinking he was a left-hander, but I didn't let it bother me."

Indeed, Headley drove home the game-winner off lefty Jay Sirianni. KU's Josh Kliner led off the seventh with a walk and moved to third on Josh Dimmick's double to left-center. After pinch hitter Ted Meadows popped out to right -- too shallow to score Kliner -- Headley drilled a Sirianni offering to deep left.

"I was really happy," Headley said. "It was a good situation to build confidence. We had a couple on base and one out, and we needed that run. I was just trying to get the run home."

Though Headley's hitless streak is still alive, he thinks he has found the root of it, and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. All during the skid Headley has run the gamut of superstitious remedies, from his pregame meals to his dugout position to drawings in the batter's circle.

"None of it seemed to work," Headley said with a laugh. "I finally figured I'd have to do it myself. I worked with the coaches before the game, and we found some mechanical things."

KU had some other mechanical difficulties on Wednesday. The Jayhawks were outhit (9-8), made more errors (3-2) than Nebraska and walked more runners (9-2). And still they won.

"We didn't do everything great," Randall said, "but we did a lot of things. We won the game. That's the best thing. This is a battling team. They're hungry to win. Give our guys a lot of credit. They battled their tails off."

Andy Juday, Isaac Byrd and Sparky Wilhelm each had two hits for KU, Kliner tripled and scored two runs and Dimmick drove in two. The winner was Linus Williams (2-0), who walked one and struck out one over just 1/3 of an inning. Josh Wingerd picked up his second save with one inning of perfect relief.

KU (18-20 overall, 8-12 in the Big Eight) and NU (17-21-1, 6-11) will continue their series at 9 p.m. Friday in Lincoln, Neb.

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