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Archive for Thursday, May 2, 1996

KU DOWNS CAMERON

May 2, 1996

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Kansas University's baseball team didn't get the convincing victory it wanted, but at least it picked up the victory it desperately needed.

A day after being throttled by tiny Emporia State, the Jayhawks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 10-3 victory over NCAA Div. II Cameron University on Wednesday afternoon at sparsely populated Hoglund-Maupin Stadium.

"We got the W," said KU junior left fielder Stephen Matthews, who went 2-for-5 with a double, homer and two RBIs. "We're happy with the win, but we still have to work harder. We saw some improvement through the day, but we still have some things that need work."

Kansas (22-26) bolted to a 4-0 lead after two innings, saw Cameron (14-35) pull within 5-3 in the top of the seventh, then put it away with a four-run eighth.

"I'm happy we won," KU coach Bobby Randall said. "But I hung on to a couple things too long. I'm not angry at the team. But there were some things about this streak ... we need to play better. That hurts me. I know we can play much better."

KU junior pitcher Mario Opipari (1-2) pitched pretty well. Opipari allowed just one run off three hits over six innings to pick up the first victory of his major-college career.

"I felt I threw well," said Opipari, a junior college transfer from Cypress (Calif.) CC who has become KU's fourth starter. "I had better command of my breaking pitch. That was the key."

Tuesday's 24-10 loss to Div. II Emporia State still weighed on the Jayhawks, and Randall saw the signs against Cameron.

"We're pressing awfully hard," Randall said. "We hit a lot of fly balls today, and that's not good baseball. You can't do that, especially against Cameron. We're awfully tired now. Vince Lombardi said, 'Fatigue makes cowards of us all.' We're fatigued. It's finals week. We just have a lot of things we're struggling with right now, things we have to get straightened out before the Big Eight tournament."

If they make it. Kansas has completed its league schedule and must wait to see if they'll secure one of the six berths to the tournament. Three teams -- KU, Nebraska and Iowa State -- are in the running for the two remaining tournament berths. Nebraska must sweep Iowa State next weekend to make the tournament. If ISU wins two with Kansas State and two with Missouri then gets swept by NU in Ames, Iowa, KU won't qualify.

"We don't really think about it," Opipari said. "We're just fine-tuning things, hoping we do make it."

KU will travel to a two-game set at Oral Roberts this weekend. KU and ORU will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Monroe signs -- Former KU outfielder Darryl Monroe, taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 1994 draft but cut this spring, has signed with Abilene, Texas, of the Independent Texas-Louisiana League. He will report in two weeks.

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