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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 1997

CASEY BARRETT PICKED UP THE VICTORY IN HIS FIRST APPEARANCE SINCE THE SEASON-OPENER.

March 30, 1997

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Compared to the opener, the finale was a nail-biter.

On Friday night, Kansas University's baseball team pounded Howard, 26-4. On Saturday, the Jayhawks squeaked out a 15-6 victory over the Bison at Hoglund-Maupin Stadium.

It looked for a while like KU was going to have another offensive showcase. A four-run first inning gave the Jayhawks an early lead. Justin Headley had the big blow, a three-run home run.

Headley was happy just to have a pitch to swing at.

"(Friday) night I walked three times and got hit once," Headley said. "They were a little wild."

Headley saw more of the same Saturday. He drew two of KU's 13 walks.

Howard made the game close for a while, but not without help for the Jayhawks. The Bison scored five runs in the third inning on three hits and three errors by KU. Kansas committed five errors on the day, and all of Howard's runs were unearned.

KU coach Bobby Randall said Kansas relaxed, possibly expecting another cakewalk.

"There's no question they let up," Randall said. "We were ragged, very ragged. But we've got a young team and we're still learning."

After KU left the field in the third, Randall spoke to the team in an effort to make it refocus.

"Coach summed it up there," Headley said. "He just said we lost respect for them, and when you lose respect for your opponent, you don't play as hard."

Randall was pleased with the performance of his pitchers. The four that threw for KU allowed only eight hits, struck out six and walked one.

Most notable among them was Casey Barrett, who made his first appearance since the season opener. He has been recovering from an injury to a nerve in his upper back.

Barrett picked up the victory with four innings of one-hit ball.

"It felt good. It's been real hard sitting on the sidelines," Barrett said. "It felt pretty good, there was no pain. But my strength is not where I want it to be right now."

The Jayhawks (21-10) will play host to Oral Roberts at 3 p.m. Monday.

"I don't really feel good about the way we played," Randall said. "But we've got the day off (today) and hopefully we'll come out Monday and play hard-nosed baseball."

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