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Archive for Thursday, March 4, 1999

THE WILDCATS WON THE FIRST GAME, 10-9, THEN LOST THE NIGHTCAP TO KANSAS, 6-2, WEDNESDAY AT HOGLUND BALLPARK.

March 4, 1999

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It could have been disheartening.

Kansas' baseball team entered its Wednesday doubleheader with Baker University looking to stop a seven-game losing streak that saw the Jayhawks outscored, 78-21.

What's more, the doubleheader represented KU's first action at Hoglund Ballpark since off-season renovations.

So after Baker -- a previously winless NAIA team -- took the opener, 10-9, any remaining bit of confidence the Jayhawks had could have been lost in a Game Two defeat.

"It was embarrassing," said right fielder Matt Van Alsburg, who had three hits and two RBIs in the doubleheader. "But that embarrassment may have been enough to get us to playing like we should.

"That second game, we were able to put all the things together and the guys in the dugout were into it a little more."

The extra enthusiasm was either a way to cope with temperatures that dipped into the upper 30s, or in response to a rally that helped the Jayhawks beat Baker, 6-2, in seven innings.

The split moved Kansas to 3-9 and Baker to 1-5.

Baker pitcher Quentin Rials, a 1995 Lawrence High graduate who spent two falls as a KU walk-on, started the second game and took a 2-0 lead into the third.

He gave up an RBI single to Chad King in the fourth inning and another run in the fifth and was pulled after John Nelson scored on Doug Dreher's single to right in the sixth.

Van Alsburg added an RBI single, and Shane Wedd -- LHS class of `96 -- drove in two runs with a drive to left.

"The team had been struggling to put some positive emotion into it," Van Alsburg said. "I think we got that back with the second game."

Perhaps the opener's emotion was dampened by its five errors, six wild pitches and six hit-batsmen.

Kansas was especially ugly in the fifth inning.

The defense committed five errors and Dan Olson walked three batters as Baker scored four runs despite managing just one hit.

"Give Baker credit," Kansas coach Bobby Randall said. "They took advantage of our mistakes. They swung the bats and took advantage of a lot of walks and that played heavily."

Ryan Schmidt and Chad Schuster, KU starting pitchers, entered having given up a combined nine earned runs in less than four innings.

Several KU regulars saw limited or no action in the doubleheader.

"We wanted to win the games, but with different lineups," Randall said. "We've got some guys trying to get back on track, so we wanted to work on that.

"Where we're at right now is working on the way to execute and we're not doing that right now."

Baker coach Darin Loe had a smile on his face after the split.

"It's definitely a boost for us," he said. "(In the first game) we had 10 runs against some good pitching and good competition.

"The overall feeling is definitely it feels good about getting our first win of the season. You can't go away from here real mad."

Kansas will host Texas Friday at 3 p.m. Baker will host Hastings, Neb. on Saturday.

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