Even without its top-of-the-order batters, Kansas University's baseball team defeated Nebraska-Omaha, 6-4, on Tuesday at Hoglund Ballpark.
Pitcher Sam Gish more than made up for the absence of the injured John Nelson and Jason Appuhn, striking out five in a seven-inning stint the longest of his career.
The senior pitcher lowered his earned run average from 7.48 to 7.16.
"It feels really good to finally come out and be able to throw three pitches for strikes, locate a fastball where I want and kind of go out and dominate," Gish said. "The last couple of times I have come out have really boosted my confidence and kind of shown the coaches I can still throw a little bit, come out and play good ball."
The Jayhawks (18-26) gave Gish a 3-0 lead after the first inning. Casey Spanish scored on an error and Ryan Klocksien and Jesse Gremminger scored on a single by Kevin Wheeler.
Gremminger and Wheeler combined for much of the Jayhawks' offense. Gremminger went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Wheeler 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Kansas scored in the fourth inning on an RBI-single by Matt Van Alsburg that drove home Kevin Farmer, who had tripled off the top of the left field wall.
In the sixth, Gremminger scored KU's fifth run, crossing on a fielder's choice by Wheeler. Gremminger had reached base with a leadoff triple, which he almost turned into an inside-the-park homer.
"(KU coach Bobby Randall) was waving me," Gremminger said, "but stopped me right at the last second. I was wanting to go because I had a lot of momentum going. Plus, I hadn't hit a home run for a while so I was trying to get one the cheap way."
Gremminger's run proved important when the Mavericks scored four runs in the top of the seventh on four straight hits and an RBI ground out.
"That inning was kind of unexpected," Gremminger said. "They kind of had slap hits here and there that got them some base runners and they just scored four runs on us that inning and kind of made the game a little interesting."
Randy Strann relieved Gish and ended the inning by enticing Eric Hammer into a double play. Strann finished the game with two strikeouts and one hit in three innings to pick up his first save.
"I think Sam got a little tired," Randall said, "and I probably should have gotten him out a little earlier but Randy came in and did a marvelous job."
Nelson missed the game with a wrist injury but should be ready for Friday's game at Texas Tech, Randall said. Appuhn is suffering from a sore ankle and needs a rew more days of rest.
Kansas will face Kansas Newman at 6 p.m. today at Hoglund Ballpark.