Kansas University baseball coach Bobby Randall has a knack for using back-up outfielders as ninth-inning pinch hitters.
Adam Rachlin hit a game-winning three-run home run against Michigan on March 22, and Bobby Bartow drove in a run and scored the winning run Wednesday in a 6-5 victory against the University of Nebraska-Omaha at Hoglund Ballpark.
"I was just trying to get the runners over," Bartow said, "but it turned out different."
With the Jayhawks down, 5-3, in the bottom of the ninth, the junior outfielder pinch-hit for catcher Beau Thompson with two runners on and nobody out. Bartow drove Casey Spanish home with a single up the middle after missing on two bunt attempts.
"I was expecting them to give me the bunt again," Bartow said. "Earlier in the season I got a two-strike bunt down so I was expecting to get it again. I feel I'm a pretty solid bunter, but I guess not tonight.
"I kind of started at him (coach Randall) again, and he went through the signs again and I was like, 'All right, I guess I'm hitting so I'll do the job that way.'"
Brandon Shepard reached on an error that allowed Travis Metcalf to score and knot the game at 5, and Nate McCabe, the Mavericks' seventh pitcher of the game, uncorked a wild pitch two batters later, allowing Bartow to score.
Kansas fell behind early, giving up two first-inning runs to the Mavericks (15-10). Randall thought the team suffered an emotional letdown after Tuesday's 9-1 defeat of No. 8 Wichita State.
"I knew this wasn't going to be an easy game," he said. "This is a good ballclub. Defensively, they gave us some runs, but we just had a hard time playing the game tonight."
Those seven pitchers didn't help the Jayhawks much either, holding them to five hits and striking out seven.
"I don't think we ever got comfortable," Randall said. "We didn't adjust very well, and that's hard. To their credit, they threw strikes, and we didn't handle it like we should have."
The Jayhawks (15-15) won their third game in the past five Â including two wins over top-15 teams Â heading into this weekend's three-game series against Texas Tech.
"It's a lot of confidence," Bartow said. "We've been playing a lot better since that Texas series. We know we can play this game. We just need to show it to everybody else and we need to start playing this way in conference games."
Kansas 6, Nebraska-Omaha 5
Nebraska-Omaha 200 010 011 Â 5 10 4
Kansas 010 200 003 Â 6 5 0
Kyle Funk, James Peters (2), Weston Cooper (3), Chris Tate (4), Jeff Spilker (5), Nathan Holman (6), Nate McCabe (8) and Zach Ries. Tyson Bothof, Chris Smart (6) and Beau Thompson. WPÂSmart (1-2). LPÂMcCabe (0-1).
2BÂNebraska-Omaha: Patrick Johnston.
Kansas highlights: Casey Spanish, 0-for-2, 2 runs, 15 putouts; Bobby Bartow, 1-for-1, run, RBI; Beau Thompson, 1-for-2, 2 RBI.