The Kansas University baseball team did battle Tuesday with the NAIA's Baker University -- and lost.
The Wildcats scored five runs in the first two innings and added two in the ninth for good measure, handing the Jayhawks a 7-4 loss at chilly Hoglund Ballpark.
It's the first time Kansas had fallen to Baker since losing 10-9 in the dismal 1999 season.
"Baker flat beat us today," coach Ritch Price said. "In the game of baseball, if you get outpitched, the team with the most talent doesn't always win."
Price originally used Tuesday's game to get playing time for his young players. Freshman Don Czyz started on the mound, and three other backups were in the starting lineup at the opening pitch.
They didn't last long.
Czyz gave up five runs -- four of them earned -- and six hits in just two innings of work before being replaced by junior Josh Duran. The three usual starters expecting a day off were inserted in the seventh inning. It started a mini-rally, with KU posting an unearned run in the seventh and three more in the eighth on a three-run triple by senior Sean Flynn.
But before the Jayhawks (24-14) could come all the way back, Baker catcher Bix Ellenbecker smacked a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to secure the improbable victory.
"For us to come up to KU and pull out a victory, it says a little bit about where we're headed," Baker coach Phil Hannon said. "Our team's been down in the last two or three weeks. Hopefully, this will boost their morale a little bit."
Afterwards, the Jayhawks were, perhaps surprisingly, not discouraged by the defeat.
"We just never got it going today," junior Ryan Baty said. "They came in here, they stepped up to the challenge and beat us."
Added Price: "We've got some backup guys that haven't played very much. You try to reward for working hard in practice and giving them an opportunity to play. But obviously, we didn't play really well."
The Jayhawks' originally scheduled game with Creighton today has been canceled. Instead, they leave today for Macomb, Ill., and will play a doubleheader against Western Illinois starting at noon Thursday.
"We just have to erase this from memory," Baty said. "We can't have this happen again, that's for sure."
Baker 7, Kansas 4
Baker 320 000 002 -- 7 12 2
Kansas 000 000 130 -- 4 10 1
W--Josh House. L--Don Czyz (1-2)
HR--Baker: Bix Ellenbecker.
KU highlights: Sean Flynn 2-for-2, 3B, 3 RBI; Matt Tribble 2-for-4, R; Ritchie Price 2-for-4.