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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2004

Shockers rebound past KU

April 22, 2004

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— There only was one home run this time for the Kansas University and Wichita State baseball teams.

And it was the only one that mattered Wednesday night.

WSU junior catcher Joe Muich ended the Jayhawks' opportunity for a sweep over an in-state rival with a one-out solo home run in the 10th inning, lifting the 12th-ranked Shockers to a 6-5 victory at Eck Stadium.

"I'll take it," Muich said of his walk-off shot, his first homer of the season. "That 13-6 loss there (April 7 in Lawrence) made me sick to my stomach.

"Everybody hated it. We needed this win bad."

So, too, did the Jayhawks.

While the Shockers (24-7) broke their six-game slide against nonconference opponents, the Jayhawks' struggles continued.

Kansas lost its second straight extra-inning game decided by a home run, and dropped its 11th contest in the last 14 attempts.

"All I can ask of them is to come to the park to play every day and to play as hard as they can," KU coach Ritch Price said after his team fell to 24-20-1. "We're playing as hard as we can play.

"That one was the same one we lost Sunday at Oklahoma State," Price said of the Jayhawks' 10-8, 14-inning setback in Stillwater, Okla. "We're real close to being good. We're just not quite getting over the hump."

While the teams combined for seven homers two weeks ago in Lawrence, Wednesday's fireworks came in the bottom of the ninth inning.

With two on and two out, Wichita State's Brandon Green dropped the ball over KU pitcher Sean Land's shoulder between the mound and first base.

Kansas first baseman Ryan Baty rushed the ball when Land hesitated, then threw the ball back to Land, who tried to step on first the same time Green reached the base. First-base umpire Mark Weagers ruled Green safe, and WSU's Nick Blasi scored to tie the game at 5.

Price rushed out of the dugout to confront Weagers -- and chaos ensued.

While Price ripped Weagers, WSU coach Gene Stephenson was trying to make a substitution with another umpire. Meanwhile, the rest of the Jayhawks argued Green was out of the baseline, but a mostly pro-WSU crowd of 5,427 roared in approval.

The call stood, and Price was ejected.

"No doubt I thought he was out," said Price, who was ushered back to KU's locker room. "When I first got there, (Weagers) told me that he didn't tag him. Obviously, the play was a force-out, and I thought he stumbled over the bag when he got there."

The Wichita native Baty -- who was KU's hottest hitter, going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI -- said the game wasn't decided by the controversial call.

"A controversial call that didn't go our way, but that's baseball," Baty said. "People out here enjoyed a great college baseball game today, but it didn't come out with us on top."

Things certainly seemed to be shaping up for Kansas to record its first sweep of the Shockers since 2000 early Wednesday night.

The Jayhawks scored in the first when Matt Baty, who led off with a bloop single, scored on his older brother's single through the left side of the infield.

WSU answered with two runs, but Kansas responded with two in the third on another weird play. KU shortstop Ritchie Price, who also saved several runs with two sensational stops, was hit by a pitch.

Ryan Baty dropped a double to left field.

Both runners scored on Matt Tribble's infield single.

Tribble his a shot that ricocheted off WSU pitcher Derek Roach's glove, but bounced to second base. Shocker Shawn Smarsh picked the ball up seemingly in time to throw to first, but Logan Sorenson bobbled the ball, and Tribble was safe.

KU's next three games will be against Baylor this weekend in Waco, Texas.

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