After eight innings of aggressive play by the Kansas University baseball squad at Hoglund Ballpark, Baker University finally said mercy.
Both teams figured the nearly three-hour game had gone long enough with the score 24-7 in the middle of the eighth inning.
KU picked up its fourth consecutive win and swept a four-game home stretch in which it scored a combined 63 runs against three different opponents.
"Like we kind of talk about - our motto - you need to be greedy, you need to be selfish in this game," Erik Morrison said, "and you never give an at-bat up no matter what the score is ... and can't really feel sorry for anyone else. You just keep battling and keep playing."
Morrison ignited the offensive display with his two-out, three-run home run in the first inning.
"He actually had a really bad (batting practice) round today and was really upset with himself," said KU coach Ritch Price about his shortstop who knocked in 10 runs in the four home games. "But then once the game started, he did a nice job of staying balanced. He's back on rhythm now ... and those are three or four really good days in a row he's had."
But Morrison - the No. 5 batter in the order - wasn't the only sparkplug in the middle of Price's lineup. Ryne Price and Brock Simpson, the Nos. 6 and 7 batters, also made it a long night for the Wildcats pitching staff.
The starting fifth through seventh batters were a combined 8-for-10 - only one out was recorded against them - and had a total of 10 runs batted in. Morrison and Simpson each accounted for four RBIs.
"The middle of our lineup is going to carry our club," Ritch Price said. "Those are the guys that have to knock the runners in when they're in scoring position. Now, Preston Land still hasn't really gotten it going yet, but Simpson broke out the last four games ... so that's really encouraging to see him get his confidence back."
While the offensive starters were hot with the bats, the long innings early on turned into a cold night for the Jayhawks. It took one hour to complete the first two innings.
"I think probably after the third, when we were already two hours into the game, I believe, it felt like it dropped down to about 15 (degrees)," Morrison said. "And if you didn't square the ball up after that inning, you were definitely going to feel it on the hands."
The chilly weather didn't seem to effect Kansas pitcher Andy Marks, who started the third inning after Ryotaro Hayakawa came in to relieve starting pitcher Thomas Marcin, who had given up six runs - two of which were earned - in 12â3 innings of work.
In three innings of relief duty, Marks allowed just one run on two hits and three walks while striking out six.
"I actually didn't expect to get into the game at all. I was expecting to throw a bullpen after the game," Marks said. "But once the game was close and we gave up a couple of runs, I knew I was going to come in. I think it was good thing to get some guys some work. I really needed some work before I start on Sunday. So I'm glad I got a couple of innings in so I can be sharp."
The Jayhawks will return to the road once again with a three-game series against Arkansas over the weekend. KU will return to Hoglund Ballpark to face Penn State on Tuesday before playing host to in-state opponent Wichita State on Wednesday.
¢Former Cardinal crushed: It was a tough outing for Eudora native and Baker starting pitcher Joe Kaup. Kaup went just two innings and gave up 10 runs - all earned - on eight hits while striking out just one batter. The loss was his first of the season.
¢Area players have rough nights: Aaron Westerhouse, another former Eudora Cardinal, and Perry-Lecompton graduate Paul Foltz had difficulty against the Kansas pitchers. Westerhouse had the only hit between the two but also hit into two double plays and struck out. Three of Foltz's four plate appearances ended in strikeouts.
Andrew Hannon, a graduate of Baldwin High, came into the game as a defensive substitute in the late innings and never batted.
¢Simpson sinks slump: KU's Simpson has been hot as of late after moving down in the order - now batting seventh. Simpson has broken out of a 1-for-31 slump.
He has put together four straight multi-hit games with his 3-for-3 performance against Baker.