Wednesday, June 7, 1989
Wichita State junior right-hander Jeff Bluma's College World Series victory Wednesday night marked his first decision since April 15.
The Shockers' "long" reliever worked two innings, interrupted by a 56-minute rain delay, allowing four hits and one run to receive credit for the Shockers' 7-4 victory over Florida State.
He improved his record to 3-0 with his first win since Wichita State beat Illinois State nearly two months ago.
"I'm just glad the team was able to win," Bluma said. "Now we're in a position to go for the goal we set at the beginning of the year - to play for the national championship.
"They gave the ball to me, and I'm just glad that I could prove that I could do it."
Bluma, from Duncan, Okla., said his role has been to "set the table" for Jim Newlin, the Shockers' closer.
"If we get a lead in the seventh or eight inning," he said, "we basically know the game is ours."
That's because of the presence of Newlin with his five victories and 18 saves.
Bluma said he didn't think about what his chances of winning in the CWS would be.
"I just wanted to be effective," he said.
Two appearances against Michigan in the West II Regional boosted his confidence.
He was credited with the save in a 2 2/3-inning stint in the 3-2 first game against Michigan on the final day of the regional, and followed that with three innings of five-hit relief before giving way to Newlin in the Shockers' 9-5 title-clinching win.
"I haven't started a game in over a year," Bluma said. "I've forgotten how to start."
Dale Williams, crew chief of CWS umpires, ruled three Wichita State bats illegal and took them out of play before the game Wednesday night.
Gene McArtor, chairman of the CWS Games Committee, said Williams "determined there was a problem with the bats that he ended up removing."
Violations usually involve cracks in the aluminum or "the side wall of the bat flattens out," said McArtor, the University of Missouri baseball coach.
At least one of the three violations involved such flattening, he said.
Williams found the improper bats in a routine inspection that takes place before each game.
The violations were not the first of the tournament, McArtor said.
"Miami had a couple of bats removed," he said.
Wichita State Coach Gene Stephenson questioned the action, asking why the bats hadn't been challenged before.
"They were ones we had been using," he said.