Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson went to the mound in the sixth inning intending to pull pitcher Tobin Mateychick with two runners on base.
Mateychick and catcher Ryan Hege had other plans. They convinced Stephenson to stick with his starter and it paid off. Mateychick, less than a year removed from elbow surgery, got out of the inning to send the Shockers on their way to a 10-2 victory over Kansas at Eck Stadium, WSU’s third straight win and its seventh in the past nine.
“He knew I was getting tired and I left a couple balls up,” Mateychick said. “I can’t exactly say what was said, but Hege had my back on the way out there, talking to Gene, telling him I could get that lefty out.”
Mateychick’s effort provided the highlight of a lopsided pitching matchup. After Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to WSU in 16 innings, Kansas (12-21) exhausted its staff. Scheduled starter Drew Morovick didn’t make the trip due to illness. Freshman Jordan Luvisi made his first start, gave up three runs in two innings and lowered his ERA from 21.60 to 18.56. Matt Kohorst made his third appearance of the season. Jaydee Jurgensen his second and Taylor Rappaport his first.
“We were at the bottom of their pitching staff,” Stephenson said. “We don’t hold any false illusions about ourselves that we did something great.”
Mateychick’s performance, however, is reason for celebration. He limited Kansas to five hits and one run over six innings to match his career-long outing, also against the Jayhawks in 2010. He struck out four, walked one and retired 11 straight after giving up a leadoff single. WSU coaches didn’t count on much from Mateychick this season after he missed most of 2011. On Wednesday, he gave the Shockers (21-15) one of their better starting performances in recent weeks.
“He had a lot of command early; he had a lot of command late,” Hege said. “That was a big game for him, coming off Tommy John surgery. He needed a confidence boost, and that was great.”
Mateychick, a sophomore from Enid, didn’t allow a runner to second until Tucker Tharp doubled to lead off the sixth. With two outs, James Stanfield singled to cut WSU’s lead to 5-1 and Alex DeLeon followed with another single. That brought Stephenson to the mound, usually a sign for a reliever to enter.
“I said ‘Let him stay in, with two outs I’ve got confidence in him that he’s going to throw some good pitches,’” Hege said. “That was pretty nice, that (Stephenson) trusts me, so that was good.”
Mateychick struck out Jordan Dreiling to end the inning and he went to the dugout pleased with his progress. In his previous start, he allowed two hits and one earned run in four innings against South Alabama. He liked the sink and movement on his two-seam fastball and his slider made the Jayhawks swing weakly.
“My stuff is good and my arm is not even a thought,” he said. “Even though I’m not a year out (from surgery), the velocity is there and I feel good.”
Mateychick also benefited from plenty of run support. WSU went up 2-0 in the first, an inning highlighted by Casey Gillaspie’s home run to left field. The Shockers made it 3-0 without a hit in the second when Erik Harbutz walked, moved to second on a groundout, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout. Johnny Coy drove in Taylor Doggett in the third and WSU again scored a run without a hit in the fifth to go up 5-0. KU threatened by cutting the lead to 5-2 in the seventh. WSU responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs, two on a single by Harbutz with the bases loaded.
WSU is 7-2 since losing three in a row and this week hasn’t been easy. The Shockers traveled to Illinois State last weekend and then played a 4 hour, 12 minute game on Tuesday. Today, they leave for Evansville. Gillaspie considers it a good sign the Shockers are winning in those conditions.
“The whole year we’ve been scrappy,” he said. “That’s kind of the story of this year, is that we hate losing and we’re going to try our best until the last out.”
Notes — Gillaspie hit his sixth home run, his first batting right-handed. Taylor Doggett went 3 for 3 and scored three runs to extend his hitting streak to six games.… KU endured 13 straight scoreless innings beginning Tuesday and continuing until the sixth inning on Wednesday.… The Shockers swept the season series from KU for the first time since 2008.… The Shockers didn’t commit an error for the 14th time this season, one fewer than in 2011. WSU is 11-3 in errorless games.… KU’s Jake Marasco, a junior from Maize, went 1 for 3 with a double and is 7 for 19 with four doubles in six career games against WSU.
|Kansas||000||001||100||— 2 9 0|
|Wichita State||211||100||41X||— 10 12 0|
DP - KU 1, WSU 1. LOB - KU 8, WSU 7. 2B - Tharp (2), Marasco (4), Doggett (5), Parker (6). HR - Gillaspie (6). SB - Doggett (13). CS - Hall (7).
|Luvisi L, 0-2||2||2||3||3||1||0||18.56|
HBP - by Rappaport (Hall); by Rappaport (Parker); by Toalson (Gillaspie). WP - Luvisi (2). Ladwig (2).
Umpires — Home, Randy Wetzel; First, Terry Harrison, Second; Gregg Mudd; Third, Josh Schepis. T- 2:23. A - 4,002