Wichita State’s 11-3 loss on Sunday to Pittsburgh came with a first for Gene Stephenson, who has been the coach at WSU since 1977.
“I hate to say this, but history was made today,” Stephenson said. “Thirty-six years we have never been swept at home by anybody in a three-game series. Ever.”
This changed when visiting Pittsburgh completed the three-game sweep, the first team to accomplish the feat since Creighton in 1970.
Pitt outscored WSU 27-15 over the three games, sending the Shockers to 0-3 for the second consecutive season.
“This might be an all-time low. And I guess it’s a miracle that it hasn’t happened before,” Stephenson said. “We had a miserable showing again today — terrible time setting the tone in the first inning.”
WSU’s troubles started prior to the first pitch when they found out starting pitcher Kris Gardner was a no-go due to illness. Tobin Mateychick got the start but didn’t even make it out of the first inning.
Pitt loaded the bases before recording an out, and scored when Mateychick hit A.J. Lardo with a pitch. A third walk by Mateychick brought in another run for Pitt before Eric Hess cleared the bases with a grand slam to make it 6-0 after one inning.
“One swing of the bat and it’s a difference maker,” Pitt coach Joe Jordano said. “The starter for Wichita was a little bit wild and gave us some opportunities.”
Pitt added another run in the second inning with Casey Roche’s solo shot to left field. The score would remain 7-0 until Pitt scored again in the sixth inning.
WSU found some life in the seventh inning, when Garrett Bayliff singled to bring in two runs. Any comeback hopes were quickly stymied in the eighth inning after Pitt answered with three more runs.
“We are in a world of hurt at this point. We are not pitching well, we are not hitting well. For a team to come in here from the north and sweep us for the first time in history is not only remarkable and it speaks volumes about them, but it also speaks a lot about us,” Stephenson said. “They whipped us in every phase of the game.”
WSU was held to five hits on Sunday while it gave up at least 14 in each of the three games against Pitt. The Shockers also committed four fielding errors in Pitt’s historic sweep.
“When you put it in perspective how Wichita State fits into the college atmosphere and the whole story of college baseball,” Jordano said, “it’s something we are going to reflect back on and feel very good about.”