The stats are a bit startling.
Since departing for a trip to California and Hawaii last month, the Wichita State baseball team has posted a 5-9 record. More troubling is the fact the Shockers are stranding nearly 11 baserunners per game.
That is the trend WSU (16-14, 2-1 MVC) is attempting to alter as it prepares for its second conference series of the season with Indiana State, the first of three games starting Friday night at Eck Stadium.
“We’re hitting the ball hard with runners on, it’s just not falling for us right now,” WSU outfielder Joe Haddox said. “I don’t really have an answer for that. There’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to keep hitting the ball hard.”
Teammate Tyler Baker added, “A crooked number, that’s what we need.”
That would be a good start.
Excluding last Saturday’s 12-2 beatdown of Illinois State, Wichita State has scored more than one run in an inning just six times in the last 102 innings — and five of those were two-run innings.
So many potential rallies have been stamped out in the last two weeks, frustration is beginning to boil overteam.
“We just have to keep it simple,” Baker said. “We can’t think about it anymore. We have to pretend like nobody is on and just drive the ball through the gaps. We have a problem staying relaxed up there, I think.”
What coach Gene Stephenson fears is that it becomes routine for WSU.
Right now players and coaches are holding out hope that the Shockers can turn it around because they are satisfied with the way players are driving the ball.
But if WSU continues to drop close games, much like the two games against Arizona State this week, then Stephenson will start to worry.
“Then it becomes a habit and I don’t like those kinds of habits,” Stephenson said. “It’s going to have to change or we’re going to be doomed for a long time.”