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WSU baseball splits doubleheader with Long Beach State

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at 4:37 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at 10:27 p.m.

Long Beach State

at Wichita State

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Eck Stadium

Records: LBSU 4-6, WSU 7-3

Radio: KFH, 1240-AM, 98.7-FM

Wichita State’s first doubleheader of the Todd Butler era produced the Shockers’ first walk-off victory of the season and their first shutout loss.

Sophomore Daniel Kihle had three hits, including a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth, as WSU edged Long Beach State 5-4 in the opening game Friday at Eck Stadium. Right-hander Andrew Rohrbach countered with a complete-game, four-hitter for the Dirtbags in the nightcap, leading them to a 7-0 victory.

Kihle, an Andale High product, capped a strong opening month to the season by going 4 for 7 in the doubleheader to raise his batting average to .405. He has started four consecutive games in left field for WSU since junior Mikel Mucha fractured his lower left leg a week ago in a 13-inning loss to George Mason.

“It’s a battle for all of us,” said Kihle, who has hit safely in all eight games he’s played. “There’s still guys behind me who can come up and take my spot. It’s not that it’s my job now. Everybody has to keep competing and doing their job to stay in the game.”

Kihle, one of the fortunate few to register a hit against Rohrbach, was tough on Long Beach State pitchers in the opener. He hit his second home run of the season in the seventh, a solo shot that knocked out Dirtbags starter Nick Sabo and gave WSU a 4-1 lead.

After Long Beach State rallied to tie the score in the eighth against relievers Aaron LaBrie and Foster Vielock, Kihle delivered again.

With the score tied at 4, Dirtbags reliever Ty Provencher issued walks to pinch hitter Cody Bobbit and shortstop Tanner Kirk to start the ninth. Designated hitter Tanner Dearman bunted into a force play at third, but Kihle followed by lining a 1-2 pitch off the webbing of third baseman Zack Domingues’ glove and into left field. Kirk scored the winning run from second.

“I think he’s gaining confidence with each game that he plays,” Butler said of Kihle, who has batted in four spots in WSU’s lineup in eight starts. “He has concrete in his bat, he can run and he’s an electric-type player.”

Kihle’s heroics followed another solid pitching start from WSU junior right-hander A.J. Ladwig. Ladwig allowed his first earned run of the season, but it was all the Dirtbags could produce off five hits and two walks.

“A.J.’s been very solid,” said Butler, whose team is 7-3 heading in to Saturday’s series finale. “He’s given us a quality start every time. Out of 10 games now, we’ve had eight quality starts and two setbacks, and that’s baseball.”

In the nightcap, the Dirtbags used a five-run fourth to derail WSU freshman Sam Tewes’ third career start.

The Shockers went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position the first three innings against Rohrbach, and Long Beach State made them pay. Domingues drew a walk to start the fourth. Shortstop Garrett Hampson followed with a single to right, and left fielder Michael Hill broke a scoreless tie with a two-run triple to right-center.

Tewes, who allowed two runs in 9 1/3 innings before Friday, surrendered five in the fourth – four earned – before reliever Drew Palmer recorded the final out.

“There was a pitch he threw that kind of rattled him a little bit,” Butler said. “They got some hits, and then they strung hits together. He’s just got to try to stop the bleeding there and what not, but he’s pitched extremely well.”

Once Rohrbach got the lead, he cruised. He finished with nine strikeouts and induced three double plays, including two by WSU shortstop Erik Harbutz, who made his first start in the nightcap along with second baseman Dayne Parker after both served the last of nine-game NCAA suspensions.

Rohrbach, who completed the game with strikeouts of Chase Simpson and Parker Zimmerman, also held WSU first baseman Casey Gillaspie hitless in three at-bats. Gillaspie, whose two-run double in the first inning of the opener briefly raised his batting average above .600, had a 12-game hitting streak snapped.

“It wasn’t that we weren’t getting good swings, we were almost unlucky,” Kihle said. “We were hitting hard balls at people all night. It’s just one of those games where you’ve got to pick out the good – know that you had a few good at-bats – and try to flush the rest and come back tomorrow.”

First Game

Long Beach StateABRHBIBBSOAVG
Domingues 3b421010.190
Hampson ss412101.265
Hill lf-cf-lf301100.265
Prigatano rf300010.250
Patron 1b402200.250
Bekakis cf301000.231
Belanger ph100000.000
Brenner cf000000.000
Pongs dh-p401001.167
Rivera pr000000.130
Hutting c400000.105
Vaughn 2b412001.136
Totals 34 4 10 4 2 3
Wichita State
Dearman dh411000.242
Kihle lf523211.400
Gillaspie 1b301210.571
Simpson 3b400000.292
Baker c411002.185
Green cf 302100.343
Koeiman 2b302000.200
Bobbit 2b000010.375
Kirk ss210020.188
Totals 32 5 11 5 4 4

Long Beach State0000010304
Wichita State2000011015

One out when winning run scored.

E — Patron. DP — LBS, WSU. LOB — LBS 6, WSU 8. 2B — Hill (3), Domingues (1), Patron (2), Dearman (2), Green (2), Gillaspie (4). HR — Kihle (2). S — Hill, Dearman. SF — Green.

Long Beach StateIPHRERBBSOERA
Sabo6 1/31044232.25
Millison2/3000001.34
Pongs2/3000014.19
Provencher L,1-22/3111204.00
Wichita State
Ladwig7511220.48
LaBrie1/3333004.15
Vielock BS, W, 1-01 2/3200010.00

Umpires — home, Dave Ashwege; first, Charlie Clemons; third, Bob Homolke. T — 3:02.

Second game

Long Beach StateABRHBIBBSOAVG
Domingues 3b411011.200
Hampson ss422000.289
Hill lf421201.263
Prigatano rf301100.258
Patroni 1b411101.250
Pongs dh200101.125
Rivera dh100001.125
Bishop c412000.250
Vaughn 2b301110.160
Brenner cf400000.000
Totals 33 7 9 6 2 5
Wichita State
Dearman dh200012.229
Bayliff rf300012.256
Gillaspie 1b300010.526
Simpson 3b400003.250
Baker c201000.207
Zimmerman c200001.333
Green cf300000.316
Kihle lf201001.405
Haddox lf101000.500
Parker 2b200010.000
Harbutz ss301000.333
Totals 27 0 4 0 4 9

Long Beach State0000520007
Wichita State0000000000

E — Parker. DP — LBS 3, WSU. LOB — LBS 3, WSU 5. 2B — Patron (3), Hampson (1), Bishop (1), Baker (1). 3B — Hill (1). S — Dearman. SF — Pongs. SB — Hill (4). CS — Prigatano.

Long Beach StateIPHRERBBSOERA
Rohrbach W,1-19400492.69
Wichita State
Tewes L,1-13 2/3554131.93
Palmer1 1/3221000.00
Biechler2100010.00
Tyler1000010.00
Looney11001115.43

WP — Tewes, Palmer, Biechler. PB — Baker 2. HBP — Prigatano (by Tewes). Umpires — home, Charlie Clemons; first, Bob Homolka; third, Dave Ashwege. T — 2:36. A — 2,752.

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