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Wichita State takes series from Cal State Fullerton

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, March 30, 2014, at 6:18 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 31, 2014, at 6:02 a.m.

Wichita State beat No. 9 Cal State Fullerton 4-2 in the finale of a weekend baseball series Sunday at Eck Stadium, and reality beat perception.

A four-run outing typically doesn’t qualify as much of a breakthrough, but against one of the top pitching staffs in the country, which the Titans possess, it fits the description. The manner in which the Shockers gathered their offense was also more impressive than the tangible output.

WSU collected 12 hits against Grahamm Wiest, who would be higher than No. 3 in most other collegiate rotations, and two relievers. The Shockers got six leadoff runners on base and used those to keep the pressure on Wiest and those who followed him.

“The team battled,” said WSU third baseman Chase Simpson, who had three hits and two RBIs. “We let go of the bad pitches and swung at the good pitches. We had people on and we had chances. We had 12 hits and would have liked to score more runs, but we still got enough to get the (win).”

In a Friday loss to Fullerton, WSU never had a baserunner with fewer than two outs. The Shockers organized a game-winning rally in the ninth inning Saturday with one out, then finally on Sunday started scoring early enough in innings to sustain offense.

Dayne Parker started the bottom of the second with a wind-blown triple off the left field wall, scoring one batter later on Simpson’s hard single up the middle.

Simpson scored when Micah Green doubled with one out, and though WSU left two runners stranded, the Shockers had their second multi-run inning of the weekend in 20 tries. It wouldn’t be their last.

“It’s nice to see us put some good at-bats together and string some things together,” Green said. “Lately we’ve been hit-or-miss, and it’s really nice to score throughout the game rather than just the first couple innings.”

Tanner Pinkston started the Fullerton second with a lazy fly ball off of WSU starter Sam that turned into a solo homer because of 30 mph wind gusts, and the Titans scored in the third on a walk, single and a double play.

That inning included a particularly animated visit from pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, which was followed by a long stretch of effectiveness by Tewes. His rhythm was broken by a long sixth inning for WSU at the plate, but he retired seven of eight batters before the seventh with an infield hit the only blemish.

The Shockers, with A.J. Ladwig and Cale Elam pitching the first two games, matched or exceeded Fullerton’s starters all weekend.

“Sam battled today,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “Little bit up in the zone the first three innings, but he settled in. He competes, and he gave us a good chance to win today. Three quality starts by our pitching staff. I like our pitching staff on the weekend.”

After leaving runners on base in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, WSU capitalized on a leadoff walk in the sixth to Dayne Parker. Simpson, who doubled in the fourth, doubled again to score Parker. Green was once again involved, moving Simpson to third on a single before Simpson scored on a fielder’s choice.

It was the kind of execution the Shockers lacked until Saturday’s ninth inning before it arrived to help them win two of three from a nationally ranked opponent before two weeks full of road games coming up.

“It means a lot,” Green said. “We needed some confidence, and coming into this we knew they were going to be good. It would help to compete against those guys, and we actually came and did what we needed to do and got a couple wins.”

Diemer cf401000.242
Williamson rf400000.253
Davis 3b401000.330
Pinkston dh411100.321
Velazquez lf302011.244
Olmedo-Barrera dh300000.222
Pacheco ph100001.000
Kennedy c400001.233
Dale ss210021.273
Richards 2b302001.229
Totals 32 2 6 1 3 5
Wichita State
Dearman lf401000.297
Kirk ss402000.260
Gillaspie 1b401000.404
Parker 2b321010.357
Simpson 3b423201.272
Baker c401001.218
Green cf302100.297
Haddox rf301110.174
Bobbit dh300010.222
Totals 32 4 12 4 3 2

Fullerton St.0110000002
Wichita St.02000200x4

Fullerton St. 3, WSU 2. LOB — Fullerton x, WSU x. 2B — Velazquez (4), Simpson 2 (8), Green (6). 3B — Parker (1). HR — Pinkston (1). S — Green.

Wiest L1-35 1/31044111.94
Wichita State
Tewes W,4-16422212.55
LaBrie S,11100022.66

PB — Baker. Umpires — home, Ben Harlow, first, Greg Mudd, third, Trent Petrie. T — 2:39. A — 3,114.

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