Wichita State was doing fine Saturday while the sun shined. But once the clouds rolled in, a seemingly safe 6-3 lead became a 7-6 deficit going into the bottom of the ninth inning.
“It seemed as soon as the clouds came in, we kind of lost it there a little bit,” said Erik Harbutz, who drove in three runs.
The Shockers recovered, scoring the tying run on Dayne Parker’s double. Harbutz then scored the winning run on Johnny Coy’s line single for a thrilling 8-7 triumph at Eck Stadium.
In the WSU ninth, pinch hitter Mikel Mucha singled off Patriots closer Stuart Pudenz (5-1) but was retired on Taylor Doggett’s fielder’s choice. Doggett then stole second and sped to third when catcher Duncan McAlpine’s throw sailed into center field. After Harbutz walked, Parker’s double scored Doggett with the tying run and sent Harbutz to third. Don Lambert was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Coy singled to right – his second RBI single in as many innings.
“It was good that we manufactured the runs,” Harbutz said. “That’s one thing we hadn’t been doing too good early in the season.
“Johnny came up clutch at the end. He’s a great hitter, he has a good eye, and he knows how to get the job done.”
WSU closer Cale Elam (4-3) entered in the eighth and retired the Patriots (28-14) in order, but struggled in the ninth after a one-out double by Ryan Behmanesh. McAlpine walked, and three of the next four Patriots singled for a 7-6 lead.
“We hit their closer like they hit our closer,” Shockers coach Gene Stephenson said.
Walks figured prominently in Dallas Baptist’s scoring. WSU pitchers surrendered five in the game and four led to Patriot runs. Shocker starter Kris Gardner walked the first two hitters in the first, and those eventually scored for an early 2-0 lead.
“Really, the only way they scored until the ninth inning was walks,” Stephenson said.
Gardner, who surrendered another run in the fourth, was sharp otherwise, retiring Dallas Baptist 1-2-3 in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings.
Wichita State’s first three runs scored on groundouts – two by Harbutz – forging a 3-3 tie. The Shockers (27-19) scored single runs from the third through the eighth for the 6-3 lead entering the ninth.
“We had a lot of good, competitive at-bats, from the third inning on,” Stephenson said. “We scored one run every inning (but) couldn’t get more than that.”
Parker had been shut down until the ninth. The double raised his average to .325, second only on the team to Coy’s .326.
“I didn’t have very good at-bats (early in the game),” Parker said. “I was just trying to keep my approach, and it worked out.”
E – McAlpine (5), Knight (9). DP — Dallas Baptist 2. LOB — DBU 5, WSU 7. 2B — Hutter (12), Behmanesh (6); Parker (13), Lambert (7), Gillaspie (8). 3B — Green (1). SB – Elkins (6), Anderson (11), Talamantes (6); Lambert (15), Doggett (16). S — Hall (10).
WP – Elam (3). PB — Hege (4). Umpires — Home, Andrew Fulton; First, Ben Harlow; Third, Tim Cordell. T— 2:46. A — 3,919.
Note: One out, 3 LOB when game ended.