Micah Green might have preferred to hit a grand slam in a game where it mattered more to the outcome.
“It does kind of water it down a little bit,” Green said.
Same for career-highs and various other offensive milestones from several Wichita State baseball players, including four hits for Parker Zimmerman, three for Cody Bobbitt and four runs scored by Casey Gillaspie.
But they added up.
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After a comparatively tepid first two games, the Shockers busted out in the series finale against SIU-Edwardsville, earning the season-opening sweep with a 21-2 win at Eck Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
WSU scored eight runs in the second inning and again in the fourth, when Green’s slam literally rattled the scoreboard on a day when the Shockers’ offense continuously did so. For good measure, WSU pitching entered the ninth working on a one-hitter.
Every Shocker starter registered at least a hit and a run, and all nine accounted for multiple tallies in each of those categories. Casey Gillaspie’s second homer in as many days highlighted the eight-run second.
“It was contagious, basically,” said Green, one of several WSU starters to exit early because of the exorbitant lead. “A lot of good at-bats, people battling, and that fired us up even more. We just wanted to keep it going.”
The eye-popping offensive numbers were achieved in reverse by SIU-E’s pitching. No Cougars hurler lasted more than five outs; SIU-E went to its bullpen frequently by necessity while WSU used five relievers so newcomers could face game situations.
WSU had eight extra-base hits, including three doubles by Zimmerman, the usual backup catcher who played this weekend while Tyler Baker served a three-game suspension. Bobbit, making his first start, matched Zimmerman’s four hits by calling upon a motto from coach Todd Butler that he couldn’t remember completely.
“Everyone was hitting,” Bobbit said. “Coach always talks about ‘A moving bat is a moving bat is a ’ whatever it is, whatever he says. If you swing the bat, good things are going to happen, basically. We just went out there aggressive with nothing to lose and just went out and swung it.”
Bobbit later remembered Butler’s adage: “A moving bat is a dangerous bat.”
Zimmerman became dangerous in perhaps his final start for a while.
After mostly doing largely unnoticed work over the first two games, such as bringing the most out of a pitching staff that hadn’t previously faced opposition batting and providing solid defense, Zimmerman found a chance to shine on Sunday, even if it came in the midst of other offensive heroics.
Zimmerman had two RBI doubles in the fourth inning after singling in the second, then doubled for the third time in the sixth before a five-pitch walk prevented a five-hit day.
“Plays all three games (and) there was not a ball that went to the backstop the entire series with him catching,” Butler said. “He did a fantastic job calling the game, and today he goes 4 for 5 with three doubles. He’s a wonderful young man and it’s good to see him have success like that.”
WSU starter Garrett Brummett earned the win on a predetermined split after allowing an unearned run in four innings. The Shockers’ bullpen didn’t allow a hit over the next four innings and five relievers made their WSU debuts.
The Shockers exorcised harsh feelings over being swept by Pittsburgh to start least season, their first-ever home losses in February.
“This,” Green said, “feels a lot better.”
|C. Green 2b||4||0||0||0||0||1||.077|
|M. Green cf||3||2||2||4||0||0||.300|
E — Lombardo, Geissinger, Bobbit 2, Phillips 2. DP — SIU-Edwardsville 2. LOB — SIU-Edwardsville 8, WSU 10. 2B — Caldwell (2), Verschoore (1), Haddox (1), Kihle (1), Bobbit (1), Zimmerman 3 (3). HR — Gillaspie (2), Green (grand slam) (1). SB — Dearman 2 (3).
|Bednar L,0-1||1 2/3||7||9||6||2||0||31.8|
HBP — Kihle (by Bednar), Green (by Martens). Umpires — home, Mike Lentz; first, Phil Plantz; third, xxx Waggoner. T — . A — .