Wednesday’s box score
WSU 8, Evansville 6
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DP — WSU 2, Evansville. LOB — WSU 8, Evansville 4. 2B — Simpson 2 (14). 3B — Simpson (2). HR — Parker (5), Showers (4), Pollock (5). S — Kihle, Kirk. SB — Kihle (10).
|Ashford W,2-3||1 1/3||0||0||0||0||1||4.46|
WP — Isom. HBP — Perry (by Ashford). Umpires — home, Scott Behn; first, Wayne Harris; third Bret Bruington. T — 2:39. A — NA.
Nothing on his mind
Wichita State coach Todd Butler describes Chase Simpson as a thinker.
“He likes to think about the game a lot, and sometimes you just need to play the game,” Butler said.
Simpson uncluttered his mind on Wednesday for two doubles, a single and a triple, driving in three runs with four hits. He focused on timing up the pitcher and let everything else unfold naturally.
“When I’m usually at my best is when I’m not thinking about anything,” he said. “Everything fell into place. I just focus on one thing — simplify it.”
Simpson overpowered the baseball when he doubled in the second and tripled in the fourth. In the seventh, he snuck a line drive inches over the glove of leaping shortstop Shain Showers to double in two runs.
“I hit it and it looked like it was going right at him,” Simpson said. “Then, luckily, it rose right over his glove.”
Simpson went 0 for 4 on Tuesday striking out three times in WSU’s 6-0 loss to Illinois State. On Wednesday, the Shockers needed his pop to pick up for Gillaspie, who is 0 for 6 with four walks in the tournament.
“It looked like he went up there pretty free and just let it all hang out,” second baseman Dayne Parker said. “That’s his problem, sometimes — he gets too worrying a little bit and thinking about his swing.”
On the bubble
Evansville entered the MVC Tournament with shaky NCAA at-large credentials despite its regular-season championship. It entered the week No. 59 in the power rankings (RPI) and slipped to No. 65 after losing to WSU.
“Hopefully the regular-season championship for the sixth-ranked conference in the country is good enough for our resume,” Aces coach Wes Carroll said. “But we were in control of our destiny, and to go 0-2 in the tournament is tough to handle. We have to be ready if we hear our name called on Monday.”
WSU starter A.J. Ladwig’s ERA rose from 1.11 to 1.54, second among starters in WSU’s record book. Shane Dennis (1994) holds the lowest mark for a starter, 1.35. John Tetuan (2002) is third at 1.72. WSU recorded a 30-win season for the 37th straight season. It needs one more win to pass the 2009 team (30-27) with the fewest wins since former coach Gene Stephenson revived the program in 1978. WSU will throw freshman Sam Tewes in Thursday’s first game. Butler declined to commit to a starter should the Shockers advance to a second game. Lefty Kris Gardner, who is 2-4 with a 5.09 ERA, is the likely choice. He has started eight games.