WSU's Tyler Grimes homered in the first inning to give the Shockers a 1-0 lead. He drove in the tying and winning runs in the 11th.Score: Wichita State 7, Kansas State 6 (11)
Records: WSU 33-24, KSU 31-21
Bottom line: The Shockers end their non-conference and home schedule on a high. What does that mean for the important games remaining? Impossible to tell. Momentum hasn’t existed for WSU since late April, when it won four of five games and six of eight. Since then, WSU is 6-6. It needs a four-game winning streak to give itself a chance to win the MVC title. WSU hasn’t won four in a row since February. Can a dramatic win such as Tuesday’s spark the Shockers? It’s possible. Counting on it, however, seems desperate. It’s a good start to the week and a good way to wrap up in front of the home fans. Beyond that, it’s dangerous to speculate.
Mid-week marvels: SS Tyler Grimes started and ended the scoring for the Shockers. His first-inning home run gave WSU a lead. His 11th-inning single drove in the tying and winning runs. Grimes hasn’t committed an error in five games. Freshman C Bob Arens stepped in as Chris O’Brien’s replacement and played with composure. He went 2 for 3 in his first action since May 4 and his first official at-bat since April 1. Pitching coach Brent Kemnitz was pleased with the way he handled the pitchers. A solid debut for the player who may be WSU’s starter next season. LF Micah Green went 3 for 4, improving his average to .400 over the past 10 games. Starter Zach Beringer gave up one run in five innings. Closer Cale Elam didn’t allow a hit in 2 2/3 innings.
Mid-week woes: Relievers Aaron LaBrie and Albert Minnis let the Wildcats back in the game after Beringer left. Minnis faced two batters and walked both to score a run. 3B Tyler Coughenour went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. CF Kevin Hall went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts. The umpires took heat from all sides. Elam struck out K-State’s Nick Martini on two strikes that appeared to be well out of the zone. Martini’s protest usually draws an ejection. K-State players and coaches also raised heck when Don Lambert was ruled safe on a steal of second in the 11th. WSU coaches didn’t like a balk call on Beringer that handed the Wildcats a run.
What’s next: WSU heads to Peoria to play Bradley in an MVC series beginning Thursday. The Shockers need to sweep while hoping Creighton and Missouri State don’t sweep each other.