News Columns & Blogs

WSU-Bradley: Series summary

Scores: Wichita State 8, Bradley 6 -  WSU5, BU 1 – WSU 1, BU 0

Records: WSU 36-24, 14-7; BU 22-30, 4-17

Bottom line: WSU swept its first MVC series of the season, only to fall short of the MVC title. The Shockers finished second, one game behind Creighton. Where did the Shockers lose the MVC title? Two games stand out – an 8-7 loss at Missouri State (WSU led 7-4 in the seventh inning and a 12-11 loss at home to Evansville (WSU led 8-3 entering the fifth). The Shockers take a five-game win streak (longest since a 7-0 start) into the MVC Tournament. The Shockers play Evansville at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in Omaha.

Weekend wonders: WSU pitchers gave the Shockers a chance this weekend. Brian Flynn and Josh Smith turned in complete games and WSU swept a Saturday doubleheader. Smith is on an upward trend in recent starts. Flynn got back on track. Both will need to be sharp again this week. C Chris O’Brien drove in four runs in the series and extended his hitting streak to 24 games. WSU’s defense continues to play well. The Shockers committed two errors at Bradley, both by pitchers. That’s eight straight games of no more than one error (two errorless). It is WSU’s best stretch since early in the season. 1B Johnny Coy banged his thumb making a tag for the final out on Saturday. Coach Gene Stephenson said Coy’s thumb is fine.

Weekend woes: WSU’s offense cooled off after saving the Shockers in the opener. SS Tyler Grimes went 2 for 11 with three strikeouts in the series. CF Kevin Hall went 3 for 12 with four strikeouts. 3B Tyler Coughenour went 0 for 12 with three strikeouts. LH Charlie Lowell lasted a mere three innings on Friday. That may turn out to be a plus, since Lowell will start again on Tuesday and might be needed later in the tournament. He threw 85 pitches and that might get him a few more this week.

Around the MVC: Missouri State folded up in Omaha and dropped from title contention to the No. 4 seed. Creighton held the Bears to four runs on 18 hits (two for extra bases) in a sweep. The Bluejays drew two crowds of 8,000-plus and one more than 6,000. Should CU and MSU win Tuesday, they meet again on Wednesday.

What’s next: WSU plays Evansville at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday at TD Ameritrade Park.