Wichita State Shockers

Shocker bullpen falters late in first loss

Wichita State's starting pitching can match up with most teams in the country, and that was evident in the Shockers' game with Florida Gulf Coast on Friday afternoon at Eck Stadium.

Tim Kelley went toe-to-toe with the Eagles' highly touted prospect, Chris Sale, going six innings and allowing one run and leaving with the lead.

For as proven as WSU's starters are, its bullpen is a question.

Unable to hold a 2-1 lead in the seventh, the Shockers' relief tandem of Logan Hoch and Chance Sossamon gave up six runs in WSU's 7-2 loss.

Hoch and Sossamon gave up six hits and four walks in two innings.

"We had the game under control and our bullpen just didn't do a good job," Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson said. "I think we need to focus on staying within ourselves, throw strikes and use all of our pitches."

Kelley and Sale (six innings, two hits, one earned run) settled into grooves. Kelley struck out four and scattered four hits, while Sale struck out 11.

The key for Kelley was throwing strikes, as Florida Gulf Coast is one of the nation's leaders in drawing walks early this season.

"Tim Kelley was outstanding and I felt like he did a great job today," Stephenson said. "It was disappointing that we couldn't have finished for him."

WSU's approach at the plate was small-ball approach. Preston Springer singled with one out in the second, Cody Lassley doubled and Springer scored on Johnny Coy's groundout.

In the fourth, Will Baez led off with a single, stole second and scored on Lassley's single with two outs.

Florida Gulf Coast scored its early run on a Zach Maxfield home run in the fourth.

Kelley exited in the seventh with runners on first and second and two out. Hoch gave up a single to Stephen Wickens and walked Mikel Alvarez to tie the score.

In the eighth, the Eagles again had the bases loaded after Sossamon relieved Hoch. But Sossamon got out of the jam by striking out the final two batters.

"It's baseball and anything can happen and it usually does," Stephenson said. "We need our bullpen guys to step up and make pitches for us."

The Shockers gave themselves an opportunity in the eighth. Eric Harbutz walked, stole second, then Clint McKeever and Springer walked to load the bases with two outs, but Lassley flew out to center.

To open the ninth, Wickens singled off Sossamon and was sacrificed to second by Alvarez. The next batter, designated hitter Austin Gaines, looked as if he was going to fly out to Kevin Hall in center but Hall bobbled and dropped the ball, and the Eagles had runners on second and third with one out.

After Maxwell walked, Tim Roberson and Mike Reeves both singled to put Florida Gulf Coast up 4-2. Luke Smierciak singled home two more runs.

"We made some mistakes that cost us obviously and they (Florida Gulf Coast) kept fighting," Lassley said. "We need to compete better and have a better day tomorrow."

Florida Gulf Coast ab r h bi avg.

Wickens ss 4 1 3 0 .419

Alvarez 2b 2 0 0 1 .361

Gaines dh 5 1 0 0 .436

Maxfield 1b 2 2 1 1 .406

Roberson 3b 4 1 1 1 .389

Reeves c 5 1 1 2 .387

Smierciak cf 5 1 2 2 .400

Chester rf 3 0 0 0 .343

Guarnaccia lf 2 0 0 0 .000

Mullaney lf 1 0 1 0 .389

Acevedo lf 1 0 0 0 .000

Greene lf 1 0 1 0 .200

Lozada lf 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 35 7 10 7 .375

Wichita State ab r h bi avg.

Hall cf 4 0 0 0 .348

Harbutz 3b 3 0 1 0 .318

Baez 2b 4 1 1 0 .318

McKeever 1b 3 0 0 0 .400

Springer dh 3 1 1 0 .480

Lassley c 4 0 2 1 .706

Coy lf 3 0 0 1 .222

Bayliff lf 1 0 0 0 .200

Grimes ss 2 0 0 0 .222

Bennett ph 1 0 0 0 .313

Jones rf 4 0 0 0 .160

Totals 32 2 5 2 .347

Florida Gulf Coast 000 100 105 — 7

Wichita State 010 100 000 — 2

E — Baez, Hall 2. LOB — Gulf Coast 11, WSU 7. 2B — Reeves (1), Lassley (2), HR — Maxfield (1). S — Alvarez 2. SB — Baez (4), Harbutz (3).

Fla. Gulf Coast IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Sale 6 5 2 2 1 11 1.38

Woodworth W,3-0 3 0 0 0 3 2 0.69

WSU IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Kelley 6ð 4 2 2 2 4 3.00

Hoch Ð 1 0 0 3 0 2.70

Sossamon L,0-1 1ð 5 5 4 1 2 19.6

Muncrief Ð 0 0 0 0 0 6.75

HBP — Wickens (by Kelley), Chester (by Sossamon). PB — Reeves, Lassley. Umpires — home, Larry Wagoner; first; Travis Olson; third, Phil Plantz. T — 2:50. A — 2,958.

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