Wichita State can't take the Missouri Valley Conference lead, but it refuses to fall too far back.
The Shockers defeated first-place Creighton 12-3 on Sunday at Eck Stadium to win the series 2-1. That wrapped up a day in which almost everything went perfectly for WSU.
The Shockers (30-22, 9-6 MVC) took over second place and their two closest competitors — Missouri State and Southern Illinois — lost. WSU trails Creighton (32-12, 10-5) by one game with six to play.
"We had good opportunities, and made the most of them with two outs, a lot of times," WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. "We still have a chance to win this league because of them."
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WSU's eight two-out RBIs only start to tell the story offensively. The Shockers totaled 11 hits, walked 10 times and the bottom two hitters in the order drove in six runs.
Creighton gave up a season-high 12 runs, falling behind 10-0 in the fourth inning and clawing to avoid the run-rule the rest of the game.
"The biggest disappointment is how we played rather than the result," Creighton coach Ed Servais said.
The walks will sting Servais the most. Starter Greg Hellhake walked Tyler Grimes to start the game and set the pace. Grimes scored to start a two-run first inning.
The walks undid Hellhake in the third inning. He walked the first three batters and Preston Springer drove in a run with a fielder's choice. Hellhake struck out Tyler Coughenour for the second out, then walked Don Lambert to reload the bases.
A month ago, that might have ended the damage with the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters due up. But Micah Green and Walker Davidson are no longer easy outs. Green smacked an 0-2 pitch off Hellhake's shin to drive in Chris O'Brien. Davidson followed with a single up the middle on the first pitch to score Springer and Lambert for a 6-0 lead.
"They've both been working really hard at being more competitive at the plate and staying on balls better," Stephenson said. "That's great progress."
In the fourth, reliever Jack VanLeur got two outs and had O'Brien standing at first base.
Springer doubled him in. Two more walks loaded the bases for Green. His double to right field cleared the bases and put the Shockers up 10-0.
Green turned into a run producer the past week. He drove in seven, including a grand slam, in a win at Southern Illinois. Against Creighton, he drove in six.
"With runners in scoring position, I have more of a hunger to hit the ball," he said. "It looked like a beach ball coming at me."
WSU starter Josh Smith kept Creighton scoreless until giving up a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Chance Sossamon and Cale Elam combined for four hitless, scoreless innings to finish off the series victory.