The Wichita State baseball team returned to Eck Stadium this weekend with mounting questions after a 1-3 start.
After a four-game sweep of North Dakota in their home-opening series — including Sunday’s 16-1 win — the Shockers helped answer some of those questions. Wichita State outscored North Dakota 62-3 in the series.
“This weekend was huge for our confidence,” Wichita State right fielder Garrett Bayliff said. “Get a little five-game win streak going and a lot of confidence going into Hawaii. I think we’re ready.”
Bayliff was alluding to the upcoming four-game series at Hawaii, which begins Thursday. That road trip will be sure to offer more resistance than sweeping North Dakota, but it’s the confidence gained from the thumpings that the Shockers needed.
“Getting four good wins this weekend, it kind of sets us off on the right foot going into Hawaii,” said Kris Gardner, who collected his second win of the season for WSU on Sunday. “We’ve got the bats going, for sure. Hopefully it will kind of carry over into Hawaii.”
WSU’s hitters relieved its pitchers from facing much stress this weekend. Gardner was pitching with a lead after the first inning, and exited after the fifth without allowing an earned run and with WSU ahead 12-1.
After the game, Gardner asked for the run-support tally from the weekend.
“That’s quite a few runs,” Gardner said.
“With run support like that, you can’t really go wrong. A pitcher can’t complain about it. It’s a lot easier. It puts your nerves at ease and makes it easier to throw strikes.”
The Shockers’ catalyst this weekend was junior first baseman Johnny Coy. His five at-bats Sunday produced four hits, two runs and nine RBIs. He tallied 19 RBIs including Saturday’s doubleheader.
“All of those hits wouldn’t have been any RBIs if my teammates weren’t getting on base,” Coy said. “My teammates did a great job getting on and I was fortunate enough to drive them in.”
Coy hit two home runs on Sunday, and went 13-for-20 (.650) in the series with 20 RBIs.
“This whole weekend I’ve tried to concentrate on not pulling out on the ball and hitting the ball up the middle,” Coy said. “Anything inside, I just try to let my hands do the work. That’s what happened. It was on the inner-half and I just let my hands do the work.”
The comfortable lead let coach Gene Stephenson tinker with his lineup, as 17 Shockers received an appearance at the plate. The two errors committed Sunday were the only ones of the weekend.
“We played a number of different people in a number of different positions and our defense was solid all the way through,” Stephenson said. “We did get offensive production from a lot of different people and a lot of quality at-bats when we had people on base.
“I think we feel much better about ourselves and we’re much more confident about what we can do after this,” Stephenson said.
abrhbibbsoavgGetchell cf400000.125Follis ss400001.083Kwak 2b301011.091Bolander 1b410002.071Campbell p/dh402100.286Trygstad c201000.125Bearmon lf300001.214Ross 3b300002.083Beck rf200010.200Means ph100001.000Totals3014127.133WICHITA ST.Hall cf522201.290Harbutz 3b/ss400111.235Bayliff rf333200.478Coy 1b524900.486Gillaspie dh412010.167Lambert lf111020.444Hege c210000.550Parker ss311200.381Davidson 2b120020.154Mucha ph/cf110000.444Halbert ph/ss000010.250Green ph/lf110021.500Knight pr/dh100001.000Rea rf101000.364Arens pr/c100001.250Coughenour ph/2b211000.235Baker ph/3b201000.200Totals3716161695.342
|North Dakota (0-4)|
000100000—1Wichita St. (5-3)20091022x—16
E — Trygstad (1), Arens (1), Parker (1). DP — North Dakota 2, Wichita St. 1. LOB — North Dakota 5, Wichita St. 10. 2B — Campbell 2 (2), Bayliff (4). HR — Coy 2 (2). SB — Hall (5), Bayliff (1). CS — Campbell (1).
iphrerbbsoeraCampbell L, 0-13 1/3911112129.70Johnson2/3200106.75Gagne 1/30113127.00Knoll2/3000000.00Twenge3544339.00Wichita St.Gardner W, 2-05310221.00Vielock2100030.00Elam2000020.00
WP — Gardner. HBP — Rea, Hege.
Umpires — Home, Larry Waggoner; First, Ben Harlow; Third, Bob Homolka. T — 2:33. A — 2,651.