Wichita State faced a bleak outlook going into the bottom of the ninth Friday night against Long Beach State, trailing by five runs after the Dirtbags scored two in the top of the inning.
But a pitching change gave WSU new life, and the Shockers (14-10) scrapped for six runs in the inning and pulling out an 8-7 victory.
“I never thought we were out of it, but when we gave up the two runs in the ninth, that really made it difficult,” Shockers coach Gene Stephenson said. “We’re not going to get that many opportunities against a team like that, but we had some really good at-bats in the ninth inning.
“I can’t explain anything, other than I know our guys never gave up.”
Shortstop Dayne Parker started and closed the rally, finishing with four hits on the night.
“From the fifth inning, I knew we just needed to get a couple to get us going,” Parker said. “We just go from there.”
Long Beach pitchers Matt Anderson and Kyle Friedrichs limited WSU to just two runs through eight innings. Righty Josh Frye, with a 1.04 ERA, entered in the ninth.
Parker doubled and took third on an error. Garrett Bayliff batted for Ryan Hege and walked. Josh Halbert was safe on an error, scoring Parker. Taylor Doggett then singled sharply to right, scoring Bayliff and Halbert, and the score was 7-5. Kevin Hall forced Doggett at second, then Don Lambert singled up the middle.
“We scratched, we clawed, we did everything we could to get those six runs across the board,” Lambert said.
Johnny Coy grounded to short, but Lambert knocked the ball loose on the play at second, loading the bases.
“As soon as I saw that ball pop out of the glove, I said, ‘I’m safe,’ ” Lambert said.
Casey Gillaspie then walked, scoring Hall, but he was forced at second on Aaron Rea’s grounder. However, Rea beat the throw to first. Parker grounded slowly to third, but beat the throw to first, as pinch runner Tyler Coughenour scored the winning run.
“Two weeks ago, that game ends 7-2,” Lambert said. “We’ve come so far. That’s the first game that I can honestly say that the pitchers have gotten some support from us.”
Stephenson said a close game was what he expected against Long Beach (6-14).
“These guys have played the very best in the country, and the games they’ve lost have been barn-burners all the way to the end,” Stephenson said.
|LONG BEACH STATE|
abrhbibbsoavgMcNeil 2b512101.239Duffy ss502200.203Avila 3b310002.266Patron dh502102.309Metzger cf422010.246Prigatano rf512102.281Kim lf110000.154Bekakis lf202000.257Yamaguchi 1b311121.250Hoime c400001.235Totals37713639WICHITA STATEDoggett lf501201.417Hall cf511001.289Lambert rf412011.353Coy 1b400012.352Coughenour pr010000.270Gillaspie dh400111.227Rea 3b512101.400Parker ss524100.324Hege c301101.246Bayliff ph010010.327Halbert 2b412201.238Totals39813849
E — McNeil (4), Duffy (4), Metzger (1); Hege (3). LOB — Long Beach State 11, WSU 9. 2B — Duffy (1), Metzger (2), Bekakis (1), Rea (1), Parker 2 (4), Hege (5). SB — Avila 2 (4); Lambert (5). CS — McNeil (2), Kim (1); Hall (3). S — Hoime (4).
|Long Beach State|
iphrerbbsoeraAnderson6 1/3722272.70Friedrichs1 2/3100021.76Frye L, 1-22/3563203.85Wichita StateSmith6 2/3955162.97LaBrie2222136.48Mateychick W, 1-01/32001016.20
HBP — by Smith (Kim 2, Avila) by LaBrie (Avila). BK — Friedrichs (1). PB — Hege (3).
Umpires — Home, Greg Mudd; first, Ken McQueen; third, Terry Harrison. T — 3:11. A —2,924.