With Wichita State set to begin Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend, Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to South Alabama was probably the last thing Shockers coach Gene Stephenson wanted to see.
“I’m totally convinced that we did not compete very well,” Stephenson said after the Shockers’ third straight loss. “I’m totally convinced that we did not play well — in the field, on the mound and at the plate.
“And, if we don’t change it and change it now, and get serious about it and figure it out, there’s going to be a lot of long days and a lot of tough days.”
The Shockers (14-13) were held to five hits by four South Alabama pitchers. The Jaguars (10-14) pounded out 12 hits – seven from their 3-4-5 hitters – and pulled away with five runs in the final three innings.
“They compete,” Stephenson said. “It’s about competing, and that’s all. You must anticipate what’s going to happen. We made a lot of silly mistakes.”
Sophomore center fielder Jordan Patterson led the South Alabama attack, homering in the first, doubling in the fourth and singling in the eighth.
After Patterson’s homer, WSU starter Kris Gardner (3-1) settled down, getting a double play in the second and retiring South Alabama in order during the third, fifth and sixth innings. But when he gave up a leadoff single to designated hitter Whitt Dorsey opening the seventh, he was relieved by T.J. McGreevy, who was returning from injury and making his first appearance since March 10 against Tulane.
McGreevy gave up a single, double and sacrifice fly for two South Alabama runs, breaking a 2-2 tie. Foster Vielock entered in the seventh and gave up two more runs and three hits.
Meanwhile, Shocker hitters were finding tough going against South Alabama starter Dillon Buhrkuhl (1-3), who entered the game with a 7.85 ERA. Buhrkuhl surrendered two runs and four hits in six innings, but kept WSU scoreless after the first inning.
In the first, Garrett Bayliff and Kevin Hall had back-to-back singles, and Bayliff scored on Don Lambert’s groundout. Johnny Coy’s grounder to second scored Hall for a 2-1 lead. That would be all WSU would get until the eighth, when Lambert walked, moved to second on Coy’s single, took third on Dayne Parker’s flyout and scored on a wild pitch by the Jaguars’ Jaime Dennis. However, South Alabama escaped when Aaron Rea grounded out, ending the inning.
The Shockers and Jaguars will meet again tonight at 6:30 in the finale of the two-game series, WSU’s final tuneup before Southern Illinois comes to Eck Stadium for games Friday, Saturday and Sunday to open Valley play.
“We’ll see what these guys are made of,” Stephenson said. “I don’t know. It’s frustrating, but we’re not giving up.”
abrhbibbsoavgBray rf300000.181Earley ph-rf200000.289Mitchell c511002.258Patterson cf423201.319Dorsey dh512100.325Zaharion lf312000.384Dalken 3b401101.316Hook 1b300101.170Griffith 2b412000.282Odom ss411001.194Totals37712506WICHITA STATEBayliff rf211000.355Mucha lf000010.273Doggett ph-lf100010.366Hall cf511003.287Lambert lf-rf110121.316Coy 1b301110.350Gillaspie dh201011.238Green ph100001.222Parker ss401000.341Baker 3b300001.158Rea ph-3b100000.286Arens c300000.154Hege ph100000.235Halbert 2b200000.214Coughenour ph-2b200001.244Totals3135268
E — Coy (2). DP — WSU 2. LOB — USA 6, WSU 8. 2B — Patterson (8), Dorsey (5), Dalken (4), Gillaspie (4). 3B — Mitchell (1). HR — Patterson (5). SB — Early (3), Odom (2), Mucha (2). S — Lambert (2). SF — Hook (2).
iphrerbbsoeraBuhrkuhl W,1-36421456.29Traylor1 1/3111124.70Dennis1/3000003.80Bartsch S,31 1/3000113.24Wichita StateGardner L,3-16633043.38McGreevy1 1/3322005.52Vielock1 2/3320021.32
HBP — by Vielock (Zaharion, Patterson).
WP — Dennis, Gardner. PB — Mitchell. Umpires — home, Doug McClure; first, Randy Wetzel; third, Greg Mudd.
T — 2:21. A — 2,644.