By the end of the first inning Wednesday night, Wichita State had equaled its entire hit total from Tuesday’s loss to South Alabama.
The Shockers scored four runs in the inning, erasing a 3-0 South Alabama lead, and went on to defeat the Jaguars 9-4.
The early strike was important, Shockers coach Gene Stephenson said.
“It eased the pressure quite a bit – especially after giving up three in the top of the first,” he said.
WSU (15-13) had 13 hits – six for extra bases – including Johnny Coy’s team-leading fifth homer of the season. He sent a 1-0 pitch to deep right-center field for a solo shot in the second inning.
The Shockers pulled away with a three-run eighth, capped by Casey Gillaspie’s triple that escaped a diving attempt by South Alabama left fielder Nick Zaharion and rolled to the wall. This enabled Don Lambert and Coy to score the second and third runs of the inning.
Those runs gained importance in the top of the ninth when WSU reliever Cale Elam gave up two singles and a walk after two were out, loading the bases. But Elam got Zaharion to hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice, saving the victory for starter Tobin Mateychick (2-0).
Stephenson, critical of his team for not competing in Tuesday’s 7-3 loss, said it was far from perfect.
“We did a good job all night long … until the ninth inning,” he said. “Then, three times in a row, we had 0-2 and give up a base hit or a hot shot. That’s disappointing.
“But we competed much better at the plate, and the results show that.”
The game started inauspiciously when Mateychick walked leadoff man Nolan Earley on four pitches and hit Hunt Griffith with a pitch. Jordan Patterson’s single loaded the bases, then Mateychick threw the ball past first baseman Gillaspie on a pickoff attempt, allowing Earley and Griffith to score. Patterson scored on Whitt Dorsey’s sacrifice fly, and the Jaguars had a 3-0 lead.
WSU prevented a recurrence of Tuesday’s nightmare in its half of the first. Taylor Doggett doubled off Jaguars starter Andrew Fonzi (0-3), took third on Dayne Parker’s flyout and scored on Coy’s single. Gillaspie singled, and one out later, Micah Green doubled, scoring Coy. Tyler Coughenour then singled in Gillaspie and Green, and the Shockers had a lead they would not surrender.
Green’s two doubles were a welcome sight, but Stephenson was also critical for his missing a hit-and-run and not stealing when given the sign.
“We need him to be the thoroughbred that he is, and not some plowhorse,” Stephenson said of Green. “We need him to play with more reckless abandon, and to have him go after people and do it.”
abrhbibbsoavgEarley rf410012.295Griffith 2b412000.257Patterson cf-p411010.300Dorsey dh311100.320Bray cf101000.211Zaharion lf502102.373Dalken 3b200012.321Hook 1b300010.176Files c300011.000Odom ss400001.190Totals3347258WICHITA STATEDoggett lf423000.400Lambert ph-lf111000.325Parker ss300100.329Coy dh332311.359Gillaspie 1b412211.250Rea 3b501001.273Green rf412100.258Coughenour 2b301211.250Baker c211010.175Hall cf300001.278Totals32913945
E — Dalken (6), Mateychick (1). LOB — USA 10, WSU 8. 2B — Griffith (2), Dorsey (6), Doggett 2 (4), Green 2 (4). 3B — Gillaspie (1). HR — Coy (5). SB — Lambert 2 (7), Coughenour (4). CS — Parker, Rea. S — Hall (4). SF — Dorsey (1), Parker (4), Coy (4).
iphrerbbsoeraFonzi L,0-32/3544009.64Reese2311123.38Bailey 4 2/3321237.04Patterson2/3222104.50Wichita St.Mateychick W,2-04231336.35Minnis3311035.24Elam S,62200220.50
HBP — by Mateychick (Griffith, Dalken), by Fonzi (Baker), by Baily (Parker).
Balk — Bailey. Umpires — home, Larry Waggoner; first, Phil Plantz; third, Randy Wetzel.
T — 2:32. A — 2,766.