Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State baseball readies for Illinois State

Wichita State’s baseball team will try to stay near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings with road series the next two weekends.

The Shockers begin a three-game series at Illinois State today and, after a home-and-home series with Kansas beginning Tuesday in Lawrence, hit the road again for three games at Evansville beginning April 13.

Winning two of three from Southern Illinois last weekend has the Shockers (17-14) in second place in the Missouri Valley, a game behind Missouri State.

The Shockers are coming off their longest stretch of off days this season. Tuesday’s rainout at Oklahoma State created a four-day stretch between games and allows WSU the ability to shuffle its pitching assignments for the weekend series.

Left-hander Josh Smith will make his normal start today, followed by right-hander Mitch Mormann on Saturday. WSU has not announced a Sunday starter. Options would be freshman left-hander Kris Gardner (3-1, 3.38 ERA), Tuesday’s scheduled starter at OSU, or freshman right-hander A.J. Ladwig (2-1, 2.59), who was roughed up in his last start against Southern Illinois (seven hits, five runs in 3 2/3 innings).

Illinois State (18-8, 1-2) was picked to finish fifth in the Missouri Valley. The Redbirds lost two of three at Indiana State last weekend but own wins over Big Ten programs Iowa and Michigan.

Illinois State has amassed good offensive numbers so far, averaging eight runs with outfielder Ty Wiesemeyer leading the way with a .366 batting average.