Wichita State Shockers

Micah Green’s improvement mirrors Wichita State’s surge

Micah Green has long been a talented athlete learning to play baseball.

There are signs his development may be turning a corner from potential to production for Wichita State. Green, a redshirt sophomore from Aurora, Colo., raised his average to .326 by going 3 for 5 in Tuesday’s 13-2 win at Nebraska. After platooning in left field against left-handed pitchers much of the season, his bat is making him a fixture in the lineup as the Shockers (33-22, 10-8 Missouri Valley Conference) play at Creighton (21-26, 5-12) beginning tonight.

Green is 18 for 34 (.529) in his past 10 games to give WSU a needed offensive boost. On Tuesday, he doubled twice and drove in three runs. The consistent playing time, against both right-handers and lefties, makes all the difference.

“The main thing is playing every day and seeing a lot of pitching,” Green said. “I think

Green didn’t take a traditional route to college baseball. Part of a military family, he grew up in Saudi Arabia until moving to Texas in fourth grade. He moved to Colorado as a freshman in high school. Baseball was played for fun as a youngster. In high school, he wasn’t asked to steal bases. He came to WSU needing to learn base-running and the fundamentals of defense.

Those shortcomings still crop up. A Nebraska pitcher picked him off first base in the fifth inning on Tuesday after he missed a steal sign.

“In high school, everything was station to station because we had a lot of real good hitters” he said. “They didn’t give us the steal sign. I wasn’t a real good defender. I didn’t have a good arm.”

Better pitch selection is keying Green’s hitting. He has four strikeouts in the past 10 games.

“It’s confidence,” WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. “He’s not chasing after every sloppy pitch he sees, because he’s confident he can hit it. He’s making great adjustments and he’s doing a good job believing in himself.”

Most of the Shockers looked confident on Tuesday when they started a four-game road trip by pounding out 19 hits at Hawks Field. The win moved WSU to a season-high 11 games over .500 and boosted its power rating (RPI) to No. 41. WSU plays three games with last-place Creighton needing to win to help its NCAA at-large resume. The Shockers can finish as high as second in the MVC. Despite those stakes, the Shockers played relaxed at Nebraska in front of a crowd of 4,607. Creighton officials are expecting crowds of more than 10,000 for tonight and Friday fueled by promotions for Special Olympics and military appreciation night.

“They’re young and they don’t know any better,” Stephenson said. “We’re trying to mature, slowly, and hope that we can play well every day. That’s what you’re going to have to do if you’re going to go anywhere.”