Wichita State Shockers

WSU baseball has three times the fun in series sweep

Wichita State outfielder Travis Young attempts a diving catch against Valparaiso during Sunday's game in Eck Stadium. Young later had the game-winning hit for WSU.
Wichita State outfielder Travis Young attempts a diving catch against Valparaiso during Sunday's game in Eck Stadium. Young later had the game-winning hit for WSU. Eagle correspondent

It’s a good sign for the Shockers when helmets, bats, batting gloves and water bottles are strewn about near Wichita State’s dugout after a baseball game. It’s even better when WSU’s players are similarly scattered.

The Shockers got plenty of practice at both during and after Sunday’s 4-3 win over Valparaiso at Eck Stadium, which gave them a weekend series sweep and bumped their record to 14-13.

The game-winning ninth-inning rally was preceded by WSU’s first triple play since 2002, which prompted a frenzied reaction from players spilling from the first-base dugout.

The second celebration happened minutes later as Travis Young notched his second game-ending hit of the series, a single to right field that scored Noah Croft from third base. WSU’s excitement left pieces of equipment in its wake as players tossed and dropped them on the way to mob Young.

“The confidence we had as a team after that (triple play), and especially with how well our defense has been playing, that just carried over into the last inning,” Young said. “You’ve got three guys on, and now we’ve got three chances to score.”

WSU’s pitchers escaped peril all weekend, but the route out of the situation the Shockers faced in the top of the ninth probably wasn’t forecast to be so tidy. Valparaiso had a double and a hit batter to start the inning, setting up an apparent bunting situation for catcher Jake Hanson.

Valparaiso’s cleanup hitter, did, in fact, square to bunt. But he quickly pulled back and swung, hitting a one-hop grounder to third baseman Alec Bohm, who fielded the ball a half-step away from the bag.

After the easy first out came a throw to second, which easily beat Nate Palace. Trey Vickers’ quick release reached the outstretched glove of Greyson Jenista at first base just before Hanson’s foot came down.

“I’ve never seen that triple play in all my years,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “I’ve seen line-drives triple plays, but not a groundball. Vickers really threw hard to first base to get the third out. We made some great defensive plays today and that was one big, huge play.”

The Shockers were saved frequently by defensive gems, including a running catch by left fielder Jacob Katzfey in the fifth inning to rob a potential hit. In the eighth, center fielder Alex Jackson ran down a fly ball in the gap that would have scored the go-ahead run.

The triple play was the turning point, though, and WSU seemed to know it at the time. Bohm and pitcher Clayton McGinness, who pitched the ninth, nearly fell over after a jumping shoulder bump.

Bohm’s excitement in the moment was contradictory to his analytical description of the play following the win.

“I knew we had a lot of time because the ball was hit hard at me,” Bohm said. “Just step, touch the base, get it to Trey. He did the rest.”

Further heroics came in the bottom of the ninth, when the first three WSU batters reached via a single, hit batter and a walk. Jacob Katzfey struck out for the first out, but it didn’t diminish the Shockers’ confidence.

Young, who singled in the tying run in the seventh, worked a 2-1 count against right-hander Easton Rhodehouse. Young’s deep fly ball to right was allowed to drop by Giovanni Garbella, who wouldn’t have had a play at the plate.

Young didn’t have a walkoff hit with WSU prior to this series.

“I don’t mind (those situations),” Young said. “It’s fun afterward, and everybody wants to be that guy. But there was no pressure there, because I knew that if I didn’t get the job done, Greyson (Jenista) was going to. There was no pressure there at all.”

Valparaiso

Wichita State

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Stea cf

5

2

3

0

Katzfey lf

2

0

0

0

Jacob ss

3

1

1

0

Young rf

4

0

2

2

Palace 1b

4

0

1

1

Jenista 1b

4

1

2

1

Hanson c

4

0

2

2

Bohm 3b

4

0

0

0

Barczi dh

3

0

0

0

Jackson cf

4

0

2

0

Shaikin 3b

3

0

0

0

Vickers ss

4

0

0

0

Kapers 2b

3

0

1

0

Troutwine c

3

1

1

0

Donohue lf

2

0

0

0

Croft ph

1

1

1

0

Dent lf

1

0

0

0

Ritter dh

1

0

0

0

Garbella rf

4

0

0

0

DeBackr ph

0

0

0

0

Boyer 2b

3

1

2

1

Totals

32

3

8

3

Totals

30

4

10

4

Valparaiso

100

000

200

3 8 1

Wichita St.

011

000

101

4 10 0

One out when winning run scored.

E: Shaikin. TP: WSU. DP: Valparaiso 4. LOB: Valparaiso 10, WSU 6. 2B: Hanson 2, Jacob. HR: Jenista. SB: Stea 2, Jacob. S: Dent, Young.

Valparaiso

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Mommersteeg

2

3

1

1

1

0

Larson

2

1

1

1

1

1

Joslyn

 2/3

1

0

0

0

1

VanLanen

1 1/3

0

0

0

0

1

Foreman

 1/3

2

1

1

0

1

Quigley

1 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

Rhodehouse L,2-3

 1/3

2

1

1

1

1

Wichita State

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Tyler

5

4

1

1

1

4

Sanburn

1

1

0

0

1

2

Jones

 2/3

2

2

2

2

2

Biechler

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

Evans

1

1

0

0

0

0

McGinness W,1-0

1

0

0

0

0

0

WP: Jones. HBP: Jacob (by Tyler), Katzfey 3 (by Mommersteeg, Joslyn, Foreman), Kapers, Palace (by Evans), DeBacker (by Roadhouse). PB: Troutwine, Hanson. T: 3:12. A: 2,454.

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