Wichita State Shockers

A look at Wichita State baseball’s success in the Valley

Shocker catcher Doug Mirabelli holds up the ball after tagging out Creighton’s Steve Bruns in the 12th inning of a 1991 College World Series game. The out, on a throw from center fielder Jim Audley, preserved WSU’s 4-3 victory.
Shocker catcher Doug Mirabelli holds up the ball after tagging out Creighton’s Steve Bruns in the 12th inning of a 1991 College World Series game. The out, on a throw from center fielder Jim Audley, preserved WSU’s 4-3 victory. Courtesy photo

Wichita State plays its final Missouri Valley Conference baseball games this week.

The Shockers leave as the MVC’s most prominent baseball school. Its 1989 College World Series is the lone title won by an MVC member and its 20 MVC titles and 17 MVC Tournament titles are the most by any member.

Wichita State’s top 10 memories in MVC competition:

1. Wichita State vs. Creighton, 1991 College World Series

The Shockers and the Bluejays put MVC baseball on the biggest stage twice. The first meeting produced one of Omaha’s greatest games, a 3-2 Shocker win in 12 innings in front of a then-record crowd of 18,206.

WSU won a rematch three days later, 11-3, to advance to the title game. LSU defeated the Shockers 6-3.

WSU went 8-0 against the Bluejays, sweeping past a team that finished sixth in the Baseball America poll and produced six draft choices that season.

2. Shockers go 26-1 in MVC in 1998

The 1998 Shockers mashed their way to a .963 winning percentage, its best under former coach Gene Stephenson. They averaged 11.4 runs in MVC play and scored 10 or more in 18 of the 27 games.

Nobody mashed more than first baseman Pat Magness, who homered three times in a 19-5 win at Creighton. That series started with WSU rallying from a 9-0 deficit to win 13-12.

Nothing changed in the tournament. WSU outscored four opponents 59-20 to win in Evansville.

3. Creighton-Wichita State doubleheader in 2007 MVC Tournament

No. 12 Wichita State and No. 25 Creighton spent a memorable — and long — day together to decide the championship in Springfield, Mo.

The Shockers won the first game 2-1 with pitcher Aaron Shafer returning from injury to limit the Bluejays to two hits over five innings.

The Bluejays won the title 10-9 in 12 innings in a game that stretched from Saturday into Sunday morning after a rain delay.

Creighton led 6-1 in the eighth inning. WSU tied it 6-all in the ninth. WSU went up 9-6 in the 11th. Creighton tied it 9-all and won it in the 12th.

4. Bryan Oelkers strikes out 15 at Indiana State

The Shockers hadn’t yet wrestled control of the MVC away from Southern Illinois and Indiana State in 1982.

Indiana State, the East Division champion, hosted the MVC Tournament. Wichita State won the West.

The Shockers defeated defending champion SIU 9-6 in the opener.

Oelkers struck out 15 Sycamores, No. 2 on WSU’s single-game list, in a 13-1 win the next day. WSU dispatched SIU 12-8 to win the tournament on the way to its first College World Series appearance.

5. Drew Moffitt bashes away in 2004 MVC Tournament

The Shockers needed several heroics to recover from a first-round loss and win four straight in Springfield.

Nobody did more than Moffitt, who homered three times and set a Shocker record with 10 RBIs in a 15-1 win over Missouri State. He homered his first two at-bats and then walked. He hit a grand slam in the fifth inning.

“This is by far the best offensive performance we’ve ever had,” Stephenson said. “And we’ve had some good ones.”

6. Conor Gillaspie in 2008 MVC Tournament vs. Missouri State

Gillaspie battered Missouri State for 10 RBIs, six runs and three home runs in two tournament games at Eck Stadium in 2008. He went 7 for 9 in two games against the Bears, won 20-3 and 12-10 by the Shockers.

7. Mike Drumright strikes out 17 at Illinois State

Drumright set WSU’s record with 17 strikeouts in a 3-2 regular-season win in 1994. He pitched nine innings of the 12-inning game, which stretched into two days because of a rain delay.

Drumright allowed seven hits and didn’t walk a batter.

8. Darren Dreifort dominates Indiana State

Wichita State’s best two-way star enjoyed numerous double-duty big games.

In the 1993 MVC Tournament, he homered twice in a 22-9 win over Indiana State in the title game. He came in as pitcher with the game tied 8-all and struck out nine of the 17 batters he faced.

9. David Sanders shuts out Southern Illinois

In 2003, WSU expected big things from pitcher David Sanders. He struggled most of the season and didn’t make the traveling squad for a late-season trip.

WSU needed him in the MVC Tournament and he came up big after 17 days off. Sanders, a lefty, struck out 12 in a four-hitter in a 3-0 win over SIU in the title game.

10. Mike Brandley needs one more out

Shocker sophomore Mike Brandley was one out away from a no-hitter at Southern Illinois in 1993. He settled for a one-hitter after allowing a double and striking out the final batter in a 7-0 win.

Paul Suellentrop