Hosting Connecticut this weekend at Eck Stadium was billed as a test to see if the Wichita State baseball team was ready to challenge for a title in its first season in the American Athletic Conference.
Now the Shockers will try to salvage the series in Sunday's 1 p.m. finale after losing Friday's doubleheader, as Connecticut took down WSU's top two pitchers in 7-4 and 9-4 victories.
WSU (23-9) fell to 3-5 in conference play and firmly in sixth place in the AAC standings, three games behind leader ECU (5-2) in the loss column. Connecticut (19-10-1) improved to 5-3 in AAC play. Both teams were ranked in the top 25 of the latest RPI report.
The two teams were scoreless after four innings in the first game, before UConn broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning to take a 6-0 lead. WSU responded with two runs in the bottom-half of the inning on a Trey Vickers' RBI single and a Hunter Gibson RBI groundout.
The Shockers would gain another run back in the bottom of the seventh, as Luke Ritter's solo home run trimmed Connecticut's lead to 6-3. WSU had a chance to rally in the ninth, trailing 7-4, with Noah Croft and Dayton Dugas on the corners with no outs, but Paxton Wallace grounded into a double play. Jordan Boyer struck out swinging to end the game.
Greyson Jenista and Alec Bohm both finished with two hits, while Codi Heuer (5-2) took just his second loss on the mound this season after allowing three earned runs and striking out six in 5-plus innings.
In the second game, Connecticut jumped on freshman starter Liam Eddy like no other team has this season. Eddy entered the game with a 6-1 record and 1.94 earned run average, but exited in the fourth inning after allowing eight hits, two walks, two hit batters, and seven earned runs.
UConn scored five runs in the first inning and its lead never came into doubt after that, as the Huskies tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning to establish an 8-2 lead. Connecticut finished with 15 hits, as it hit .450 (9 for 20) with runners on and delivered five hits with runners in scoring position, compared to just one for WSU.
No Shocker finished with more than one hit in the nightcap, as Vickers saw his 7-game hitting streak come to an end. Preston Minor threw two scoreless innings of relief to close out the game for WSU.