Wichita State Shockers

Chase Williams’ complete game lifts Wichita State into rematch with Bears

Wichita State's Chase Williams pitches against Southern Illinois in the second inning Friday afternoon during the MVC Tournament at Eck Stadium.
Wichita State's Chase Williams pitches against Southern Illinois in the second inning Friday afternoon during the MVC Tournament at Eck Stadium. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita State pitcher Chase Williams struck out the last batter of the game with a changeup, highlighting the progress of the pitching staff over the past four months in one motion.

Up until three weeks ago, Williams never considered throwing changeups in a game. That pitch finished off WSU’s first complete game of the season, an accomplishment nobody pegged for Willliams in February.

The fourth-seeded Shockers defeated eighth-seeded Southern Illinois 15-1 on Friday afternoon in the rain-delayed Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. WSU plays top-seeded Missouri State later Friday night, needing to beat the Bears twice — the second game would be Saturday afternoon — to advance to Saturday’s title game.

Williams’ four-hitter gave the Shockers (26-32) exactly what they needed. His 117-pitch effort, in which he struck out five and walked four, saved WSU’s bullpen for Friday’s second game.

“That was my goal — I wasn’t giving the ball up,” Williams said.

Williams, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, started the season in the bullpen and didn’t make his first start until April 7 at Texas. Control problems limited his effectiveness. He didn’t pitch longer than five innings until April 25 against New Mexico. Less than a month later, he kept WSU alive with nine innings.

“It’s night and day,” catcher Bob Arens said. “He’s always had a great fastball, but the ability to put it inside and outside on command is what he’s getting better at.”

Williams enjoyed plenty of support from WSU’s hitters.

Daniel Kihle led off with a triple and Ryan Tinkham’s home run to left-center made it 2-0. Arens hit a two-run home run in the fourth to give WSU a 5-1 lead.

“That was the game,” SIU coach Ken Henderson said.

Kihle went 3 for 5 and scored four runs. Tinkham went 2 for 4 and drove in four. Arens went 4 for 5 and scored three runs.

The Shockers added three runs in the eighth and five in the ninth to complete the rout. That gave Williams ample cushion. He gave up a run in the third after Dyllin Mucha’s leadoff double, an error on Tinkham and a groundball out. Two more Salukis reached scoring position.

“Mentally, I’ve become a complete pitcher,” Williams said. “Early in the season, runners would get on, and I would crumble.”

On Friday, nothing derailed his focus. He gave up a leadoff single in the fifth and retired the side on three harmless flyballs. After a leadoff walk in the sixth, he struck out Parker Osborne looking, induced a groundball and struck out Logan Blackfan on a high fastball.

Best of all, he showed off that changeup, a recent addition to his arsenal, to strike out Mucha with two runners on to end the game. The changeup is considered the toughest pitch to master and Williams struggled with it most of the season, so much so that he didn’t consider using it until recently.

Now it’s a trusted ally and a needed complement to his fastball and slider.

“That really put a lot more confidence in me facing lefties,” he said. “It’s really helped me come along.”

Wichita State

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

AVG

Kihle cf

5

4

3

1

1

1

.306

Hilliard rf

5

2

2

1

1

0

.332

Tinkham 1b

4

2

2

4

1

1

.330

M.Mucha lf

5

1

3

3

0

0

.305

Troutwine dh

4

1

2

1

0

1

.297

Reding dh

0

0

0

1

0

0

.182

Rader 3b

5

0

0

2

0

1

.239

Kirk 2b

4

1

0

0

1

1

.235

Arens c

5

3

4

2

0

0

.293

Vickers ss

3

1

0

0

1

0

.252

Totals

40

15

16

15

5

5

Southern Illinois

Slone ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.268

Farmer 2b

4

0

0

1

0

0

.216

Lambert 1b

2

0

1

0

2

0

.276

Osborne lf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.289

Rolland rf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.257

Blackfan dh

3

0

0

0

1

1

.244

Martin c

4

0

1

0

0

0

.211

Sabo 3b

3

0

1

0

1

0

.292

D.Mucha cf

3

1

1

0

0

1

.260

Totals

31

1

4

1

4

5

Wichita St.

200

311

035

15

S. Illinois

001

000

000

1

E — Tinkham. DP — WSU, SIU. LOB — WSU 9, SIU 8. 2B — M. Mucha (8), D. Micha (3), Martin (8). 3B — Kihle (2). HR — Tinkham (10), Arens (4). SF — M.Mucha, Reding. SB — Kihle (21), Hilliard (9).

Wichita State

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

C.Williams W,3-4

9

4

1

1

4

5

5.59

S. Illinois

Holderman L,2-3

3 2/3

5

5

5

0

2

7.68

J.Williams

1 1/3

2

1

1

1

1

4.22

Hauge

2 1/3

5

4

4

1

1

3.74

Netemeyer

2/3

1

0

0

0

0

7.04

McFadden

0

1

3

3

2

0

7.00

Shimkus

1

2

2

2

1

1

6.11

WP — Williams 2. HBP — Troutwine, Vickers (by Holderman); Rader (by Hauge); D.Mucha (by C.Williams); Tinkham (by Netemeyer). Balk — Holderman. Umpires — home, Jim Jackson; first, Tim Catton; second, Wayne Harris; third, Rick Allen. T — 2:45. A — 870.

  Comments