WSU baseball coach Todd Butler previews 2019 season
A pair of sixth-inning rallies propelled the Wichita State baseball team to a home-opening doubleheader sweep of Creighton at Eck Stadium on Friday.
The Shockers scored four runs in the sixth inning of the first game for a come-from-behind 7-5 win, then followed with four runs again in the sixth inning of the second game to complete a 4-3 comeback. The sweep (Saturday’s finale was already canceled due to projected cold temperatures) extended WSU’s winning streak to four games and improved its record to 5-5 on the season, while Creighton fell to 5-3.
After picking up top-100 RPI wins over Stephen F. Austin and Texas-Arlington last weekend, WSU (RPI of 120) followed with a sweep of another team (Creighton’s RPI is 95) ranked higher in the RPI. Creighton was picked to finish second in the Big East this season.
In the first game, the four-run sixth inning swung the game for the Shockers. Trailing 4-1, Jordan Boyer and Luke Ritter were both hit by pitches with Boyer scoring on a balk. Then Hunter Gibson delivered a RBI double, and Ross Cadena gave the Shockers a 5-4 lead with a two-run single.
Tommy Barnhouse registered five outs, then Alex Segal closed out the inning as the pair combined for four strikeouts and preserved WSU’s lead with scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Gibson tacked on what was an insurance run at the time with a RBI single in the eighth, but it became the game-winner. Cadena also delivered a RBI double for a 7-4 lead.
Mitchell Walters allowed a run in the ninth, but notched the save. Wichita State starter Clayton McGinness allowed seven hits and struck out five in his four innings, while freshman Cal Carver came on to earn the win in his two innings of work.
Gibson and Cadena each finished with three runs batted in, while Ritter and Paxton Wallace scored twice. Gibson finished the first game 3 for 4, while Ritter collected two hits.
In the second game, starter Preston Snavely held Creighton scoreless through five innings but ran into trouble in the sixth. He exited after logging 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three earned runs, six hits, three walks and struck out seven.
But again WSU had the answer in the sixth inning.
Jacob Katzfey led off the inning with a single, then Boyer and Ritter were again hit by pitches, which loaded the bases. Wallace smacked the second pitch he saw to left field for a two-run double, then Mason O’Brien grounded out but it scored the game-tying run. Gibson battled to a full count, then popped out to center field to score Wallace from third for the go-ahead run.
Sophomore Liam Eddy continued his dominant start to the 2019 season by closing out the game with the finals 11 outs. He didn’t allow a runner past first base in the final three innings and repaid Wichita State coach Todd Butler’s faith in him by throwing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and registered his second victory of the season. Eddy lowered his earned-run average to 1.69 on the season in 16 total innings after Friday’s work.
The Shockers will travel to Stillwater, Okla. for a midweek game against Oklahoma State on Tuesday before heading to Lubbock, Texas for a three-game series against one of the nation’s top teams in Texas Tech starting next Friday.