The Shockers will be partying like it’s 1989 on Saturday at Eck Stadium.
The Wichita State baseball team on Saturday will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Shockers winning the 1989 College World Series. The celebration will surround the Shockers’ 2 p.m. game against Houston.
Former coach Gene Stephenson will throw out the first pitch and WSU is bringing the 1989 championship trophy out of the case to give fans the opportunity to take pictures with it. Fans will also receive Stephenson baseball cards and 1989 pennants at the game.
On top of that, the game itself will be the second in a crucial American Athletic Conference series for the Shockers (18-15, 3-3 AAC) against Houston (18-15, 3-6). WSU has a RPI in the top-70 because of a difficult schedule, but to make a push for a regional bid the Shockers have to win series at home.
“This is a good league and we play Big 12 in the middle of the week, so we don’t have any patsies on the schedule,” WSU manager Todd Butler said. “We play good people. Every game is important. I know they’re important, now we have to get it across to the younger players that we have. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Frustrations were high following WSU’s 1-0 loss to Oklahoma State on Wednesday at Eck Stadium. The Shockers squandered one of their best pitching performances of the season by multiple base-running errors and missed an opportunity to score a RPI-boosting win over the Cowboys (RPI of 30) at home.
WSU had a runner at third base with either no outs or one out in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, yet came away with no runs.
In the sixth, Jacob Katzfey was thrown out at home trying to score on an infield grounder with one out. In the seventh, freshman Paxton Wallace was on third with no outs, but WSU struck out, then Wallace did not tag up on a fly ball to left field and the inning ended with a grounder back to the pitcher. In the eighth, WSU had runners on first and third with one out and its best hitter, Luke RItter, at the plate, but Hunter Gibson was thrown out at second attempting to steal. Ritter struck out, then WSU ended the inning on a pop-up.
“We had two base-running mistakes, and that’s what it came down to,” Butler said. “We pitched well. We had seven hits. We had opportunities. But at this point in the season, you can’t have base-running errors like that. We just didn’t get it done, so yeah, it’s frustrating because we had a chance to win.”
After being shut out for the first time this season, WSU is looking for a bounce back from its offense. The Shockers’ two senior middle infielders have been leading the way so far this season, as Jordan Boyer is batting .389 with 22 RBIs in and Ritter is hitting .386 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 28 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
Sophomore Liam Eddy (3-3, 4.70 ERA) is scheduled to throw for the Shockers on Saturday, while Butler is undecided on the Sunday starter.