WSU baseball coach Todd Butler previews 2019 season
As one of only four seniors on the Wichita State baseball roster this season, Jordan Boyer knew he would have to deliver for the Shockers.
The redshirt senior from Oklahoma City has responded with his finest season to date, as Boyer ranks fourth in the American Athletic Conference with his .368 batting average. Just as impressive, Boyer leads WSU with 31 RBIs despite hitting leadoff for the Shockers. He’s also added 27 runs scored and 17 extra-base hits, both second on the team.
WSU needs more production like Boyer heading into Tuesday’s 6 p.m. game against Oklahoma at Eck Stadium (broadcast on Cox 2022 and streaming online at Yurview.com). The Shockers (20-19, 5-7 AAC) put an end to a six-game losing skid over the weekend with an AAC series victory over Central Florida.
“Jordan Boyer has been absolutely fantastic for us this season,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “He’s had a great year batting leadoff for us. He was a nine-hole hitter for years. He plays with energy. He plays with attitude. And he brings a great mentality every day. He’s been a joy to watch play well. He’s a great player and a big leader for our team.”
Boyer cut back on his strikeouts and improved defensively last season, but he was disappointed overall with how his year went at the plate. After hitting .295 in his first year as a full-time starter as a sophomore, Boyer saw his batting average dip to .248 last season and he finished with just 12 extra-base hits in 145 at-bats.
He tweaked his approach at the plate and Boyer has since taken off at the top of WSU’s batting order.
“I feel like I’m seeing the ball better and things are slowing down for me,” Boyer said. “I’m getting into better hitting positions. I didn’t do a good job of that last year. After watching some film, I made some changes and that’s really showing up this year.”
Boyer has teamed with fellow senior Luke Ritter to form one of the most formidable duos in the American. Not only are the pair middle-infield partners (Ritter has played most of this season at second base), but both are having career years at the plate and hit 1-2 in WSU’s batting order.
Ritter increased his batting average to .364 this season and his power, as he has 13 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. He ranks in the top five of nearly every hitting category in the AAC.
On a team that is hitting just .262 outside of Boyer and Ritter, that pair has been especially valuable for the Shockers.
“Both of those guys are locked in as team captains and everyone looks up to them,” Butler said. “Ritter has been one of our better hitters for a few years now and Jordan has figured out his approach at the plate. They’re both really tough outs and it’s good to have them hitting 1-2 at the top of our order.”
“We know we have to set the tone for the rest of the team,” Ritter added. “When we do well, then that sets other guys up to do well. Those younger guys look to us and we know we have to deliver.”
Not much was expected of WSU outside of the program, but this senior class desperately wants to be the one to punch WSU’s ticket to the postseason for the first time in Butler’s six seasons.
The recent six-game losing streak certainly put a damper on those chances of reaching an NCAA regional. A win at home over a quality OU team (27-14, RPI of 35) would be a start in the right direction, but the Shockers also need series wins in their next two conference outings, both on the road, at Cincinnati (18-21, RPI of 125) starting Friday and at Connecticut (24-16, RPI of 25) starting May 3.
Time is running out, but Boyer wants to make the most of it.
“I’ve been here for five years now and it feels like it’s been forever, but the season gets here and then the 56 games go by quick,” Boyer said. “I’m just trying to soak it all up and enjoy it while I can because I know it will be over before I know it. We’re just trying to focus on winning every day and fight every single day.”
Oklahoma at WSU baseball
Records: OU 27-14, WSU 20-19
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Eck Stadium
TV: Cox 2022
Radio: KNSS (1330 AM)