A home run in the eighth inning from Luke Ritter forced extra innings, then the Wichita State baseball team pounced for five runs and a 9-4 road nonconference victory in 10 innings over Missouri State late Tuesday.
It was the first midweek win in nearly five weeks for WSU, which has now won back-to-back games after a seven-game losing streak. The Shockers improved to 22-26 overall, while Missouri State dropped to 15-32.
WSU (6-12 AAC) will play its final games at Eck Stadium this season with a weekend American Athletic Conference series against conference-leaders East Carolina (36-11, 16-2) with Game 1 at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Shockers came one ball away from losing the game, as closer Mitchell Walters fell behind 3-0 in the count with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth. But Walters fought back for a strikeout, then forced extra innings with another strikeout to escape the jam.
Given a new life, WSU capitalized.
Jacob Katzfey led off the 10th inning with a single, then stole second, which led to MSU intentionally walking Ritter. After a fly out, Paxton Wallace delivered the go-ahead hit with a two-RBI double down the left-field line. Noah Croft, Ross Cadena, Brady Slavens and Jordan Boyer all followed with two-out hits to tack on four more runs.
It was a dominant performance from the Wichita State bullpen, which finished with 11 strikeouts and four hits allowed in eight scoreless innings. Preston Snavely (two innings, three strikeouts), Aaron Haase (1 1/3 innings, two strikeouts), Alex Segal (2 2/3 innings, four strikeouts) and Walters (two innings, two strikeouts) were part of the effort for the Shockers.
Wallace went 2-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and three runs driven in to lead the Shockers, while Ritter collected a game-high three hits to go along with a pair of runs and RBIs.
No hit was more important than Ritter’s solo shot in the top of the eighth inning to bring the Shockers level with MSU, 1-1. Ritter fell behind 0-2, but jumped on a pitch and sent it over the center-field fence.
The Bears had two runners on with one out in the bottom-half of the eighth inning, but Segal coaxed an inning-ending double play to escape the jam.
WSU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning with RBIs from Jordan Boyer and Ritter, but the Bears answered back with four runs in the bottom-half of the inning for the 4-2 lead. Wallace smacked his eighth homer of the season in the fourth inning to trim the deficit to 4-3 to set up Ritter’s heroics in the eighth.
WSU baseball 9, Missouri State 4
|Wichita State (22-26)||002||100||010||5|
|9 14 2|
|Missouri State (15-32)||004||000||000||0|
|4 9 0|
WP: Walters (2-4). LP: Sechler (2-5). E: WSU, Boyer 2. LOB: WSU 8, MSU 13. 2B: WSU, Boyer, Wallace. HR: WSU, Ritter, Wallace SB: WSU, Katzfey 2, Plastiak; MSU, Privitera, Faith. SH: WSU, Croft. HBP: WSU, Katzfey, Cadena, Plastiak. Umpires: Ramon Hernandez, home; Bill Gannaway, first; Matt Anderson, third. T: 4:02. A: 706.