WSU baseball coach Todd Butler previews 2019 season
The Wichita State baseball team will be playing for its season in the regular-season finale at South Florida.
With the chance to lock up the final berth in the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Shockers could only muster two hits in a 2-0 loss to South Florida on Friday evening. That sets up a winner-take-all game for the No. 8 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Florida with game 3 slated for noon Saturday.
Dating back to 1978, Wichita State has never failed to qualify for its conference tournament. The Shockers (25-29) are tied with USF (26-26) at 8-15 for eighth in the nine-team American.
The loss spoiled another strong pitching performance from WSU. Liam Eddy was pulled with two outs in the fourth inning trailing 2-0, but reliever Tommy Barnhouse entered and threw four-plus scoreless innings without allowing a hit to close out the game.
But the two runs USF scored in the fourth inning proved to be the only runs scored in the game.
WSU only stranded five runners on base, but certainly had its chances in such a low-scoring game.
The best opportunity may have come in the top of the fourth inning when Jordan Boyer led off with a walk. A single by Luke Ritter moved Boyer to third base and Ritter took second on a wild pitch with one out. But the Shockers failed to find the timely hit with two runners in scoring position, as Mason O’Brien and Paxton Wallace recorded outs, ending the inning.
WSU again put its leadoff batter on base in the sixth and seventh innings, but again stranded them. Jack Sigrist led off the sixth with a walk, then stole second, only to be stranded when Boyer struck out, Jacob Katzfey popped up and Ritter flew out. In the seventh, O’Brien singled to lead off the inning only to watch as Wallace struck out, Brady Slavens ground out and Ross Cadena fly out.
Freshman right-hander Connery Peters will be the starter of the do-or-die game on Saturday for the Shockers.