With the game-tying run on base, Wichita State could not produce the hit it needed to pull off a second straight upset in the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament.
Instead, the Shockers lost 9-7 to Connecticut in a winner’s bracket game Thursday afternoon in Clearwater, Florida. Fourth-seeded UConn (35-22) advanced to the semifinals, while eighth-seeded WSU (27-30) will play in an elimination game at 2 p.m. Friday: a rematch against top-seeded and No. 7-ranked East Carolina (43-14).
WSU held a three-run lead early in the game, then rallied from a three-run deficit. The score was tied 7-7 entering the final inning but UConn scored two runs on three hits off reliever Alex Segal.
The Shockers had a rally of their own in the bottom half, as Ross Cadena led off with a single and Jack Sigrist followed with a one-out single. WSU nearly capitalized when Jacob Katzfey blasted a ball deep to the left-field wall, but Connecticut left fielder John Toppa made a leaping catch against the wall to rob WSU of at least one run.
Cadena tagged up and was at third base with Sigrist still at first for the game’s final batter, but freshman David VanVooren struck out swinging. VanVooren did finish 2-for-4 with a game-high three RBIs, while Sigrist added three hits.
VanVooren helped give WSU its three-run lead, as his two-RBI single highlighted a four-run second inning. After walks by Brady Slavens and Katzfey were sandwiched by a single by Sigrist, VanVooren scored two of them and Luke Ritter followed with his own two-RBI hit, a double for a 4-1 lead.
That lead disappeared in the top of the fourth when WSU starter Tommy Barnhouse exited after three innings and started to hit reliever Preston Snavely. UConn loaded the bases, then scored two on a RBI single down the right-field line and scored a third for a 5-4 lead on a misfire home from VanVooren.
WSU mounted a comeback after falling behind 7-4 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, as Sigrist produced a RBI single in the fifth, Jordan Boyer scored after a lead-off double courtesy of a UConn throwing error in the sixth, and VanVooren tied the score with a two-out chopper over the third baseman’s head to score Katzfey.