There were parts of New Mexico’s weekend sweep of Wichita State baseball that were reflective of WSU pitching, namely the 22 walks and three balks issued by the Shockers.
Much of the series, however, spelled out the superiority of New Mexico’s offense, which appears headed toward the same levels it reached last season.
WSU’s top three starters — Sam Tewes, Willie Schwanke and Chase Williams — combined to allow 17 earned runs and 16 hits in 8 2/3 innings. The bullpen didn’t fare much better as New Mexico scored 33 runs in the series to wipe out what could have been a good offensive weekend for the Shockers against a different measuring stick.
“If there’s a better offensive team in the country than what we saw this past weekend, then they’re really good,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “New Mexico can really hit. That’s their forte. They really had big, timely hits. They had big innings. The big innings were the big difference.”
New Mexico ranked sixth nationally with a .311 batting average in 2015 and was in the top 15 in runs per game, hits, doubles, triples, walks and slugging percentage. After a weekend against the Shockers, New Mexico is batting .331 through seven games while leading the nation in walks.
Tewes, Schwanke and Williams each allowed an inning of three runs or more — Schwanke and Williams surrendered six runs in an inning. They weren’t helped by control issues that plagued the entire staff, walking nine total.
“We continued to walk batters, and when you walk a good hitting team, the next guy (can hit) a double or a homer,” Butler said. “So hopefully it’s a good lesson that we at least know what a good hitting club looks like, and maybe we can start emulating their offense.”
The Shockers weren’t too far off, outhitting New Mexico 39-36 for the series but without the free passes New Mexico thrived on. WSU trailed big early in each game but scored 16 of its 17 runs in the series after the sixth inning.
Ryan Tinkham and Luke Ritter each went 4 for 9 in the series. The Shockers (2-5) host Nebraska Omaha on Tuesday afternoon at Eck Stadium.
“This weekend, we actually battled back,” Butler said. “One of the games, we had like 14 hits and two runs (at one point). I would rather have eight hits and eight runs. You want your hits to be meaningful.”
Nebraska-Omaha at Wichita State
▪ When: 3 p.m. Tuesday
▪ Where: Eck Stadium
▪ Records: UNO 5-3, WSU 2-5
▪ Pitchers: UNO, RH Grant Suponchick (0-0, 9.00 ERA); WSU, RH Zach Lewis (0-0, 1.17)
▪ Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM