Wichita State Shockers

Late rally pushes WSU baseball past Nebraska-Omaha 5-4

Wichita State teammates greet Mikel Micha after he scored the Shockers’ first run in the fourth inning Tuesday at Eck Stadium.
Wichita State teammates greet Mikel Micha after he scored the Shockers’ first run in the fourth inning Tuesday at Eck Stadium. The Wichita Eagle

With one swing on Tuesday afternoon, Wichita State infielder Chase Rader became his own advocate.

Rader, who entered Tuesday’s game against Nebraska-Omaha as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning, was one of its heroes four inning later. He drove home two with a game-tying triple in the eighth, then scored the go-ahead run on Mikel Mucha’s squeeze bunt that gave the Shockers a 5-4 win at Eck Stadium.

WSU (3-5) snapped a five-game losing streak.

Days earlier, Rader, a senior, urged WSU coach Todd Butler to insert freshman Alec Bohm at third base, Rader’s position. Butler discovered on Tuesday that he likely needs both players.

“It really shocked me because (Rader) was so unselfish,” Butler said. “It means a lot to me as a coach, and Rader’s going to be in there. I told him the other night against New Mexico, ‘Something great is going to happen for you this year.’ A year ago, he wouldn’t have (stepped aside). He’s going to be in the lineup for us.”

Rader was 3 for 3 against New Mexico on Saturday before recommending Bohm, who homered in his first career at-bat last month. Even after his 0 for 3 performance against UNO, Bohm is batting .360.

“He’s a freshman and he can hit,” Rader said. “He’s one of our best hitters. He doesn’t strike out and he competes every at-bat. Me being a senior, realizing that I’d rather just win, I think that he gives us the best chance in the lineup. That’s the big thing for me, stepping aside and helping him along the way.”

The Shockers trailed 4-1 before a solo home run by another non-starter, Gunnar Troutwine, in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Luke Ritter led off with a single followed by a four-pitch walk to Ryan Tinkham before Bohm’s pop-up advanced neither runner.

On an 0-1 pitch, Rader hit a line drive toward right field, where Alex Schultz made a diving attempt despite having little chance to catch the ball. Ritter and Tinkham scored easily, and Rader was in great position to score the go-ahead run.

That came two pitches later on Mucha’s bunt with Rader running on the pitch and scoring just as pitcher Ryan Cate fielded the ball.

“I wanted to get it over with, get that run,” Butler said. “Last year I didn’t squeeze, and I wanted to squeeze early in the season. Their infield is in and (Mucha) executed the bunt well, a good bunt. Rader’s fast, so it’s a good combination there to take the lead.”

Mucha raised his average 49 points to .241 with a pair of hits and was hardly stressed over batting with the game on the line.

“Just got to get it done, you know,” Mucha said. “I’ve been in that situation before, many times, and you’ve got to put the work in and get it done.… I struggled over at New Mexico, but it’s good to finally get the bat going again.”

The Shockers made four errors, three leading to runs. But after the first inning, Omaha had one hit that left the infield, increasing the odds for a WSU rally.

“That’s how baseball works,” Butler said. “… Today we pitched well. We made four errors, but we couldn’t get any hits going. During the game, we were thinking that maybe we can come from behind late and maybe this can trigger some excitement and get us going.”

UN-Omaha

ab

r

h

bi

bb

so

avg.

Schultz rf

3

0

0

0

2

1

.256

Gruber cf

4

1

2

0

0

1

.333

Taylor 3b

4

0

0

0

0

3

.367

Palensky 2b

4

1

0

0

0

1

.129

Patterson dh

2

0

0

0

0

1

.381

Holt dh

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Cate dh-p

1

0

0

0

0

0

.269

Caniglia lf

3

0

1

1

1

0

.314

Kalina 1b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.200

Herold ss

4

1

1

0

0

1

.258

Leif c

3

1

0

0

0

1

.250

Totals

33

4

4

1

3

11

Wichita State

Kirk ss

0

0

0

0

0

0

.440

Vickers ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.286

Ritter 2b

4

1

1

0

0

0

.389

Tinkham 1b

3

1

1

0

1

0

.346

Bohm 3b

3

0

0

0

1

0

.360

Jenista dh

1

0

0

0

0

0

.111

Rader dh

3

1

1

2

0

0

.350

Mucha cf

3

1

2

1

0

0

.241

Dugas rf

3

0

2

1

1

0

.333

Sanagorski c

2

0

0

0

0

0

.250

Troutwine c

2

1

1

1

0

0

.280

Young lf

2

0

0

0

0

1

.238

Eaton lf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.158

Totals

31

5

8

5

3

2

UN-Omaha

100

021

000

4 4 0

Wichita St.

000

100

13x

5 8 4

E — Sanagorski 2 (2), Bohm (2), Young (1). LOB — UNO 6, WSU 7. 2B — Tinkham (3), Mucha (3), Dugas (2). 3B — Caniglia (2), Rader (1). HR — Troutwine (3). S — Mucha (1). SB — Gruber 2 (7), Mucha (4), Dugas (1).

UN-Omaha

ip

h

r

er

bb

so

era

Suponchick

4

4

1

1

1

1

4.50

Sylvester

3

1

1

1

1

1

10.8

Adams

0

1

2

2

1

0

27.7

Cate L,1-1

1

2

1

1

0

0

2.09

Wichita State

Lewis

2

1

1

0

0

2

0.94

Tyler

2 1/3

1

2

1

1

3

8.49

Biechler

1

0

1

0

0

2

0.00

Jones W,1-0

2 2/3

2

0

0

1

1

0.00

Hayes S,1

1

0

0

0

0

3

6.92

WP — Biechler, Jones. HBP — Leif (by Tyler). Umpires — home, Mike Lentz; first, Ben Harlow; third, Travis Olson. T — 2:39. A — 1,669.

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