Wichita State trailed Nebraska-Omaha by three runs on Tuesday afternoon, but the seventh inning hadn’t been played yet.
The Shockers have been at their best in the later innings, so when Gunnar Troutwine homered to start the seventh, it was practically on schedule and attached to a promise of more to come.
WSU beat Omaha with three runs in the eighth inning, snapping a five-game losing streak before its weekend series with Sam Houston State at Eck Stadium. It was the first time the Shockers won with late runs even though they’ve been scoring them frequently.
“I don’t think we quit,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “Even at New Mexico, we were down 14-2 and we start chipping away and had a big inning. We have scored late in the game. I think we do have some toughness. You don’t always see it show up, but it shows up late in the game. I think we’re fighting until the end.
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“I like that about our team, but maybe we need to do it more a bit earlier in the ballgame.”
In the last four games, including being swept at New Mexico, 19 of WSU’s 22 runs have come in the sixth inning or later. The Shockers outhit New Mexico in the series on the strength of late offense, then finally made it pay off against Omaha.
In those four games, WSU has hit .423 in the sixth inning or later and .233 in the first through fifth innings. The Shockers won on Tuesday when Chase Rader tripled home two runs and scored on Mikel Mucha’s squeeze bunt.
Rader, a senior infielder, said WSU’s resiliency is a source of pride because the Shockers often start freshmen Luke Ritter, Dayton Dugas and Alec Bohm.
“We don’t give up,” Rader said. “We’ve got young guys starting with Ritter, Dugas and Bohm. It’s them not giving up, (as well as) our whole team and the approach we have.”
“Coming in during the fall they were so open to learning from us older guys. I think that they’ve stuck around and asked questions enough and gotten their work in. Just seeing them grow just in this one year has impressed me a lot.”
Sam Houston State at WSU baseball
When: 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Eck Stadium
Records: SHSU 3-7, WSU 3-5
Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM