Shockers fall to Texas Tech despite Lewis’ strong outing
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Senior pitcher, Zach Lewis came into Saturday’s matchup against no. 3 Texas Tech with the same mentality as any other game he starts.
“Same mindset, it’s the same game,” Lewis said.
The right-hander allowed just three runs over seven innings while recording a career-high 10 strikeouts in Wichita State’s 4-1 loss at the hands of the Red Raiders.
“My goal was just to go after them aggressively out of the gate; don’t let them have any breathing room,” Lewis said.
Lewis did his part, keeping Texas Tech off balance at the plate with a combination of changeups and sliders and a barrage of fastballs. The Shocker offense however, could not hold up their end of the deal, mustering just six hits and leaving eight runners on base—all but two in scoring position.
Texas Tech struck first in the top of the third with a windblown solo homerun from nine-hole hitter, John McMillon. A triple off the right field wall plated another run to put the Red Raiders up 2-0.
A wild pitch in the top of the fifth gave Texas Tech a 3-0 lead, but WSU had a golden opportunity to counter in the bottom of the inning with two runners in scoring position.
Junior Trey Vickers led off the inning with a single up the middle, and freshman Jacob Katzfey followed by drawing a walk. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third with no outs.
Vickers attempted to score on a weak groundball back to the pitcher, but was tagged out on a close play at the plate. Sophomore Jordan Boyer attempted a safety squeeze to put WSU on the board, but his bunt once again went straight to the mound.
Katzfey was caught in a rundown and tagged out, and a strikeout ended the inning with the Shockers still trailing 3-0.
Vickers led off the seventh with another single, and Katzfey doubled to left to pose another strong scoring threat.
Junior Bryant Klusener’s sacrifice fly brought home Vickers to put WSU on the board, but a shallow fly ball and a groundout to first kept the Shockers from having a big inning.
Texas Tech stretched the lead to 4-1 in the top of the eighth, but WSU put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom half of the inning.
A strikeout brought Vickers to the plate with two outs, but he eventually grounded to short on a 3-2 pitch to extinguish WSU’s final threat.
Head coach Todd Butler realized his team’s need to cash in on scoring opportunities.
“We have to be able to get a hit with runners in scoring position,” Butler said. “That’s the big thing for us.”
Vickers, the only Shocker to have two hits on the day, remained steady in his belief that WSU could overcome the adversity and perform in clutch situations
“Everybody here’s good enough to get the job done,” Vickers said. “It’s just believing that you can do it in the moment and being able to execute.”
WSU will return to Eck Stadium on Sunday at noon with hopes of salvaging the final game of the series.