Baseball looks to continue hot start against Grand Canyon

Following their sweep of Utah Valley last weekend, Wichita State baseball is set to take on another Western Athletic Conference opponent in the Antelopes of Grand Canyon University in a three-game series starting on Friday.

Utah Valley qualified for postseason play in 2016 with their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament.

Now, they’ll have to show the same offensive capabilities shown against the Wolverines this weekend when they take on GCU.

The Shockers showed what they’re capable of by sweeping the Wolverines, offensively and defensively. They scored 26 runs over the three games, while only allowing ten runs and committing only three errors.

Butler used the exact same lineup for all three games during the opening weekend.

“I think a sweep is huge when you think about where we were last year,” head coach Todd Butler said.  “To sweep the first series of the season is something I really wanted to happen and hopefully it will build our confidence.”

Butler, though pleased and happy with his team’s performance over the weekend, noted that there are still things that need to be improved if the Shockers want to see continued success.

“This week is a big week. We don’t have a mid-week game, so we have a lot of things to cover to get better,” Butler said. “We were worried about the umpire’s call on offense and we held onto it heading to defense, so we’ve got to sort out those mental things, too.”

WSU is likely to start senior Willie Schwanke on Friday, earning the team’s first victory last week with a 4.50 earned run average. Junior Cody Tyler will likely start on Saturday, earning the victory last Saturday with a 1.80 ERA. Sunday’s starting pitcher is yet to be determined.

GCU has hit .297 this season, adding six doubles and two home runs. Their pitching has combined for 27 strikeouts in the team’s first three games.

GCU played host to the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League in a friendly exhibition match on Wednesday.

Prior to playing the Diamondbacks, the ‘Lopes beat nationally-ranked Oklahoma State twice in their season-opening series.

The first pitch on Friday is set for 3:00 p.m. at Eck Stadium.