Home runs from Wright, Adams force Missouri State split


Matt Crow

Wichita State senior Ashley Johnson (5) prepares to swing Wednesday against Missouri State. (Apr. 19, 2017)

Throughout the first game of a doubleheader against Missouri State, Wichita State strung together hits but was not able to execute with runners on base.

The Bears, however, had no problems getting runners home.

MSU scored four runs off two home runs in the fourth and seventh innings while the Shockers left nine baserunners, taking their second shutout of the season 4-0.

“We really struggled making adjustments,” head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “Right now I think from a hitting perspective, we were trying to do a little too much with it instead of just realizing how to square up the ball.

“We talk about squaring up the ball, but when you’re getting an inside pitch, I just don’t think right now we understand how to get that done,” Bredbenner said.

The Shockers’ scoring drought continued in game two. Junior Mackenzie Wright responded in a big way in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Wright made a critical double play, tagging third base and throwing to first to prevent any scores in the top of the fourth.

Wright said that she got some prior motivation from senior Macklin Hitz to get the Shockers on the board.

As the ball traveled to the middle of the plate, Wright’s eyes lit up. She swung and hammered her fourth home run of the season to give the Shockers a 2-0 advantage.

“We were talking about (the scoring drought) in the dugout and we decided that we were going to stop messing around and get some runners on and score,” Wright said.

“I was just thinking we needed someone on base so I was trying to get a base hit and it worked out.”

Junior McKenzie Adams was moved to the third spot in the batting order for the first time this season.

Bredbenner said that the need for someone to put up consistent at bats with runners on base was something that the Shockers were lacking. She said that was the motivation behind putting Adams in the third hole.

Two batters after Wright’s go-ahead shot to left field, Adams did something that she had not done during her entire three-year career.

Adams hit a fly ball deep enough to surge past the centerfield wall to double the WSU lead and snatch her first career home run as a college softball player.

“I’ve been stuck at the warning track power this year, so it’s been on my little bucket list.

“I cannot graduate until I stinking get a home run,” Adams said.

“Now I can say, ‘hey I can graduate.’ I want some more, but it is a big goal of mine that I accomplished,” Adams said.

Senior Jenni Brooks pitched a complete seven-inning game in the game two of the doubleheader, allowing only three hits and two strikeouts

Brooks’ dominance on the mound forced MSU to hit .142, not allowing a single run to score to get her third win of the season and pitch her first complete game with the shutout.

“She does a good job of throwing to outs, throwing to contact to get outs. That’s her name of the game,” Bredbenner said. “She understands (the situations) and knows what she needs to get done.”

WSU (27-15, 12-5) travels to Southern Illinois to continue Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend.