Shockers top Illinois State in waterlogged slugfest

Selena Favela
Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm slides to home base to score during the game against Illinois State at Eck Stadium (April 29, 2017)

On a rainy Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium, the Wichita State baseball team rallied for a 12-7 victory over Illinois State to finish off the series sweep of the Redbirds.

On the day, the two teams combined for twenty-five hits, six errors, and eight wild pitches. The win was not a thing of beauty, but for the Shockers, who came into the game with a record of 18-22, a victory is a victory.

Sophomore Trey Vickers went four for five to lead WSU’s offensive onslaught.

“With the rain and everything, eventually you get cold and you just embrace it,” Vickers said. “This is what it is and we got it done.”

The Shockers jumped out to a quick lead in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of sophomore Alec Bohm’s RBI triple to right-center field.  A sacrifice fly by senior Willie Schwanke plated Bohm to give WSU a two-run lead.

Freshman starting pitcher Tommy Barnhouse surrendered a two-run homerun in the top of the second, but WSU answered back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, taking a 3-2 advantage.

Barnhouse again found himself in trouble in the third after opening the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. A triple and a wild pitch tied the game, but the biggest blow was yet to come.

With two outs and a runner on first, a routine fly ball to left field off the bat of Illinois State’s Ryan Hutchinson bounced off the glove of sophomore Travis Young. While Young chased the ball, Hutchinson came all the way around to score, giving the Redbirds a 5-3 lead.

Alec Bohm, who also committed an error despite going three for five at the plate, recognized the need for WSU to clean up their defense if they hope to win games moving forward.

“We just need to keep putting in our daily work defensively,” Bohm said. “Make the routine plays and then go make the good play.”

In the fifth inning, the heart of the Shocker lineup struck for another two runs to tie the game at five apiece, but Illinois State countered with two in the top of the sixth to regain the lead.

The turning point came in the bottom of the sixth when the Shockers broke open the game with a seven run inning, sending twelve men to the plate and exhausting the Redbird bullpen.

With the bases loaded and one out, a wild pitch plated sophomore Greyson Jenista for the first run of the inning.  Consecutive doubles by Vickers and sophomore Luke Ritter provided for another three runs, and a three-base error rounded out the scoring for both the inning and the game.

The Shocker bullpen, which struggled throughout the day, came around to hold Illinois State in check for the final three innings in sealing the victory.

Ultimately, Head Coach Todd Butler was impressed with his team’s 33-run offensive output over the course of the series.

“We swung the bats good this weekend,” Butler said. “A lot of good swings, good line drives, and a lot of two-strike hits. The guys did a very good job this weekend.”

He said he hoped the team could improve on the mound while keeping up their offensive momentum as they go on the road next week.

The Shockers play K-State in Manhattan on Tuesday at 6:30.