Baseball looking better than record indicates

Nick Beach

A hit late in the game can mean more than just a win.

Freshman designated hitter and utility man Alec Bohm lined a single into center field to give Wichita State a walk off 10-9 victory Sunday against Bradley.

This gave the Shockers consecutive home series victories against teams considered “stronger” than them — Missouri State and Bradley. Wichita State is 15-25, a .375 winning percentage, but lately have played better than their record indicates.

An issue for the Shockers this season has been their inability to win on the road — having two wins in 15 away games.

Wichita State arguably played the hardest non-conference schedule of any team in the Missouri Valley with matchups against TCU, Cal State Fullerton and Oklahoma State.

Now the Shockers face conference play. They’re nine games in, and stand with a 5-4 record and third place in MVC play. The Valley is no easy ride, but WSU may have a real shot at competing.

Dallas Baptist leads the conference with a 7-1 record. They are currently ranked No. 17 in the country and are considered the favorites to be crowned regular-season Valley champs. 

Evansville is the only other team to prove they are better than Wichita State. They sit in second place at 6-3 with a home series win over the Shockers. Missouri State is 28-11 overall and was ranked for some time; they are 3-5 in conference-play.

The Bears fell to the Shockers, so it will be tough for them to get back. Indiana State and Southern Illinois both trail Wichita State in the standings at 4-5, but have proficient records overall. 

Bradley has a talented bunch, but WSU took care of business against them, claiming the weekend series. 

Illinois State has only two wins in MVC, and the turning point of WSU’s season could happen this weekend in Carbondale, Illinois.

Wichita State head coach Todd Butler has helped his team figure out how to win fairly consistently at home. Wichita State’s hitting has been the reason a 15 win team still has a chance in the Valley. It all starts with senior centerfielder Mikel Mucha at the top of the lineup.

Third and fourth hitters freshman utility man Greyson Jenista and sophomore catcher Gunnar Troutwine have stayed consistent. 

At 6-foot-4-inches, 240 pounds and with his nearly pro-ready swing, Jenista is the future star of this team. If some road wins could come, WSU can realistically expect to finish second place in the conference if all things fall into place.

While 2016 hasn’t been Butler’s best season, staying consistent could very well have the Shockers fighting for the Valley’s NCAA Tournament automatic-bid one month from now. The Shockers are much better than their record shows.