Baseball takes back series, finishes extra-inning comeback

Nick Beach

After falling to in state rival Kansas on Tuesday, Wichita State had a couple days off to prepare for the arrival of Missouri Valley foe Bradley for a three-game set at Eck Stadium.

Game 1: The Shockers opened the series sending redshirt sophomore Cody Tyler to the mound. Tyler has had some success of late, lowering his earned run average from 5.01 to 4.28 over his last two starts.

Tyler earned a quality start on Friday. He tossed seven innings allowing five runs total, three of them being earned. The lefthander fanned five and walked three batters on 101 pitches. 

In the middle of the sixth inning, the game looked to belong to the Braves as they led 5-0.

WSU started their rally in the bottom half of this inning. It started with a wild pitch by Bradley pitcher Matt Dennis, scoring Shockers’ freshman utility man Greyson Jenista.

Senior third baseman Chase Rader and freshman designated hitter Alec Bohm followed with a pair of singles to drive in a run each and cut the deficit to 5-3.

In the seventh inning Jenista drove in senior centerfielder Mikel Mucha on a double to right center. Senior first baseman Ryan Tinkham then reached on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error scored freshman utility man Luke Ritter to tie the ball game.

Sophomore catcher Gunnar Troutwine then gave WSU the lead with a sacrifice fly and the Shockers went on to win the game 7-5. Senior righthander John Hayes tossed the final two innings to earn the save.

Game 2: WSU battled with Bradley on Saturday until the late innings. The score was 3-3 entering the eighth inning, but Bradley went on to eventually win 8-4 on four runs in the top of the ninth.

Senior reliever Chase Williams took the loss for the Shockers after the game was started by junior righthander Zach Lewis. Lewis has improved of late similar to Cody Tyler. Lewis threw five strong innings allowing three runs, one of them being earned.

Lewis struck out seven and pitched well enough to win the game. WSU hit the ball decently, but they’ve had trouble winning games this year when they score less than five runs.

Gunnar Troutwine and freshman utility man Dayton Dugas both had multi hit games and an RBI each. Mikel Mucha and Greyson Jenista added the other two RBIs for WSU in the loss.

Bradley shortstop Tyler Leffler hit a three run home run in the ninth inning to put the Braves ahead 7-4. The Shockers couldn’t overcome the deficit in the bottom of the ninth.

Game 3: WSU trailed 4-0 early in Sunday’s contest. After five innings the game as in Bradley’s hands but the Shockers were able to surmount a comeback.

The Shockers rallied to tie the game at four in the fifth inning. Mikel Mucha helped put WSU ahead in the sixth with a key hit.

After the sixth inning WSU led 6-4. Bradley reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh however. John Hayes earned outs on a couple hard hit balls and a huge diving catch by redshirt freshman left fielder Travis Young.

Bradley drove in a two run double on a line shot to right center field with two outs off Hayes. After Shocker batters went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half, Hayes retook the mound in the top of the eighth. 

Hayes allowed another two out rally and Bradley went ahead 9-6 before being pulled for Chase Williams. Williams struck out the final batter to get out of the inning.

Chase Rader walked and redshirt freshman pinch hitter Josh DeBacker singled with one out in the eighth. Todd Butler then selected to remove Trey Vickers in favor of pinch hitter Ryan Tinkham, who popped out to the catcher. WSU left two on in the eighth. 

Chase Williams avoided trouble in the top of the ninth due to a great defensive play by Gunnar Troutwine. Senior shortstop Tanner Kirk kicked off the bottom half by roping a liner to the middle of the diamond but it was snagged by Tyler Leffler.

Jenista drove a double to right center. Troutwine walked and Alec Bohm hit a wind-induced bloop single to right that drove in a run. Dugas notched an RBI ground out and it was all up to Chase Rader with two outs. He hit a chopper to short and a high throw gave WSU the tying run. 

The game headed to extras. Alec Bohm knocked a two out line shot single into center and WSU won the game 10-9 in the tenth. The Shockers took the series in dramatic fashion.

They look ahead to their matchup with Kansas State on Tuesday. Another conference series win keeps the Shockers in the thick of things in the Missouri Valley.