Baseball avoids sweep in MVC opening series

Wichita State entered Missouri Valley play with nine wins. In Evansville, Indiana, the Shockers looked to better their record, and with a five-run advantage, WSU had all but narrowly secured the advantage to steal Game 1, avoiding a series sweep against the Purple Aces.

A three-RBI homerun in the eighth started a four-run rally for the Purple Aces, redshirt junior Willie Schwanke escaped with his fifth win of the season, sophomore Tyler Jones collected the save. The Shockers couldn’t avoid the Purple Aces’ batting rotation in games two and three, falling to Evansville in two of the three games in the series.

Game 1

Wichita State hoped to carry the momentum off of Tuesday’s home-win against Oral Roberts.

Manufacturing early runs put WSU en route to victory. Four strikeouts by Jones in the final two innings of the game helped hold off the Purple Aces from completing the five-run rally to tie the game.

WSU edged by the Purple Aces 6-5 to start their conference record at 1-0.

Sophomore catcher Gunnar Troutwine set the pace in the batter’s box, scoring an infield single to the shortstop in the first inning to score senior centerfielder Mikel Mucha.

Schwanke pitched seven innings, and as the weekend-starter he threw out six batters, allowing one earned run in 105 pitches.

Mucha finished with two RBIs hitting two pop flies into right and center field.

Game 2

Left-handed sophomore pitcher Cody Tyler gave up six hits and four runs in six innings. Junior Reagan Biechler and freshman Clayton McGinness gave up a combined three hits and three runs, failing to achieve the save after WSU fell into an early four-run second-inning deficit.  

The Shockers played catch up most of the game. Freshman Dayton Dugas had two hits, a single into left field scored Troutwine from second base, putting the Shockers in the box score for the first time in the top of the sixth inning.

Wichita State lost 7-2, freshman Luke Ritter singled to score senior Chase Rader for the Shockers’ only other score.

Game 3

Junior right-handed pitcher Zach Lewis entered Sunday’s game with losses in each of his five starts. He brought in an ERA of more than 5.50. Lewis had showed trouble holding opponents at the plate through the first-half of the season.

Lewis cleared two innings unscathed before Evansville senior Eric McKibban singled to center field to score one runner, and advance another.

Evansville cleared the bases with a three-run homerun into right field, giving the Purple Aces a six-run advantage.

With another homerun in the fifth inning, WSU’s deficit grew to seven runs.

Head coach Todd Butler pulled Lewis after four innings, Lewis allowed six of the Purple Ace’s 11 runs en route to UE’s second straight win, claiming two of the three games in the series.

Troutwine ended the chances of a shutout with a single up the middle of the field, but the deficit was far too large for Wichita State to successfully complete any rally.

Redshirt sophomore John Hayes entered in the fifth inning, allowing the Purple Aces to score four more in a little under two complete innings.

Wichita State (11-21) returns to Eck Stadium to host Oklahoma in a one-game series. The Shockers play the Sooners at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Eck Stadium; they host their first home conference-series against Missouri State starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.