Softball sweeps Drake, now No. 1 in MVC

Grant Cohen

After leveling the series with in-conference rival, Bradley, Wichita State faced a ninth inning deficit of three runs with the series about to fall into the hands of the Braves. 

A three-run ninth inning started with a ground-rule double over the right field wall, by freshman Greyson Jenista. A couple of batters later freshman Alec Bohm lined a ball into right field cutting the deficit to two runs. 

In the tenth inning, Bohm singled to center field for the game-winning walk off, RBI scoring sophomore Keenan Eaton from second base. 

Game 1: The Shockers opened the series sending redshirt sophomore Cody Tyler to the mound. Tyler, who has lowered his ERA from 5.01 to 4.28 over his last two starts, threw for seven innings allowing five runs. The left-hander pitched five strikeouts and walked three batters on 101 pitches. 

In the middle of the sixth inning, the advantage belonged to the Braves, who led 5-0.

WSU started their rally in the bottom of the sixth inning starting with a wild pitch by Bradley pitcher Matt Dennis, scoring Jenista.

Senior third baseman Chase Rader and Bohm followed with a pair of singles to each drive in a run and cut the deficit to two runs. 

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 giving the Shockers a 7-5 advantage that would ultimately end that way. Senior relief pitcher John Hayes earned the save. Senior righthander John Hayes tossed the final two innings to earn the save.

Game 2: 

With the score tied at three runs apiece entering the eighth inning, WSU had all but kept pace before ultimately falling in an eighth-inning finish. 

Senior relief pitcher Chase Williams suffered the loss. Junior Zach Lewis gave up three runs on four hits in five innings pitched. Lewis struck out seven batters. 

Sophomore catcher Gunnar Troutwine and freshman Dayton Dugas each recorded multi-hit games, each with an RBI. Mucha and Jenista added the other two WSU RBIs in the 8-4 loss. 

Bradley shortstop Tyler Leffler hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to give the Braves a three-run advantage; WSU couldn’t find the match in the final at-bats. 

Game 3: 

The advantage quickly fell in the direction of the Braves, who opened up to an early three-run lead in the third inning, with a home run that started off the first inning, Leffler tripled soon after, and through three batters, the Braves had a two-run lead, which would grow to four as the game entered the fourth inning. 

The Shockers tied the game at four in the fifth inning when Jenista homered into right field, scoring three RBIs. 

After the sixth inning, WSU led 6-4. Bradley reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh with back-to-back doubles. 

In the eighth inning, Hayes allowed two runs, and Bradley took a 9-6 lead, giving redshirt senior Chase Williams the mound for the final inning and a half, in a three-run rut. 

Williams retired the final batter. 

Pinch-hitter Josh DeBacker singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Shockers popped out the next batters, leaving two batters stranded, ending the chances of any rally in the eighth inning. 

In the ninth, Jenista hit a double to right-center field and after a walk put Troutwine on base, Bohm drove in a run and Dugas notched an RBI round-out, and Bohm rounded the bases after a wild-throw from Bradley’s shortstop, giving WSU a tie game and a chance at extra innings. 

Bohm won the series, and WSU claimed win No. 15 of the season and their 13th at home. 

WSU next hosts in-state rival Kansas State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eck Stadium.