Shockers sweep Loyola

Grant Cohen

Junior Jenni Brooks pitched in four innings on the mound in Saturday; the team needed only five innings before sweeping Loyola in a three-game home series.

Wichita State defeated conference-rival Loyola in all three games, including an 8-0 shutout against the Ramblers on Saturday.

Game 1

Brittany Fortner got things started for the Shockers in the leadoff spot, hitting her first home run of the season to put Wichita State in front 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. After a Kelli Spring single, Paige Luellen hit a line-drive double into right centerfield to score Spring from first base, putting the Shockers up 2-0 with no outs.

A base hit up the middle from Macklin Hitz scored Luellen from second base putting the Shockers up 3-0 at the end of the first inning.

Later in fourth inning, Hitz hit her fourth home run of the season with a two run home run giving Wichita State the 5-0 lead that would be kept for the remainder of the game.

Brooks recorded her seventh win of the season by pitching a complete game on Friday afternoon in the first game. Brooks pitched a no hitter through four innings, when her first hit of the game was given up in the top of the fifth inning. She gave up two total hits with one walk in Wichita State’s shutout win over Loyola in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

“We use everybody on defense,” Brooks said. “Pitching to [Loyola’s] weaknesses helped, but using everybody was key. We all compliment each other so well.”

Game 2

The second game of Friday’s double-header presented a similar start to the one an hour and a half earlier. Williams brought in one run in the first inning off of a single while Hitz had two RBI’s off of her single in the first inning, putting the Shockers in front 3-0.

Katy LaCivita’s double to left center field brought in two Loyola runs at the top of the third inning. With the tying run at second base, Wichita State managed to get two outs by catching a pop fly and Katie Malone striking out Loyola’s O’Brien to keep the lead at 3-2.

The Shockers scored two runs in the fifth inning thanks to a double by Laurie Anne Derrico after Bethany Canada’s single loaded the bases. Wichita State scored two extra insurance runs in the sixth inning to extend their lead 7-2 after a throwing error scored Spring from first base and Williams batted in a groundout sacrifice to score Luellen.

“For us, we look at the success rate that we are going with our lineups,” WSU head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “You have to mix it up sometimes to see if you get any better offense going with that.”

Malone grabbed her sixth win of the season, pitching all seven innings to go along with striking out five Loyola batters.

Game 3

Just like in Game 1 Friday, Fortner started off Saturday’s game with a solo shot to deep right field, putting the Shockers out in front 1-0 at the bottom of the first inning. Moving to the leadoff spot of the batting rotation, Fortner was 4-7 at the plate during the weekend with two home runs and scored three runs for Wichita State.

“It was great to get that monkey off my back,” Fortner said. “Now I can finally relax and quit worrying about not having any home runs [this season].”

The Shockers extended their lead with back-to-back home runs in the second inning by Liz Broyles and Cassidy Kelsheimer, both knocking out their third shots of the season, to extend the Wichita State lead to three runs.

Two walks with the bases loaded and a wild pitch by Loyola scored three more Shocker runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on second and third base, Hitz delivered a two run single that give the Shockers an 8-0 lead.

Brooks pitched four innings on Saturday while allowing two hits to go along with a strikeout. Kelsey Sterneker put the Ramblers out of their misery with a one, two, three out fifth inning giving the Shockers the season sweep with an 8-0 victory on Saturday.

While Brooks got her eighth win on Saturday, all three pitchers for the Shockers forced Loyola to bat .177 percent for the weekend, while giving up two earned runs.

“We pitched smart and executed our pitches,” Bredbenner said. “If you can keep a team off balance and pitch to their weaknesses, you have the ability to thrive off of the offense.”

Wichita State moves to 16-12 on the season with a 4-2 record in the Missouri Valley Conference, tying them up for third place with Northern Iowa.

The Shockers travel to Kansas on Tuesday and come back to Wichita for a game against Tulsa before going on the road for a three game series against Illinois State in Normal, Illinois.     

“Illinois State has great hitters and they play great defense,” Bredbenner said. “Playing two great teams like KU and Tulsa, there’s no better preparation.”