Shocker rally falls short in scrimmage loss to Nebraska

Wichita+State%27s+Garrett+Kocis+attempts+to+pick+off+a+Nebraska+player+during+the+scrimmage+held+at+Eck+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+21%2C+2019.

Selena Favela

Wichita State's Garrett Kocis attempts to pick off a Nebraska player during the scrimmage held at Eck Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

The Wichita State baseball team was bested 10-8 by Nebraska in a 12-inning scrimmage at Eck Stadium Saturday. Head Coach Eric Wedge made his coaching debut, using the opportunity to cycle through nine pitchers and 16 position players.

The Shockers found themselves trailing the Cornhuskers 7-2 through five and a half innings before reeling off the next four runs to bring the margin to one. After Nebraska tacked on three more, a furious 12th-inning Shocker rally fell just short.

“I was really happy with the way they competed,” Wedge said of his team after the game.

“All the way to the final out of the game.”

Members of the Wichita State coaching staff stand in the dugout Saturday.
Selena Favela
Members of the Wichita State coaching staff stand in the dugout Saturday.

Junior right fielder Hunter Gibson went three for six in the scrimmage. It was his leadoff single that got the Shockers going in the 12th. Senior Jacob Katzfey blooped a double to left center, and a dropped flyball scored Gibson to make it a 10-7 game.

Freshman Cooper Elliot stepped to the plate representing the tying run. He lined a single to right to load the bases before a saf fly brought WSU within two runs with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts ultimately sealed the Shockers’ fate.

WSU racked up 15 hits on the day to Nebraska’s 18. Sophomore center fielder David Vanvooren went deep for WSU in the second inning. Shocker pitching surrendered four home runs.

Junior right-hander Liam Eddy got the start for WSU. After a one-two-three first, Eddy gave up a two-run shot to Nebraska’s Cam Chick, who was a double shy of hitting for the cycle Saturday. Eddy escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam to end the second, but was relieved by redshirt sophomore Ryan Stuempfig.

Senior Tommy Barnhouse and sophomores Calvin Marley, Aaron Haase, and Creighton Hansen all tossed scoreless innings for WSU.

The Shockers played 12 innings of errorless baseball, but Wedge said his team still has room to improve defensively.

“We played some baseballs into hits. We made some poor decisions on where we threw the ball,” Wedge said. “But we had a level of aggressiveness that we need to be consistent with.”

Wichita State's Jack Sigrist and Cooper Elliot celebrate after scoring runs against Nebraska during the scrimmage held at Eck Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
Selena Favela
Wichita State’s Jack Sigrist and Cooper Elliot celebrate after scoring runs against Nebraska during the scrimmage held at Eck Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

Even with the threat of rain, fans came out in high numbers to get a first glimpse at the team and their new head coach.

“That was encouraging. I appreciate that,” Wedge said of the turnout.

“It was something that was very noticeable and very meaningful to us.”

Next up, the Shockers will travel to Springfield, Missouri, in two weeks to face off against former Missouri Valley Conference rivals Missouri State on Oct. 5.

“We’ve got a lot to work off of now,” Wedge said. “That’s the most important thing.”