Shockers stun Sycamores: 14-4 win for Wichita State ends with mercy rule

The bats in Wichita State’s dugout overwhelmed Indiana State on Sunday. Throughout the game, the Sycamores called on their bullpen to slow down the hits, but to no prevail.

The Shockers would earn runs on three of the four Sycamore pitchers ending in a 14-4 WSU victory.

“Bob Arens was the key, offensively,” head coach Todd Butler said. “Five RBIs and two homeruns. Ryan Tinkham had a two-run homer, so again, the guys swung the bats well.”

This game wasn’t just about the bats coming alive for WSU. Starting pitcher Isaac Anderson pitched five innings, racking up 41 strikes and only giving up three hits.

“Anderson pitched really well,” Butler said. “He gave us a good quality start.”

The Shockers brought a balance between pitching and hitting, which quickly suck the energy out of Indiana State. About midway through the game, the Sycamores grew desperate, and it showed.

Wichita State came out swinging in the first inning. Even though no hits earned a base, it proved that WSU had one agenda: swing away.

The second inning was a gong show for Indiana State. Walking batters, a balk and a wild pitch kept the Shockers on the bases. To add insult to injury, Arens capitalized on the Sycamores’ mistakes with a three-run homer to close out the inning.

In the third inning, the Shockers started right where they left off. Daniel Kihle would single and follow with a stolen base. Then Tinkham knocked the laces off the ball with a two-run homer.

After two early home runs by the Shockers, Indiana State quickly made a substitution at pitcher. For the Sycamores, this wouldn’t make a bit of difference as they added two wild pitches bringing in two more runs for WSU.

Then WSU turned the fourth inning into a game of “Ring Around the Bases.” Walks, hits and another home run from Arens made the game look more like a charity event, bringing the game to 14-0 for the Shockers.

As the game rounded into the seventh inning, Indiana State would make substitutions at almost every position but never came out of the slump. The Shockers would go on to win the game by a mercy rule.

“We’re starting to get some confidence, and that’s what this team needs,” Butler said. “We need wins so we can get confidence.”

Butler said he thinks this month will be important for the young Shocker team.

“I like our team,” Butler said. “I think April’s a big month for us. I think the second half of the season with 26 new guys played the first half of the season just trying to learn the game. Our thing first half of the season was free passes — walks, errors, passed balls, wild pitches, hit batters — so we’re trying to clean that up.”

Wichita State is currently in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference, and will travel to Austin on Tuesday for a showdown with Texas.

“I don’t like our record,” Butler said. “Who does? But, we’re 5-1 in conference, and we’re still in first place and we have a long ways to go. We need to continue to improve and guys need to keep growing and continue to swing the bats.”