Wichita State sweeps Texas Southern at home


Olivia Eubank

Wichita State junior Jake Hamilton pitches the ball against Texas Southern on Friday at Eck Stadium.

Wichita State (4-2) swept Texas Southern in its first home series of the year and of the Eric Wedge Era.

The Shockers defeated the Tigers 5-2 on Friday after pulling away in the fifth inning, thanks to a couple of miscues by TSU’s infield.

Hunter Gibson was a major bright spot in the first game of the series, going 2-5 at the plate with 2 RBIs.

Despite the offensive production improvement, Wedge said his team is still a work in progress.

“It’s nice to get our first win at home under our belt, but there are so many areas of our club we still have to get better with,” Wedge said after Friday’s game. “So we’re a work in progress. I liked the way the guys battled today. I liked the way we caught the ball today. Situationally, offensively, we’ve got to do much better.”

In the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, but the Shockers responded with seven unanswered runs. Freshman Cade Clemons’s first career home run tied up the game. Garrett Kocis also delivered a key two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.

In the second game, the Shockers never trailed on the way to a 9-1 victory. Kocis went 3-4 from the plate with a career-high six RBIs. He also had a key three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead. With the game already in hand, the Shockers tacked on four more runs in the late innings.

WSU gave up just five runs in the three-game series. Last year, the Shocker pitching staff struggled mightily, combining for a 5.39 ERA. Through six games this year, the staff has a combined 3.12 ERA.

No WSU starter has an ERA higher than 1.80. Preston Snavely, Jake Hamilton, and Liam Eddy have been key catalysts for the team, keeping them in games when the offense is struggling.

“I don’t take anything for granted, but ultimately, when you look at the three guys that we’ve sent out there to start in our six games, they’ve done an outstanding job,” Wedge said. “Now it’s for them to sustain that and go out there and not be complacent and know that they have to continue what they’ve been doing to be able to go out there and compete.”

In contrast to the offensive inconsistency in Louisiana last weekend, the Shockers offense seemed to hit its stride against TSU. In three games, WSU combined for 21 runs, compared to seven against Northwestern State.

Wedge said his team needs to find offensive consistency.

“We’ve had some inconsistency with that up to this point,” he said. “Sometimes early on, especially with young players or players that are maybe trying too hard, that are maybe a little bit deeper in their career, you see that, but we just have to work through that.”

Different players stepped up over the weekend — especially during Saturday’s doubleheader.

“That’s what it takes,” Wedge said.

“It can’t be just one or two guys to count on. It has to be one through nine. We want to feel like everyone that goes up there gives us a chance to have success and do some things.”

The Shockers will be back in action Tuesday as they look to continue their winning ways against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-5). First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Eck Stadium.