Shocker baseball stretches winning streak to 12 in walk-off fashion

Olivia Eubank

The Wichita State baseball team continued its winning ways this weekend, completing a three-game sweep of Louisiana Tech (10-6). The Shockers (13-2) have now won 12 games in a row.

The Shockers kicked off the series with a 6-2 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday.

Junior pitcher Jake Hamilton had another successful outing for WSU, striking out seven batters while giving up two runs in five innings pitched. The Shocker bullpen shut the door for the remainder of the game, combining for four scoreless frames while giving up just three hits.

Junior Garrett Kocis led the offensive charge, going 2-4 at the plate with a pair of triples. Kocis became the first Shocker since Sam Hilliard in 2015 to hit two triples in the same game. Freshman Cade Clemons once again showcased his power at the plate, blasting his third homer of the season to build a late cushion.

WSU faced some adversity in Saturday’s game. After taking an early 2-0 lead, a three-run home run by Parker Bates gave the Bulldogs a lead in the sixth innings. The Shockers responded by adding two runs in the seventh inning and another in the eighth to seal the win.

Head Coach Eric Wedge said he was impressed with his team’s resiliency.

“That’s meaningful to me,” Wedge said after Saturday’s win. “The resilience side things have always been important to me. When the momentum changes like the ball game and they hit that three-run homer, you got to find a way to overcome that, and our kids did.

“That’s why you play nine innings. Sounds so cliche, but ultimately, you have a choice to make, and you know, they dug in and they found a way to get it done.”

Junior Liam Eddy gave up three runs in six innings — all on the home run — while striking out four batters. Juniors Aaron Bechtel and Foster Gifford combined for three shutout innings to close out the game.

On Sunday, the Shockers brought out the brooms as freshman Derek Shaver’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth secured a 10-9 victory. WSU hung an eight-spot in the second inning, but Louisiana Tech was able to claw all the way back to take a 9-8 lead in the top of the eighth. The Shockers once again showed their resilience, scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth to keep their winning streak alive.

“You never truly look ahead. You try to take it day by day,” Wedge said on Saturday. “I mean, we didn’t play particularly good baseball today, but they found a way to win. It takes certain individuals in certain areas of your team to step up late in the game when things aren’t going your way.”

Wedge said his young team needs to keep putting in work and improving.

“It’s more about keeping your head down and grinding and just playing it out day-by-day. Like I’ve said so many times, if we play pretty good baseball, we’ve got a good chance to win. If we don’t, then we don’t” Wedge said. “It’s more about learning from a day like today. We made a lot of mistakes, but we’re still able to overcome that and win. So, learn from those mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again, and you’ve got a chance to be better.”

With the series sweep, the Shockers have moved up to No. 29 in RPI, the third best ranking in the American Athletic Conference. The Shockers will continue their homestand with a four-game series against Nebraska that starts on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Eck Stadium.