Shockers drop season-opener to No. 17 Oklahoma State


Kaylee Stout / The Sunflower

Wichita State junior, Liam Eddy throws the ball to his opponent during a game at Eck stadium on Feb. 21

For the first time in 350 days, Wichita State baseball was back in action on Sunday, as they took on No. 17 Oklahoma State at Eck Stadium. 

The Cowboys defeated the Shockers, 3-1, in the season opener. WSU’s season opening series was rescheduled two different times after previous series against Northern Colorado and Oklahoma due to inclement weather.

Head Coach Eric Wedge said that it was a great feeling to be back out there on Sunday.

“It was great to get out there,” Wedge said. “We’ve been out there the past couple days with the weather and what not but it was great to go out there and compete against another team. We obviously played a little bit tight early on but I felt they settled in.”

In the top of the first inning, OSU was able to jump to a quick 3-0 lead. Max Hewitt drove in a run through a fielder’s choice and Alix Garcia’s two-run double pushed the lead up to three right out of the gates. 

WSU’s starting pitcher Liam Eddy was able to regroup after surrendering the three early runs, and shut out the Cowboys the next four innings. Eddy’s pitch count today was limited to only 65 pitches but finished the night allowing three runs while collecting eight strikeouts in the loss. Ryan Stuempfig and Tommy Barnhouse picked up Eddy, by combining for three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. 

“I felt he got stronger and stronger as it went on but we had to get him out of there just because of a pitch count situation,” Wedge said. “He gave us every chance to win the ballgame and that’s what starting pitchers have to do. He did that and next time he’ll pitch a little bit stronger and farther hopefully.”

Wedge said that Eddy was more aggressive with his fastball which helped him have more success in the later innings. 

“I think he started to be a little more aggressive with his fastball and that was something that I think helped him,” Wedge said. “Early on they were hitting some strike breaking balls and he was working from behind a little bit. It looked like he was a little stiff out there. But that first inning of the year is always the toughest. That’s just the way it works with baseball.”

The Shockers’ offense struggled to push runs across the plate as Corrigan Bartlett drove in the lone Shocker run on an RBI single in the fourth inning, cutting the deficit to two. The Shockers had a key opportunity to tie the game up in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out with the top of the lineup due up. But the Shockers were unable to push a run across, leaving three runners stranded. 

For the game, WSU collected 11 hits but stranded 13 runners on the basepaths. 

“That was obviously the story of the game,” Wedge said. “The apex of that was the eighth inning, bases loaded nobody out and we didn’t push one across when ultimately we should push two or three across with one hit or two. But we’ll learn from it. ”

Redshirt senior Corrigan Bartlett made his Shocker debut on Sunday and went 4-4 at the plate while driving in WSU’s lone run in the loss. Bartlett, a Maize, Kansas native, said that it is surreal to be back in Wichita after cheering on the team as a kid.

“It’s a pretty surreal moment with my life wrapping back around and I get to play for a team I once grew up watching. It was a pretty incredible moment and was a good day.”

After the offense’s disappointing performance, Bartlett said that the team is trying to take a positive approach to tomorrow’s game.

“There’s two ways of going about this type of stuff,” he said. “One is to get frustrated and think we lost it or come back tomorrow because there’s a new day tomorrow and looking forward to the opportunity to get the win. I think that’s the way we’re going about it. In our locker room we know that we beat ourselves and we have an opportunity tomorrow to prove the right message.”

The Shockers will wrap up its series against the Cowboys on Monday at Eck Stadium. First pitched is scheduled for 2 p.m.