Softball picks up series victory in conference opener


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

Wichita State sophomore Sydney McKinney celebrates after hitting a home-run during the game against ECU at Wilkins Stadium on Mar. 28, 2021.

Wichita State started off their first conference series with a series victory against East Carolina at Wilkins Stadium. With the victory, the Shockers’ record sits at 20-5.

On Friday, Wichita State defeated the Pirates, 16-1, and led consistently throughout. The Shockers started off with four runs scored in the bottom of the first.  Junior designated hitter Neleigh Herring hit a home run straight to center field. With her home run, Herring also got a four-run shot with the bases loaded.

In the second inning, senior catcher Madison Perrigan, and senior center fielder Bailee Nickerson both scored runs. In the bottom of the third, runs were scored on a bases-loaded walk from Perrrigan and a two-run double from senior third baseman Ryleigh Buck. 

ECU scored a run at the top of the 4th. However, the Shockers came back and scored 6 more runs in the bottom of the 4th. The rest of the runs scored came from a two-run double from Perrigan, an RBI single form Herring, and a two-run double from Nickerson. 

Senior pitcher Bailey Lange gave up one hit and one run, and senior pitcher Hailey Martinez closed the game out. 

On Saturday, the Shockers started out hot again with 4 runs scored in the bottom of the 1st. Herring hit a single with the bases loaded. The rest of the runs scored came from McKinney’s RBI, and a double from Buck.

In the top of the third, ECU responded by scoring two runs, including a home run. In the bottom of the 4th, the shockers scored another run from senior second baseman Kaylee Huecker. ECU took the lead by scoring two more runs in the top of the 5th, making the score 5-4. 

The Shockers took the lead again at the bottom of the 5th with two runs scored from freshman Jessica Garcia and McKinney, giving them a 7-4 victory.Junior pitcher Erin McDonald had ten strikeouts, and allowed only four runs on seven hits in the win. 

In game two on Saturday, the first two innings remained scoreless until freshman right fielder Addison Barnard recorded her 10th home run of the season in the bottom of the 3rd. ECU tied the game in the top of the 5th with a run scored tying the game 1-1. The Shockers responded at the bottom of the 5th with three more runs scored. ECU then took the lead at the top of the 7th, giving them the 8-4 win. 

Junior Caitlin Bingham pitched six innings, while struck out six batters, walked four, and allowed only eight hits. Lange pitched the remainder of the game. 

Barnard said she is not worried about hitting home runs or setting records, and that her main focus is to do whatever it takes to help her team win. 

“I’m just really focused on trying to find a way to get on base,” Barnard said. “It could be an error by them, I mean as long as I get on base that is what means the most. Just trying to drive the ball up the middle. We’re a great hitting team and when the home runs happen we don’t really think about any records or anything. So when it happens it’s just awesome.”

In their final game of the series on Sunday, the Shockers recorded their second run-rule of the series. 

The Shockers started out strong in the bottom of the 1st with homers from McKinney and Barnard. At the top of the 2nd, ECU scored their only runs of the game. However, Barnard hit a home run making it a three-run shot for the Shockers. This put the Shockers ahead 5-2. 

In the bottom of the third, the Shockers scored three runs from an RBI single from freshman first baseman Camryn Compton, a sack fly from Huecker, and an RBI single from Barnard. Two more runs were scored in the bottom of the 4th from Garcia and Compton. 

Lange only allowed two runs on three hits, and four walks. 

Bredbenner said that their plan is to offensively not just hit home runs but to get up to the plate and make something happen. 

“I thought today we had much more energy,” Bredbenner said. We know that we’ve got power and if we can get a good pitch or barrel it up we are giving ourselves a really good chance of having some success. It’s not our plan every single time to get up and hit a home run, we are just trying to hit solid contact and if it goes it goes, if it doesn’t go you know hopefully it’s a double or a single then we can make something else happen with it.”