Wichita State baseball debuts downtown Riverfront Stadium against Houston


Courtesy of Khanh Nguyen

Riverfront Stadium, home of the Wichita Wind Surge, held its first game on April 10.

After two years in the making, Riverfront Stadium saw its first action in downtown Wichita on Saturday. 

Wichita State won the inaugural game at the new downtown stadium, defeating Houston 10-1. The victory extended WSU’s winning streak to six games, with all six wins coming over the Cougars.

Head Coach Eric Wedge said that it was special for the Shockers to be a part of the first game at the new stadium. 

“It was a privilege, an honor to have an opportunity to be a part of this,” Wedge said. “I just love the fans of Wichita and the fact that they showed up today and had a great time for all nine innings. I thank the Wind Surge for giving us this opportunity here.”

7,509 fans turned out for the debut of Riverfront Stadium, which was the seventh-highest in WSU baseball single-game history. 

“I was just happy for our guys,” Wedge said. “I was happy for our fellas, that they got to play in front of that many fans. It’s always a little more meaningful when you’re playing in front of your fans and they pack the stadium like they did today.”

Paxton Wallace launched the first ever home run in the stadium’s history, with a two-run shot over the right-center field wall that gave the Shockers an early 2-0 inning in the first inning. 

“It was like ‘wow’, that’s the best way to put it,” Wallace said. “When I hit it and knew it had a good chance of going out, whenever I saw it go over the wall, it was the best feeling ever. Especially when the place erupted with all those people. It was incredible.”

Wallace said it was an amazing experience to play in front of this kind of crowd. 

“It was incredible, we definitely heard them the whole time,” Wallace said. “It was awesome having that kind of noise after every big play and every big swing and man, we enjoyed it. Those are the games you live for.”

Wallace said it was a special feeling knowing WSU would be the first team to play on it. 

“This place is awesome,” Wallace said. “I was pumped we were the first team to get to play on it. Practicing there with nobody there it was like ‘this is the real deal.’”

Jace Kaminska, Carney, Kansas native, earned the start for the Shockers and delivered a complete game. Kaminska became the first Shocker freshman to throw a nine-inning complete game since Jordan Cooper did so in 2009. Kaminska also became the first WSU pitcher since Clayton McGinness in 2019 to throw a complete game.

“Going into this game, I knew we were playing here but I didn’t know I would be the one throwing the game,” Kaminska said. “It’s cool being the local kid getting to pitch against a good team and getting the first win in the new stadium. It’s awesome.”

In Kaminska’s nine innings, he allowed one earned run on six hits with a career-high seven strikeouts in the victory. 

“At practice all week, they were telling me there was going to be 7,000 people and I didn’t believe it all week,” Kaminska said. “Then when I finally got out there after warming up and stuff, and saw 7,000, it’s hard not to let them get to you. It just depends on how you use it.”

With the victory over the Cougars, the Shockers improve its record to 19-9 on the season with a 7-1 start in conference play. Kaminska said that the team is starting to click over this last stretch of play. 

“We’re starting to come together,” Kaminska said. “Pitching has stepped up a lot and position guys are getting timely hits and any big play in the field we’re making them, not a lot of errors just playing baseball.”