Baseball drops to last place in the AAC after three-game sweep from Cincinnati

Junior+Andrew+Stewart+goes+to+bat+against+Cincinnati+on+April+16.+Cincinnati+upset+Wichita+State%2C+4-0.

Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower

Junior Andrew Stewart goes to bat against Cincinnati on April 16. Cincinnati upset Wichita State, 4-0.

Wichita State baseball was swept by conference foe Cincinnati this weekend, extending its losing streak to four straight games. The Shockers hold a 2-7 record in conference play and sit in last place in the AAC.

In game one of the series, the Bearcats used a six run sixth inning to take the series opener, 9-5 on Thursday evening.

After five strong innings to start the game, Cincinnati got Shocker starter Jace Kaminska with five of the first hitters reaching base. Adam Ketelsen came out of the bullpen in relief of Kaminska but struggled to limit the damage. Cincinnati’s Paul Komistek and Joe Powell hit back-to-back doubles to bring home a trio of runs, and after a strikeout Merritt launched a two-run homer for a 9-2 lead.

The Shockers rallied to cut the Bearcat advantage to 9-5, after an RBI double from Jordan Rogers and a two-run home run from Chuck Ingram. WSU then loaded up the bases in the ninth, but pinch hitter Garrett Kocis struck out to end the game. 

In game two of the series, the Shockers battled through 14 innings, but ultimately fell short 7-5.

After sophomore Brock Rodden’s successful run, the rest of the baseball team meets him in the dugout. After going 14 innings, Cincinnati upset Wichita State, 7-5. (Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower)

This was the longest game of the season for WSU, lasting 4 hours and 37 minutes. Combined, 10 different pitchers joined the hill and threw 487 pitches. The Shockers also struck out 18 for the day, fifth most strikeouts in the program’s history.

WSU grabbed their first lead of the series at the bottom of the seventh 4-3, but the Bearcats regained the lead at the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the eight, junior Andrew Stewart smacked a sacrifice fly, tying the game.

Battling for five additional innings, the Shocker offense was silenced as they could not put up an additional run. 

Senior Connor Holden threw a season-long 4.0 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and allowed three hits. He was then relieved by redshirt junior Ryan Stuempfig, who took the loss for the Shockers allowing two unearned runs.

On Saturday, Cincinnati swept the series with a 4-0 win. 

Sophomore Cameron Bye pitches while Cincinnati’s batter tries to get a hit on April 16. (Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower)

Despite a solid performance from sophomore pitcher Cameron Bye, the Shockers struggled to find a good approach at the plate. The Shockers collected only two hits, had six walks and left seven on base. 

“This is probably our worst offensive day this year and something we need to learn from,” Head Coach Eric Wedge said. 

On the mound, Bye had six strikeouts in seven innings and allowed only two runs on four hits. He also had four walks. 

“He had to really work hard in the middle portion of the innings but what was impressive to me was the way he battled through it and righted himself to get us deep in the ballgame,” Wedge said. 

The Shockers will play Kansas State on Monday, April 18 at 6 p.m. The following day, they will play at OU on Monday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. 

The Shockers will pick up conference play with a series against UCF on Friday, April 22 at 6 p.m. Wedge said his team’s approach at the plate will have to be better before conference play picks back up next week. 

“You know their guys pitched well today but we’re just mis-hitting too many baseballs,” Wedge said. “You know a lot of foul balls and pitches and counts weren’t where we needed to be.  Putting those balls in play and driving the baseball.”