Baseball matches longest home losing streak since 1970 in 11-run drubbing by in-state rival


Freshman Robert Cranz hands the ball over during the second inning of WSU’s game against Kansas State on April 18 at Eck Stadium.

After lasting only one inning on the mound Monday evening, freshman Robert Cranz was frustrated. When the young right-handed pitcher arrived in the dugout, he threw his glove at the back of the Shocker dugout before taking a seat alone, separated from any teammates. Cranz then used his hands to cover his face in disappointment in what has been a microcosm of this season.

Cranz’s irritation at another disappointing start sums up what has turned out to be a lackluster 2022 season for WSU baseball. The Shockers’ 12-1 loss to Kansas State on Monday gives WSU a five-game losing skid at home, the longest such streak by the program since 1970. 

“We’re losing as a ballclub right now, it’s not just one particular area of our ballclub,” Wedge said. “It’s not making plays defensively, it’s not throwing the ball over on the mound, it’s not taking advantage of the opportunities offensively. That’s why we’re having trouble scoring runs and that’s why we’re losing right now. We’ve got to figure it out and get better.”

This season started with optimism of reaching an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2013, which has since diminished. The Shockers were energized by new faces and looked to build off their best season since joining the American, but they have failed to meet these increased expectations. 

WSU stumbled out of the gates this season, dropping their first six games. The team rebounded to win seven of their next eight games but has struggled to find consistency since then. The Shockers are now 13-23 on the season and sit in last place in the American, while looking poised for their first losing season under Head Coach Eric Wedge.

The Shockers have also lost 10 of their last 11 games, including a sweep last weekend against Cincinnati.  One of WSU’s main areas of concern over that stretch is a scuffling lineup that has combined for a .229 batting average in the past 11 games. The Shockers are averaging just three runs per game during the stretch.

WSU will be looking to win its first mid-week game since a walk-off win against Kansas on March 23, when they travel south to take on Oklahoma on Tuesday.

“I want these guys to get on that bus, go to Oklahoma and be a different team and learn what they’ve been going through the last week and a half,” Wedge said.

The Shockers were expecting big senior seasons from Garrett Kocis and Jack Sigrist, but both have fallen out of the lineup due to poor performance. Kocis led the team with 12 home runs in only 36 games played last season, while Sigrist was the leading returning hitter after a .321 batting average a season ago. The tandem is hitting .183 and .176 through the first 35 games of the season, with five combined extra-base hits.

The Shocker pitching staff has also dealt with its fair share of struggles, with the team starting two freshmen for much of the season. The bullpen has also failed to close out leads on multiple occasions this season, with Connor Holden and Caden Favors being the only reliable arms late in games. 

Wedge said he remains hopeful that the team will be able to grow from this rough stretch, whether it be in the coming weeks or in seasons to come.

“I think it can in the long run, doesn’t make it any less painful right now though,” Wedge said. “You need to continue to develop while winning. You could develop while losing too, but everybody wants to win.”