Softball’s NCAA journey ends with two defeats from Oregon


Thy Vo/ The Sunflower

Junior Sydney McKinney walks on the field during the game against Memphis on April 22.

The Wichita State softball team headed back to campus after a semifinals exit in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. The Shockers received an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional in the Fayetteville Regional.

The Shockers were given the No. 3 seed in the region, joined by Oregon and Princeton.

The Shockers competed in the first double elimination game on Friday against the No. 2 seed Oregon. The Shockers fell 10-2 in the five-inning game.

Sophomore Addison Barnard crushed her 33rd home run of the season, while senior Wylie Glover claimed the final run for the Shockers off an RBI triple.

Going into the bottom of the third, the Shocker only trailed 3-2, but with a fourth-inning blast from Oregon, the Ducks came out on top.

Keeping their heads high, the Shockers went into their second game against Princeton. They claimed a 5-4 victory.

Senior Caitlin Bingham recorded her 13th win of the season pitching for 6.2 innings. Bingham allowed only two runs on five hits while striking out three.

At the top of the first, Princeton loaded the bases. They claimed a pair of runs on a two-out, two-run single.

Junior Lauren Mills evened the score in the bottom second with a two-run blast to dead center field.

The Shockers claimed their first lead in the bottom of the fourth and continued to build their lead off of senior Neleigh Herring’s two-run homer to dead center.

Princeton came back to make two more runs but could not catch up to the Shockers.

In their final matchup, the Shockers faced Oregon again.

Freshman Alison Cooper started the night for the Shockers. She allowed seven runs, five earned on four hits and six walks. Bingham returned to the circle with 3.1 relief innings allowing only one run for her final appearance as a Shocker.

The Ducks took an early lead at the top of the first from a single followed by a stolen base, throwing error and wild pitch. They would add a second run on an RBI groundout.

The Shockers cut the lead in half from a trio of singles by senior Sydney McKinney, and sophomores Lauren Lucas and Zoe Jones. McKinney would go on to finish the night 4-for-4 at the plate.

Oregon continued to pile up five runs in the third and four innings and the Shockers could not catch up.

Despite the losses, the Shockers have important titles and awards from the season. Bredbenner became the winningest coach in program history after earning her 314th victory this season on April 24. Barnard leads the nation in home runs, stolen bases and most RBI’s, and McKinney and Mills were named All-Americans.

They finished the season with a 34-18 record, and this is also the first time in program history that the Shockers have made an NCAA appearance in back-to-back seasons.


EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly called the NCAA tournament the American Athletic Conference tournament. This version has been updated.