Baseball ends exhibition undefeated


Rachel Rudisill/ The Sunflower

Senior Sawyer Thornhill crushes a line drive against Pittsburg State on Oct. 4 in Eck Stadium.

After an 18-10 victory against the Pittsburg State Gorillas, the Shockers baseball team are ready for their Fall Series.

The Shockers went into the Oct. 3 game against the Gorillas with two wins under their belt. After a few close innings, the Shockers took the lead for a third exhibition win.
Sophomore Robert Cranz pitched the first three innings and completed four strikeouts.

In the third inning, junior Garret Pennington hit the first home run of the night, for the Shockers. His two-run homer gave the Shockers a six point lead.

Another two-run homer was struck in the sixth inning by sophomore Payton Tolle. Tolle has a history of hitting home runs, with a three run bomb in last week’s game against Mississauga.

Tolle’s homer went over the scoreboard with a hit of 436 feet, the farthest home run hit in the game.

Two of Wichita’s pitchers, juniors Matt Wilkinson and Nate Alder, ended the night with 3 up 3 down inning.

In the first inning, lone senior Sawyre Thornhill, hit a double with an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour. The fastest hit of the night.

After making an apperance of base with a single, Thornhill was the only Shocker to score a run in the eighth inning. He stole home off a wild pitch thrown by the Gorillas.

Once the pitcher released the ball Thornhill found himself inching towards the plate.

Thornhill played his first two years of college ball in junior college. He split his two years at juco between Angelina College, his freshman year, and Northeast Texas Community College, his sophomore year.

“It’s a big step going from junior college to D1,” Thornhill said. “Division I baseball is the highest level before professional baseball and they take it so much more seriously here.”
According to Sawyer, his juco experience helped shape him into a better player to continue onto the Division 1 level.

A career in the major leagues is what Thornhill is searching for. He hopes that his career at WSU will help give him the development he needs.

“That’s the reason why I’m here at Wichita State is to get me to the next level,” Thornhill said. “So I can hopefully grind it out in the minor league to get to my ultimate goal to play in the major league.”

Last year’s spring baseball season didn’t go as the team hoped. Thornhill finds that the energy in the fall season will represent how they play in the spring.

“We have done so well this fall to prepare us for the spring,” Thornhill said. “Rather than last fall, we didn’t take it as seriously as we needed to like we are this year.”
The close team dynamic on and off the diamond has created a family that will help the team towards a winning season.