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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Addison Barnard’s record night leads WSU past UTSA in first round of AAC

Bryan Chavez
Senior Addison Barnard screams and runs to home plate after hitting a home run on March 23 against UTSA. Barnard had two home runs in the game.

With a home-field advantage, Wichita State softball blew out the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament with a 13-0 win in five innings. 

The fourth-seeded Shockers improved to 26-21 overall on Wednesday night, while the ninth-seeded Roadrunners’ season came to an end at 15-42. 

The Shockers started off the bottom of the first with a walk from senior CC Wong. Senior Addison Barnard hit a two-run home run, her first of three throughout the night, that put the Shockers up 2-0. 

Barnard said as soon she got on the field, she had a good feeling about the game. 

“As we got going, our fans just came alive, and it just kept our momentum going,” Barnard said. 

Barnard set the AAC championship record with three home runs and 14 total bases. 

Senior Lauren Howell got the start on the mound but, after a sluggish 1 2/3 innings, junior Alison Cooper stepped in with the bases loaded and struck out UTSA’s junior Jaylen Prichard to prevent the team from scoring any points. Cooper struck out three in three innings, allowing one hit and one walk. 

Wichita State head coach Kristi Bredbenner said Cooper is one of the best in relief. 

“She came in a bases-loaded situation, having to face a pretty good kid, and (she) gets a big strikeout, and that was huge,” Bredbenner said. 

Cooper said she wanted to keep the team’s momentum going when she came in to pitch. 

“I just wanted to give them something that we could bounce back on, knowing that I’ll get those one, two, three outs, and they can just keep rolling with the bats,” Cooper said. 

The second inning was a repeat of the first; Wong walked to start. After an 11-pitch at-bat, Barnard hit her second homer over the wall to make it 5-0. Later in the inning, redshirt senior Lainee Brown hit a double that allowed sophomores Taylor Sedlacek and Sami Hood to score. A UTSA error allowed Brown to come around as well to secure an 8-0 lead.

At the bottom of the third, Sedlacek hit a home run to left field that allowed Barnard and Wong to score, 11-0. Senior Jessica Garcia nabbed another run batted in later in the inning.

Barnard closed out the game with another homer to center field in the fourth inning to advance the team to the second round of the tournament. 

Barnard said she felt “electric” going into the game.

“I think all of us are just going in with a lot of confidence, especially seniors,” Barnard said. “You know we got nothing to lose, and we’re here to fight, and we have the team to do it.” 

Going into the second round of the tournament, Bredbenner said the team will have to focus and reset. 

“We know exactly what to expect, and it’s just about playing well in the moment and getting the big hits,” Bredbenner said. “I think that we’re on the right track. It’s a good start to the tournament.”

Up next, Wichita State will face off against the sixth-seed University of Tulsa at Wilkins Stadium on Thursday afternoon. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Bryan Chavez
Bryan Chavez, Photographer
Bryan Chavez is a first-year photographer for The Sunflower. He is a freshman at Wichita State, majoring in Journalism and Media Production. Chavez is from Dallas, Texas, and wants to pursue a career as a professional sports photographer. Chavez's pronouns are he/him.

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