Shockers Scrap with Cowboys Midweek Matchup
Wichita State (13-18, 2-4 American) vs. Oklahoma State (23-9, 7-2 Big 12)
Tuesday April 12 | 6:00 p.m. | Stillwater, Oklahoma (O’Brate Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
HPL Jace Miner (0-1, 9.00) v RHP Trevor Martin (1-2, 4.50)
SCENE SETTING: The Shockers make the short trip south to Stillwater on Tuesday night for a midweek game against Oklahoma State, the second of three meetings between the two programs in 2022. Tuesday will be Wichita State’s first game at the new Stadium O ‘Brate, which opened in 2021. Oklahoma State scored three times with two outs in the eighth inning of Game 1 last Tuesday night in Wichita to erase a 3-1 deficit, holding on to eliminate the Shockers, 5-3. Over the weekend, Wichita State lost two of three road games at East Carolina, ending a five-game losing streak Sunday with a 5-0 shutout of the Pirates. It’s the second shutout victory of the season for WSU. Wichita State has scored more than five points only once in the past 11 games. The Shockers are coming off a 31-23 season a year ago, including an 18-13 mark in the American Athletic Conference that produced a third-place finish, WSU’s best since joining the AAC in 2017. Wichita State is seeking its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2013 season, a regional bid that was later canceled by the NCAA.
SHOCKER BASEBALL ON RADIO AND ESPN PLUS: KFH 97.5 FM / 1240 AM will once again serve as the primary radio for all Wichita State baseball broadcasts in 2022. “The Voice of the Shockers” and Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Famer mike kennedy will take the call on Tuesday, with the pre-game show starting about 20 minutes before the first pitch. All WSU home games at Eck Stadium in 2022 will be broadcast live on ESPN Plus (WatchESPN.com) featuring former Shocker All-American pitcher Shane Dennis manage broadcast tasks. Live audio, in addition to live stats, will be available for all games at GoShockers.com/listen and ShockerStats.com.
SERIES HISTORY: The Shockers and Cowboys will meet for the 101st time on Tuesday, with Oklahoma State holding a 63-37 lead in the all-time series. The Cowboys have won nine of the last 11 meetings, including a 5-3 win over the Shockers a week ago in Wichita. Wichita State last triumphed in 2018, when the Shockers swept the season series with a 7-5 win at Wichita and a 10-7 win at Stillwater. Prior to the revival of the WSU program in 1978, the Shockers were just 2-25 against the Cowboys. The two programs have met 15 times in the playoffs, including a pair of College World Series matchups. Wichita State beat the Cowboys in Omaha in 1982 and 1993.
OKLAHOMA STATE SCOUTING: The Cowboys enter the week with a 23-9 overall record, including a 7-2 mark in the Big 12, good for second place in the conference standings. Over the weekend, Oklahoma State won two of three games in its Bedlam rivalry series against Oklahoma, continuing a 16-game winning streak in its last 19 games since a 7-6 start. It was the seventh win of the series against the Sooners in the Cowboys’ last nine tries. Oklahoma State is a consensus top-10 team in this week’s polls, ranking No. 3 according to Baseball America and Perfect Game. The Cowboys are ranked No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 5 by D1Baseball, No. 6 in USA Today’s Coaches Poll, and No. 7 by the NCBWA. The Cowboys are led by strong pitching and defense, with a .984 fielding percentage that ranks second nationally entering play Tuesday. Opponents are batting just .226 against Big 12-best Oklahoma State throwing, while the Cowboys rank second in the conference in strikeouts (348) and ERA (3.98). Offensively, Oklahoma State hits .274 as a team, punctuated by a pair of transfers to Jake Thompson (South Dakota State/Palomar CC/Kentucky) and David Mendham (South Carolina/Connors State CC). The Cowboys are led by head coach Josh Holliday, a former Oklahoma State player who led OSU to three Super Regionals and a College World Series appearance (2016) during his eight seasons at Stillwater. Josh is the older brother of former MLB All-Star Matt Holliday, who now serves as a volunteer assistant on the Cowboys staff. Oklahoma State was picked second in the Big 12 preseason poll, following a 36-19-1 season in 2021 that ended in a pair of losses to UC Santa Barbara in the Tucson area.
SETTLE : Tuesday entry Jace Miner allowed three runs in the first inning of his first career start on March 30 at Kansas. Since that opening frame, however, Miner has held opponents to just two runs over the next eight innings spanning the remainder of Kansas’ start and its outing last Tuesday against Oklahoma State. He was 9.0 innings in those two starts after recording just nine total outings in his first five relief appearances.
IS NOT A LIE: Sunday’s dominant outing was just the latest in a string of standout performances from the right-hander Goodbye Cameron, who shut out East Carolina in eight innings while hitting a career-high eight strikeouts. The stellar start reduced Bye’s season ERA to a microscopic 0.24, second-best in the nation. The second player also ranks third nationally in hits allowed per nine innings at just 3.65, having allowed 15 hits (two for extra bases) in 37.0 innings. Bye was named the American Athletic Conference’s pitcher of the week for his efforts, the second different WSU pitcher to pick up the award after Jace Kaminska was honored on April 4.
CHUCK AND DUCK: Wichita State’s top hitter is a sophomore outfielder chuck ingram, who extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games on Sunday with a two-run home run in the third inning. Ingram is down 0.317/0.364/0.625 for the year after finishing at 0.225 a year ago. He leads the club with nine home runs, three times its 2021 total in two fewer games.
GLOVE OF LOVE: At a critical moment in Sunday’s series finale at East Carolina, the junior shortstop Andrew Stuart produced one of the most impressive defensive highlights of the season so far. In the bottom of the sixth, a double and a single put the runners in the corners with one out. Pinch hitter Joey Berini popped a pop-up into shallow left center field on the first pitch he saw against the starter Goodbye Cameron. Stewart raced to land an incredible over the shoulder grab, then spun and fired at the plate to take down the marking ECU runner for an end-of-inning double play. Double Murder was named American Baseball Game of the Week and Game #3 on D1Baseball’s Games of the Week.
MORE STRIATED: Junior Sawyre Thornhill already has a 19-game hitting streak under his belt in the 2022 season and has reached base via hit or walk in all 30 games played. Interestingly, despite leading Wichita State with nine multi-hit games this season, Thornhill did not record a three-hit game.
ALLERGIC TO MARKETS: Closer Connor Holden continued his mastery of the strike zone by eliminating Sunday’s shutout victory over East Carolina. The graduate transfer from Murray State hasn’t issued a walk in 13 appearances covering 16.0 innings of work, while striking out 19. Holden hit four opposing batters.
PRESS THE CLUTCH: Wichita State’s recent offensive struggles have been exacerbated by a lack of success in high-leverage situations. The Shockers are hitting just .232 with runners in scoring position and just .215 with two outs. The opponents, meanwhile, reach 0.272 and 0.262 respectively in these same two categories.
RUNNING MAN: outfielder Cut Cornblum established himself as Wichita State’s top base running threat. On a team that has stolen just 23 in 34 attempts, Cornblum is now 8-8 after stealing second base in Saturday’s loss to East Carolina. For his career, the second made 27 of 32 stolen base attempts (84%).
ONLINE JUGGLING: Eric Wedge continues to tinker with the starting lineup in search of consistent production. In 31 games, the Shockers haven’t used the same starters and batting order in consecutive games. Cut Cornblum, chuck ingram and Xavier Casserille have all started in seven different places in the batting order this season.
SENIOR SETTLEMENT: Two of Wichita State’s most productive hitters in the 2021 season had slow starts in the 2022 campaign. Garrett Kocis led the Shockers with 12 homers in just 36 games played last season, while Jack Sigrist was the leading returning hitter after averaging .321 a season ago. The tandem is hitting .186 and .183 in the first 31 games of the season, with five additional combined hits.
ADVANTAGE OF HOME PITCH: Eck Stadium, home of Tyler Field, has always been one of the toughest places for opponents to win in its storied history. The Shockers own an all-time home record of 1,272-382-2, including an 862-279-2 mark at Tyler Field (first season 1988). Since taking over as head coach in 2020, Eric Wedge set a 36-14 record at Eck, highlighted by an impeccable 10-0 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY: shock trainers Eric Wedge, Mike Pelfrey, Mike Sirianni and director of operations Loren Hibbs all have ties to the WSU baseball program. Wedge propelled the Shockers to a national championship as a starting catcher in 1989, earning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors along the way. Pelfrey was an All-American starter who ranks second in program history in ERA (2.18) and strikeouts (366). Sirianni was a volunteer assistant coach for the Shockers in 2015 and 2016 before moving to head coaching at Regis University. Hibbs helped WSU in the CWS program’s very first appearance in 1982, and still holds the NCAA record for single-season runs with 125.
ON THE BRIDGE: The Shockers host their first American Athletic Conference home series of 2022 this weekend, hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats for three games starting Thursday night.