Old Rivals Creighton Trek to Eck for the weekend

0

Creighton (9-6, 0-0 Big East) vs. Wichita State (10-10, 0-0 American)
Friday March 25 | 6:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KNSS 98.7FM/1330AM
RHP Dylan Tebrake (2-1, 3.20) vs. RHP Jace Kaminska (1-1, 4.44)

Creighton (9-6, 0-0 Big East) vs. Wichita State (10-10, 0-0 American)
Saturday March 26 | 2:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
RHP Dominic Cancellieri (2-1, 4.76) against LHP Payton Tolle (2-1, 2.17)

Creighton (9-6, 0-0 Big East) vs. Wichita State (10-10, 0-0 American)
Sunday March 27 | 1:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
TBA vs. RHP Goodbye Cameron (1-0, 0.00)


SCENE SETTING: The Shockers host former Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton for a three-game series at Eck Stadium starting Friday night. Wichita State is coming off a 7-5 10-inning victory over Kansas on Wednesday night, a game in which the Shockers led 5-0 going into the sixth inning. WSU scored three times in the sixth, once in the eighth and once in the ninth to force extra innings, before Garrett Kocis threw a two-run home run late in the tenth. The Shocker bullpen has been excellent, holding the Jayhawks off the board for the final six innings to help WSU earn its sixth straight win in the series. Wichita State opened the season dropping its first six games, the worst start to the campaign since the 1953 season. The Shockers are coming off a 31-23 season a year ago, including an 18-13 mark at 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 went on to was 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. Friday’s contest will air on KNSS 98.7 FM/1330 AM. “The Voice of the Shockers” and Sports Hall of Fame Pizza Hut Shocker mike kennedy will have the call this weekend, 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 Bluejays have met 164 times, the most frequent opponent in Wichita State’s program history. The Shockers lead the all-time series 114-49-1, the most wins against a single opponent. The last meeting was in 2019, when WSU swept a double on Friday, 4-3 and 7-5 (Game 3 of the series was called off due to rain). The Shockers have won six of the last eight games, including Creighton’s last game as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2013, when Wichita State eliminated the Bluejays from the MVC tournament with an 11-4 victory. Perhaps the most famous encounters between the two took place in the 1991 College World Series, with Wichita State defeating Creighton twice to advance to the CWS Championship game. WSU center fielder Jim Audley’s ‘The Throw’ held on to a 3-2 victory at Wichita State in the first meeting and is considered one of the most famous plays in history from the program.

CREIGHTON SCOUTING: The Bluejays enter the weekend with a 9-6 record, having won five straight after a three-game sweep against Minnesota last weekend. Creighton has only played one real midweek game so far this season, losing to local foe Omaha on March 8. Eight different Creighton players have homered this season, but only Brant Voth (3) has more than two big flies. The Bluejays pitching staff combined for a 4.29 ERA in 15 games, highlighted by the bullpen performances of Tommy Steier (2-0, 1.35 ERA in 20.0 innings) and Marc Lidd (2-0, 0.00 ERA in 9.1 innings). Steier recorded the only stoppage of the season so far for Creighton. Known for his consistently strong defensive play, Creighton has another strong roster in 2022, with 15 errors in 15 games for a .972 field percentage. In 2021, the Bluejays finished 24-15, including a 15-6 mark in the Big East, good for second place in the conference standings. Head coach Ed Servais returns for a 19th season at the helm, already the program’s all-time leader in career wins. He has taken Creighton to the NCAA Tournament five times, most recently in 2019. Former Wichita State pitcher Mitch Mormann (2012) is in his first season as Creighton’s pitching coach . The Bluejays were picked second in the Big East preseason poll behind defending champion UConn.

ALREADY SEEN AGAIN: Wednesday night home run from Garrett Kocis was the first long walk-out for Wichita State since the 2019 season. In the kind of coincidence only baseball can provide, that home run happened nearly three years to the day (20 March 2019) against the same opponent (Kansas), also in extra innings (13th). Gibson Hunter provided the heroes that night with a solo shot to give the Shockers a 3-2 victory.

THE THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM: Thanks to his eighth-inning home run Wednesday night against Kansas, the sophomore outfielder chuck ingram has now managed three consecutive games and four of his last five. It is the first time a player from Wichita State has accomplished the feat since future Major League player Alec Bohm won four straight games against Omaha and Nebraska in 2018. The school record for consecutive games with a home run is five, set by Jeff Ryan back in 1998.

LOVE TO SEE YOU HERE: This weekend’s series will be something of a reunion for members of both coaching staffs. Wichita State Assistant Mike Sirianni played two seasons at Creighton in 2002-03 before ending his college career at Arkansas State, and Creighton freshman pitching coach Mitch Mormann spent one season with the Shockers in 2012 after being transferred from LSU.

ONLINE JUGGLING: Eric Wedge continues to tinker with the starting lineup in search of consistent production. In 20 games, the Shockers did not use the same starters and batting order in consecutive games. Three different players (chuck ingram, Xavier Casserille and Cut Cornblum) have started at six different locations in the order already this season.

WEIRD BASEBALL: Sunday’s series finale against New Mexico featured one of the weirdest plays in recent memory. In the fifth inning with the bases loaded, Sawyre Thornhill skied a ball over the fence to center for an apparent grand slam. However, on his trip around the bases, Thornhill passed Brock Rodden at first base, who then headed for the dugout instead of touching home plate. After a lengthy review, umpires determined that Thornhill was out for passing the runner and Rodden was out for running off the baseline. The result was a two-run single and an innings-ending double play, putting the Shockers ahead 12-0.

MORE STRIATED: With a single in the fourth inning Wednesday night against Kansas, Sawyre Thornhill extended his season-opening hitting streak to 19 games. With a hit Friday, Thornhill can become the 18th player in Wichita State history to record a hit in 20 straight games (last: Casey Gillaspie, 2014). Curiously, he’s had just one hit in each of the last eight games on the streak, dating back to a two-hit game against Washington State on March 5. The only game Thornhill has missed this season was at home against Oral Roberts on March 8. , for which he was suspended following an ejection at the end of the previous game against Texas A&M.

SHOCKS IN THE RPI: Wichita State moved up to 107 in the latest RPI standings after the win over Kansas, a 16-spot increase from Monday’s position. Weekend opponent Creighton enters the series at 169. Wichita State played Texas State (38), Oklahoma (44), Louisiana Tech (29), Oral Roberts (64), and Texas A&M (69) in the game. off-schedule conference, with three future matchups against Oklahoma State (28) on the way.

THIN AIR: Second year by Cameron Bye the impressive start to the 2022 season is fast approaching historic territory. With 3.1 hitless and scoreless innings Sunday against New Mexico, Bye now opened the season with 15.2 innings and zero earned runs. Curiously, Bye’s nine walks on the season have come in his two starts, with no other free passes allowed in the 9.1 innings out of the bullpen.

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 1,271-379-2, including an 861-276-2 mark at Tyler Field (first season 1988). Since taking over as head coach in 2020, Eric Wedge set a 35-11 record at Eck, highlighted by an impeccable 10-0 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

RETAIN IT: Transfer of graduate Connor Holden solidified the back end of the Wichita State bullpen. Through nine scoreless appearances as the Shocker closed in, Holden allowed just seven base runners on five hits and a pair of hits per pitch. He produced a season-best outing on Wednesday to earn the win over Kansas, striking out all seven batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts. The Louisville, Kentucky native was 5-1 with a 4.43 ERA and nine saves in four years at Murray State.

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 wrap up all 12 home games with a midweek game against Missouri State on Tuesday.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.