WICHITA - A three-run home run and another solid starting pitching performance helped the Wichita State Shockers (24-17, 4-3) beat the Illinois State Redbirds (24-11, 4-3), 5-1 on Friday night in front of 4,006 fans at Eck Stadium.
Charlie Lowell (7-5) tossed seven innings scattering eight hits and two walks to earn the victory. The junior left-hander allowed just one run and struck out nine Redbirds. Illinois State right-hander Corey Maines (7-1) took the loss after he went 6.1 innings and allowed five runs on 11 hits.
Johnny Coy was 1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI and Preston Springer was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Wichita State broke the game open in the seventh with Coy's fourth home run of the season off of the leftfield scoreboard to give the Shockers a 5-1 lead. Coy's home run scored Chris O'Brien, who hit a one-out ground-rule double and Springer, who drew a walk.
The Shockers got things going early in the first inning when Tyler Grimes led off with an infield single to the shortstop and extended his hitting-streak to ten games. Kevin Hall followed Grimes and dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line to give the Shocks men on first and second. A fielder's choice to second by O'Brien left runners on the corner for Springer, who drove in Grimes with his 11th double of the season to give WSU a 1-0 lead. Coy extended the WSU lead to 2-0 with his RBI groundout to second.
Illinois State scored their only run the next inning behind one out singles by Josh Colon and David Fallon to give them runners on the corner. Colon would score on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt by Bryan Huff to cut the WSU lead to 2-1. Lowell escaped further damage with back-to-back strikeouts of Kevin Tokarski and Chad Hinshaw.
Game two of the three-game series will be tomorrow with a first pitch set for 2:00 p.m.