OMAHA, Neb. - Wichita State (37-24) scored early and used another solid pitching performance by Charlie Lowell to beat Evansville (28-24), 2-1 to begin the 2011 State Farm MVC tournament at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The start of the game was delayed two hours and forty minutes by heavy rain in the Omaha area.
Lowell improved to 10-4 on the season after he tossed 6.1 innings and allowed one run against the Aces. The left-hander, who on Monday night was named the 2011 MVC Pitcher of the Year struck out four Aces and allowed only one walk. Cale Elam went 2.2 innings to collect his fifth save of the season for Wichita State.
Cody Fick fell to 7-4 for Evansville after he went 8.0 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. The right-hander collected eleven strikeouts and walked four Shockers.
Evansville threatened in the ninth but Elam was able to close the door on the Aces with a timely strikeout and a great catch by Shockers centerfielder Kevin Hall. Eric Stamets singled with one out for the Aces but Elam was able to get Fick to strike out. With two outs, Jared Baehl laced a single to left to bring up Aces centerfielder Greg Wallace. Wallace hit a deep fly ball to center that Hall caught on a dead sprint to end the game.
Wichita State jumped out to an early lead on Evansville. Chris O'Brien, a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award and the 2011 MVC Player of the Year, doubled down the left field line with two outs in the first inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 25 games and Preston Springer brought him home with his own double to give the Shocks a 1-0 lead.
The Shockers put another run on the board in the fourth inning after Johnny Coy doubled to center to score Springer, who earlier had collected his second hit of the game.
Evansville cut the lead to 2-1 in the seventh inning with an RBI single by Stamets to score Ty Legan. Legan had led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a balk by Lowell.
Springer finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and Coy was 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Shockers.
Wichita State will now advance to the winner's bracket of Bracket A and will face Indiana State on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Shockers took two of three from the Sycamores earlier this season in Wichita.