WICHITA, Kan.- The runs poured on slowly, but offense never waned as Wichita State pounded out 14 hits in the 7-3 defeat of New Orleans.
Derek Schermerhorn ended a triple shy of the cycle and Dusty Coleman broke out of a slump, going 3-for-4 with a run. Shocker starter Aaron Shafer threw six strong innings as WSU hitters worked their way through the UNO bullpen. Shafer moved to 8-2 on the year, giving up two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Damon Sublett started the charge with a two-out double in the top of the first. Right fielder Drew Anderson made a diving effort, but the ball fell into the right-center gap. Matt Brown drove the run in with a line drive dropped in front of center fielder Brandon Bowser.
The bottom half of the inning proved eventful as Bowser led-off with a double down the left field line and took third with a stolen base. Joey Butler grounded out before T.J. Baxter hit a high fly ball to the outfield. Left fielder Tyler Hill snatched the ball and the umpire signaled out, but Bowser motored home without tagging third. Baxter continued to second thinking the ball had dropped in and confused by the runner, the Shockers threw the ball around the infield before finally taking it to third to tag the bag and complete the double play.
The Shockers knocked out starter Matt McKissick in the top of the third with back-to-back singles by Schermerhorn and Damon Sublett and a walk to Matt Brown that loaded the bases. Reliever David Burch issued a two-out walk to Tyler Weber and took care of the rest, but not before giving up a sacrifice fly to Conor Gillaspie that plated Schermerhorn.
Coleman singled up the middle to get on board for a two-run homer lifted over the left-center wall by Schermerhorn. The homerun in the top of the fourth was the senior’s seventh of the year.
New Orleans broke through in the bottom half of the frame to cut it to 4-1. Butler took one back up the middle and Baxter drew a walk. Johnny Giavotella lined one to shallow left field to cross a run, but the Shockers rolled up a badly-needed double play and Shafer struck out Josh Tarnow to get out of the jam.
The Privateers again brought in a new pitcher in a bases loaded situation. This time there were two outs, and Matt Wagner came in to force a groundout and end the inning.
Nick Schwaner tied a New Orleans record for homeruns in a single season when the freshman hit his ninth, a solo shot that just squeezed inside the right field foul pole, making it 4-2.
The Shockers added one in the sixth as a Brown single drove in Schermerhorn, who had collected a double to right-center field.
Noah Booth had shaken off Friday night’s rocky outing and looked like his normal self. The senior lefty took over in the seventh and sat down seven consecutive hitters. Andy Dirks made a diving catch in center field to save a perfect seventh inning and Booth picked up four strikeouts over three innings.
Wichita State kept it going in the eighth with a two-out double by Gillaspie, shot down the right field line. Josh Workman poked one through a hole between first and second to push across Gillaspie. Wagner took Tyler Weber to a 1-2 count, but was replaced by Stephen Whalen in the middle of the at bat. Whalen proceeded to hit Weber with his first pitch and then gave up an RBI single through the left side to Tyler Hill before managing the third out.
The Privateers scratched one out in the bottom of the ninth before Booth struck out Drew Anderson to wrap up the game. Baxter started the inning with a fly out to center field, but Giavotella took one up the middle for a base hit. Dirks got another out with a fly ball from Greg Wolfe, but let a hit from Tarnow drop in front of him. Schwaner hit a slow pop up that landed out of the reach of both Gillaspie and Booth. Giavotella, running with contact, scored on the play.
McKissick fell to 2-3 with the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits in just two innings of work.
Wichita State faces Arizona in the 7 p.m. game Sunday night. The Shockers must defeat the Wildcats in order to force a game seven Monday at 7 p.m.