WICHITA, Kan.- After more than a 10-year drought, Wichita State clinched a regional championship by defeating Arizona, 3-0, Monday night at Eck Stadium.
Travis Banwart (10-5) came back from an all but impressive outing Friday night to throw a two-hitter against the Wildcats. Banwart threw 7.2 scoreless innings and tied his career-best in strikeouts with 12.
The junior right-hander faced the minimum number of batters through four innings, while striking out the side in the bottom half of the fourth. The Wildcats didn’t manage a hit until the fifth, a Bill Rhinehart single to right field. Rhinehart had drawn a walk in the second, but Brad Glenn cleared the bases by hitting into a double play.
Noah Krol earned his twelfth save of the year, coming in with the tying run at the plate and two out in the eighth inning. Krol completed a hitless 1.1 innings and struck out all four batters he faced.
Wichita State had base runners in every inning except the eighth, but only managed to take advantage in one. That was all the Shockers would need, however, as Banwart and Krol held Arizona at bay, allowing a total of six runners all night.
The Shockers broke through when Tyler Weber hit a homerun to left field in the top of the fifth. Dusty Coleman was hit by a pitch and Andy Dirks took one up the middle to keep the rally going. The Wildcats brought in ace Preston Guilmet and senior Derek Schermerhorn greeted him with a double to left field that brought in Coleman. Matt Brown crossed another run with a ground ball to second and gave the Shockers a 3-0 lead.
Arizona threatened in the sixth as Dwight Childs, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning moved to second with a single by Jon Gaston. The Shockers were able to turn a second double play to end the inning.
Schermerhorn and Dirks each ended with two hits apiece. Gaston and Rhinehart had the only hits for Arizona. Starter Mike Colla suffered the loss and fell to 3-3, allowing all three earned runs on five hits.
Wichita State moves on to face UC Irvine in the Super Regional this weekend.
Schermerhorn was named Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Wichita Regional.
The following players were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Catcher – Tyler Weber, Wichita State
First Base – Derek Schermerhorn, Wichita State
Second Base – Johnny Giavotella, New Orleans
Third Base – Conor Gillaspie, Wichita State
Shortstop – Dusty Coleman, Wichita State
Designated Hitter – Josh Workman, Wichita State
Outfielder – Bill Rhinehart, Arizona
Outfielder – Andy Dirks, Wichita State
Outfielder – Brandon Bowser, New Orleans
Pitcher – Travis Banwart, Wichita State
Pitcher – Jason Stoffel, Arizona