WICHITA - No. 24 Wichita State enjoyed an offensive eruption in Sunday's rubber match against the visiting Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, racking up 13 hits and two home runs to win the series, 15-3.
After dropping the first game of the series, the Shockers bounced back with red hot bats. Wichita State's potent offense was led once again by senior catcher Cody Lassley. He finished the weekend with seven hits, hitting a stellar .708 on the season. Fellow senior Bret Bascue was named player of the game for his solid offensive effort, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
Eagle center fielder Luke Smierciak paced the Florida Gulf Coast offense, collecting a pair of hits and an RBI in the final games of the series.
The Shockers gave sophomore starter Charlie Lowell (2-0) a four-run cushion in their very first trip to the plate. Eight Shockers stepped in the box against Eagles' starter Patrick Nathanson in the bottom of the first.
Sophomore center fielder Kevin Hall led off the game with a single to set the tone for what would be an unleashing of the bats for the Shockers. After a fielder's choice moved him to second, Hall jolted to third, putting himself in an easy spot to score from third when Lassley drove him in with his sixth hit of the series.
Struggling to find his rhythm, Nathanson threw a wild pitch to move sophomore shortstop Tyler Grimes to third. Making freshman designated hitter Preston Springer's groundout to first a productive one, driving Grimes home. Senior first baseman Clint McKeever slammed a double to the left field corner to score Lassley and Johnny Coy's base knock to left scored McKeever to round out the four-run first.
Lowell had all the run support he needed, although he joined the hit by pitch party hosted by Nathanson and the Eagles' relief pitchers in the top of the fifth. Nathanson and reliever Jason Forjet combined to hit three Shocker batters in the fourth, the most beaned Shockers since 2001 against Kansas State.
After Lowell hit a pair of Eagles and surrendered a single in the fifth, he was lifted for sophomore Remington Johnson. Johnson nabbed a line drive him back at him to end the Eagle threat.
Forjet never recorded an out in the seventh before being lifted for Barnes, who smacked McKeever with the first pitch of his outing - the fifth of the game.
After checking in just an inning earlier, senior right fielder Ryan Jones crushed a three-run bomb to dead center. His first home run of the season highlighted the Shockers' six-run fifth inning to put the game out of reach. Senior Travis Bennett's first homer as a Shocker fueled the final innings as the Shockers went on to record the commanding 15-3 victory.
The Shocks get a day of rest before getting back to Eck Stadium to play host to Central Arkansas on Tuesday, Mar. 9, at 7 p.m.