WICHITA - The Shockers got a complete game from starter Jordan Cooper and four RBI from senior Bret Bascue en route to a 9-2 victory in the Friday night opener against Southern Illinois.
Bascue's two-run bomb in the bottom of the third highlighted a 2-for-2 performance that also included a two-RBI double during the Shockers' (20-9. 6-1) three-run first inning that led to the Shockers' 20th win of the season.
The Shockers attacked Saluki starter Ryan Bradley early and often, tacking up five runs on five hits in the first two innings.
Led by shortstop Michael Stalter's 2-for-3 effort that resulted in a run scored and an RBI, the Salukis did their best to fight back, but managed to plate just one run in the third and another in the ninth.
Each rally attempt was cut short by Cooper (4-1) who tossed his second complete game of the season. The sophomore right-hander scattered nine hits over nine innings, walking none while striking out seven.
With the aid of a passed ball moving desginated hitter Brock Harding to third, outfielder Aaron Roberts' single to right put the Salukis (15-15, 4-3) on the board in the top of the third to cut the deficit, 5-1.
Bascue dealt Cooper some added insurance when he belted a two-run bomb to center to put the Shockers out of reach by the third inning, 7-1. An RBI single from freshman third baseman Nate Goro ended Bradley's outing for reliever Andrew Bever.
Sophomore shortstop Tyler Grimes drove in Goro to welcome Bever to the game while sending Cooper to the mound in the top of the fourth with a 9-1 advantage.
After Goro's RBI knock, Bever settled in and quieted the smoldering Shocker lineup. In 5.1 innings of work, he allowed just three hits and one walk.
The Shockers had what they needed. Back-to-back doubles in the ninth plated another run for the visiting squad, but wasn't enough as the Shockers coasted to the 9-2 victory.
Tim Kelley (4-1) will take the mound for the Shockers in game two on Saturday and Nathan Forer (1-1) is slated to start for the Salukis. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m.