WICHITA, Kan.- Wichita State forced a second championship game set for 7 p.m., Monday night as the Shockers topped Arizona 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday.
With the score even at three a piece Bret Bascue drew a pinch hit walk and Ryan Jones replaced him on the bases to run. Dusty Coleman laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Jones to second. Derek Schermerhorn sent a line drive to left-center to plate Jones and win the game.
"I knew I had a chance to win the game," Schermerhorn said. "I saw him earlier and he walked me so I saw his pitches and I was pretty confident. I was just trying to hit something into the gap."
Closer Noah Krol got the last Arizona batter of the eighth inning and struck out Mike Weldon to start the ninth. The senior gave a free pass to Jon Gaston but Colt Sedbrook lined into a double play for two quick outs.
Krol improved to 2-2 on the year with 1.1 hitless innings. Daniel Schlereth was pegged with his first loss of the season, although he allowed only one hit in three innings of work. His three walks proved costly, as the sole hit drove in a walked batter.
Shocker starter Anthony Capra retired nine consecutive batters after giving up a two-out single to C.J. Ziegler in the top of the first. Arizona’s counterpart, David Coulon, matched Capra, sitting down his first six hitters before issuing a walk to Tyler Weber to start the third. Tyler Hill sacrificed him to second, but a strikeout and groundout stranded the runner.
Bill Rhinehart broke the zeroes on the scoreboard with a solo homerun to right field in the fourth.
The Shockers answered in the bottom half of the frame as Derek Schermerhorn hit a lead-off single through the right side hole. Damon Sublett was hit by a pitch and Matt Brown laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners to second and third. Conor Gillaspie found that same hole for a two RBI single that gave the Shockers a 2-1 lead.
Hunter Pace reached on a base hit bunt in the fifth. Gillaspie waited as the ball rolled down the third base line, but it never went foul as it hit the bag and was ruled a fair ball. Pace stole second and a wild throw by shortstop Dusty Coleman allowed the unearned run to score to knot it at two.
Sublett led off the sixth with a double off the right-center wall and Brown dropped a single in front of center fielder T.J. Steele. Sublett advanced to third on a Gillaspie fielder’s choice that erased Brown. Designated hitter Danny Jackson hit a towering ball to deep left field and the sacrifice fly moved up both runners, crossing Sublett to make it 3-2.
Diallo Fon started a rally for the Wildcats in the top of the seventh with a single back up the middle. A sacrifice bunt by Dwight Childs pushed the runner to second and pinch hitter Erik Castro drew a walk. Gaston popped out to the catcher for a second out, but Sedbrook blooped a single to right field to bring home Fon and even the score again. Kyle Touchatt came on in relief and threw a wild pitch that left runners threatening at second and third but held them there with a strikeout of Ziegler.
am so proud of our players," said WSU Head Coach Gene Stephenson. "They
have really competed well since losing that heartbreaker the first
night. We played well, we had some mistakes tonight. They were little
ones, but they cost us each time. But we still battled back and did the
job to score and win. (We had) great pitching and great defense at
critical times, and a tremendous crowd. I don’t think there is any
greater feeling than having that many people screaming and hollering
for you and being able to deliver for them.”
Monday night’s game will determine the regional champion with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.