Baseball Championship: Wichita State 6, Evansville 5
No. 1 WICHITA STATE 6, No. 5 EVANSVILLE 5
WSU (41-18); UE (32-27)
WICHITA, Kan. - Top-seeded Wichita State advanced to the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game with a 6-5 win against Evansville Thursday night in a contest that stretched into the early hours Friday morning at Eck Stadium.
The Bracket B final started at 10:35 p.m. -- three hours and five minutes later than the scheduled start -- and wrapped up at 1:39 a.m.
Wichita State improved to 41-18 and will play No. 2 seed Illinois State at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Eck Stadium. No. 5 seed Evansville finished the season with a 32-27 record.
The Shockers overcame four errors to grab the win in front of a late-night crowd of 3,245.
Wichita State picked up seven hits from seven different players in the win. Eric Stamets and Greg Wallace each posted two hits for Evansville.
Shocker starting pitcher Charlie Lowell picked up the win and Logan Hoch was credited with the save.
A double into left center from Shocker right fielder Travis Bennett in the bottom of the second inning scored Preston Springer and put Wichita State's first run on the scoreboard with one out.
Shocker starting pitcher Charlie Lowell held the Aces without a hit for 2.2 innings. Ace Stamets then singled to left field with two outs in the third inning. Stamets was caught stealing at second base on throws from Lowell to first baseman Johnny Coy to short stop Tyler Grimes to close the top of the third inning.
Wichita State built up a 3-0 lead after three innings. Will Baez walked and later stole second then advanced to third base on a fly out from Cody Lassley. Jones, who also walked, stole second base. Springer was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Johnny Coy reached on an error by Ace third baseman Cody Fick, who overthrew the ball, then Coy advanced to second as Springer advanced to third on the play. Jones and Baez both scored to give the Shockers a three-run lead.
The Shockers picked up a second out against the Aces in the top of the fourth inning when Evansville's Wallace was tagged out at home on a throw from Nate Goro to catcher Lassley. Shocker pitcher Lowell then struck out a looking Nate Smith to close the inning.
Evansville's first run of the game came in the top of the fifth inning when Alex Acheson reached base on an error by Shocker short stop Tyler Grimes with two outs. Acheson advanced to second and scored Tom Heithoff, who had walked to get on base to open the inning.
Evansville cut the Shockers' lead to one run in the top of the sixth inning, fueled by two Shocker errors in the infield on throws to first base. Ace Smith reached and advanced to second base on an error by Wichita State second baseman Will Baez. Smith later scored on an error by Shocker third baseman Goro.
A single up the middle from Coy scored Springer and extended the Shockers' lead to two runs in the sixth inning. A double from Goro, who was tagged out at second base, scored Kevin Hall for a 5-2 Wichita State lead to close the inning.
A double to right center from Ace center fielder Wallace scored Stamets in the seventh inning and brought Evansville within two runs.
Baez regained Wichita State's three-run lead, scoring on a Lassley single through the left side in the seventh inning.
An error once against stung the Shockers in the eighth inning. Ace Heithoff scored on an error by Shocker catcher Lassley and Smith scored on a wild pitch to cut Wichita State's lead to one run, 6-5.
Wichita State put together a double play in the top of the ninth inning for the first two outs of the inning, igniting the home crowd. Evansville's Trentt Copeland walked and Nate Smith was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second base with two outs. Heithoff grounded out to second base to end the game.