Around the Bases
No. 10 LBSU tops No. 13
Wichita for second straight day
By Abbey Mastracco
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Shockers failed to shock
by pulling off an upset win in California, as a back and forth
game at Blair Field ended in No. 13 Wichita State (3-2) being
handed just their second loss in a row by No. 10 Long Beach
State (4-2), on a cloudy Saturday afternoon at Blair Field.
A five-run sixth inning, in which three Wichita pitchers faced
11 batters, gave the Dirtbags a series-clinching victory, as the
Shockers eventually fell 8-5. This was LBSU's second consecutive
series win against a top-15 team.
Despite the second series win, the Dirtbags have been struggling
offensively this season. Head coach Mike Weathers said this was
the offensive outing he was looking for out of his team.
"We geared up for them to do some things different," Weathers
said. "I thought they had a really good batting practice before
the game. We emphasized some things and then they did it, and it
carried over into the game."
The Schockers' offense struggled to gain a strong enough lead,
as they left 10 men on base.
"We had numerous opportunities today to blow the game open,"
said Gene Stephenson, Wichita State head coach. "We had chances
today to really do some good but we didn't capitalize on them."
Both teams battled back and forth, as starters Aaron Shafer and
Vance Worley had bumpy outings for Wichita State and LBSU.
Shocker starter Shafer gave up two runs early on, one in the
first and one in the third, and effectively shut the Dirtbags
down, almost getting better toward the end of his outing
retiring 10 batters in a row, until the bottom of the sixth,
when LBSU put up five more on the board.
Stephenson feels that part of the problem is the depth of Blair
Field. The dimensions, which go as deep as 400 feet in center
field, coupled with the thick marine air make offensive surges
"Even if we pitched the way we wanted to pitch, five or six runs
in this ballpark wouldn't be enough," Stephenson said.
The Shockers backed up Shafer's solid outing by taking a 4-2
lead in the fifth inning. Tied at 2-all, Bret Basque led off
with a single, and an error by second baseman Jason Tweedy put
Andy Dirks on first. With no outs, and a runner in scoring
position, Ryan Jones got aboard with a bunt single to load the
bases. Connor Gillaspie slapped a ball just over Worley's head
for a 2-RBI single to take a 2-run Wichita State lead.
Worley got himself out of the inning, retiring the next three
On track for the win, Shafer took the mound for the Shockers
with a 4-2 lead and retired his tenth batter in a row. But
Shafer pitched himself into trouble soon after, as the Dirtbags
put in a 5-run rally.
After hitting Taylor Krick, Shafer gave up a double to Ted
Lemasters and walked Rylan Sandoval to load the bases.
Jason Tweedy then roped a 2-RBI double down the right field
line, tying the game at 4-4. Shafer was replaced on the mound by
Logan Hoch, who immediately gave up a pinch hit double to Jason
Corder, to drive in two more, leaving the Shockers down by two
with just one out.
Matt Smith came on the mound and recorded the second out, but
Danny Espinosa kept the inning alive with a seeing-eye single to
drive in Corder. Smith loaded the bases, walking Shane Peterson
and hitting Zach Barger with a pitch, but got himself out of it,
forcing Taylor Krick to ground out.
The Dirtbags added an extra insurance run in the seventh on a
squeeze play driving in Sandoval.
"Shafer should have been sharper than he was today," Stephenson
said. "I think that our relief pitching is a real sore spot
Shafer finished up 5.1 innings, giving up six earned runs on
eight hits, walking two and striking out one.
Andy Dirks led the Shockers at the plate. Dirks went 3-for-5
with a triple and a run. Conor Gillaspie went 2-for-5 with one
run scored and two RBI.
"We're still light years away from being a good team," said Gene
Stephenson, the Shockers' head coach. "We don't play all of the
phases of the game the way I want to play it."
For the Dirtbags, Danny Espinosa, who has started the season
very hot, coming in today batting .600, went 2-for-5 with one
run scored, Taylor Krick went 2-for-4 with a run, an RBI and was
hit by a pitch. Four Dirtbags had multi-hit games.
LBSU relief combined for 2.2 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball.
Tyler Topp fanned three, as he helped Worley earn his first win
on the season.