Weekend review: Northwestern at Wichita State

Shocker infielder Erik Harbutz went 6 for 9 with two walks in the series.

Scores: WSU 8, Northwestern 2; WSU 5, Northwestern 0; WSU 4, Northwestern 3 (10)

Records: WSU 34-25, NU 22-26

Key stats: The Shockers didn’t commit an error, the kind of defensive effort it will take to win the MVC Tournament. Nine Shockers pitched and and two allowed runs (Cale Elam and T.J. McGreevy). WSU hit .373, totaling 38 hits. Only four went for extra bases (two doubles, two home runs), which explains why the games were all close going into the late innings.

  • The Shockers hit. 373 to Northwestern’s .250 and had to fight to win all three games. The largest margin entering the seventh was three runs. WSU doesn’t possess the extra-base power to blow teams out.
  • While Illinois State, Missouri State and Creighton played crucial MVC series filled with close games. While WSU starters came out after 70-80 pitches, Illinois State pushed its pitchers to two complete games. Creighton and MSU spread out the innings, especially on Sunday. We’ll see if that affects this week’s tournament. The No. 1 pitchers who went Thursday will come back Tuesday, short rest for college arms used to weekly start.
  • Wichita State catcher Tyler Baker made a fantastic defensive play in the 10th inning Saturday. With a runner on first on no outs, he barehanded a bunt bouncing about eye level and threw a rope to second baseman Tanner Dearman to cut down the lead runner. The inning went nowhere and Baker’s laser played a major role in keeping it tied 3-all. “It was just kind of an instinct thing,” he said. “Brandon (Peterson) was yelling ‘two, two, two’ the whole time. So I was going off of him and trusted what he had to say.”
  • WSU RF Garrett Bayliff went 8 for 12 in the series. 3B Erik Harbutz went 6 for 9 and walked twice. CF Micah Green went 5 for 8 and drove in three runs. While 1B Casey Gillaspie went 3 for 13, he did homer for the second time in the week. He is the one guy who can give the Shockers some pop.
Next up: vs. Southern Illinois, 12:30 p.m. Tuesday (MVC Tournament)