A few baseball updates two days before Wichita State’s opener against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville:
- Will there be an opener on Friday? Coach Todd Butler is cautiously optimistic. A crew is clearing snow off the field this afternoon and warming temps (45 by Thursday!) may make it possible. If the teams don’t play Friday, Butler would like to play two on Saturday.
- Butler waits, not altogether patiently, on a ruling from the NCAA regarding the Under Armour investigation. “We still do not have an answer from the NCAA,” Butler said. “It’s kind of been a little stressful just figuring out who is going to be able to play.” While Butler declined to reveal players he expects to be suspended, he did say the pitching staff will be most affected. As many as 11 Shockers could sit out six, 12 or 18 games for their role in ordering non-baseball gear at a 50-percent discount through Under Armour. That may require juggling of roles early in the season. “Position players, you can kind of adjust,” Butler said. “We may have a starter who’s forced to relieve, or vice versa.” Butler has lineups prepared to account for possible suspensions. Should WSU not hear from the NCAA, he is prepared to sit players and count on the NCAA honoring those games as time-served. WSU has asked for leniency on the suspensions, reducing them to three, six and nine games, because it self-reported the violations.
- WSU will throw Cale Elam in the opener, followed by A.J. Ladwig and Garrett Brummett.
- The top of the batting order is set with Tanner Dearman leading off and serving as the DH. Butler is impressed with his ability to get on base and run and likes the idea of him getting on in front of first baseman Casey Gillaspie in the three-hole and third baseman Chase Simpson. Same with right fielder Garrett Bayliff, who will bat second.