Weekend review: Wichita State at Evansville

Scores: Evansville 5, WSU 1; Evansville 13, WSU 2; WSU 13, Evansville 3

Key stats: The Shockers hit .245 in three games after hitting .191 while being swept at Indiana State. 1B  Casey Gillaspie continued his superb season by going 4 for 10 with three walks and driving in two runs. The rest of the lineup gave him some help on Sunday, which is why WSU avoided the sweep. C Tyler Baker went 5 for 10 with a double in the series and SS Tanner Kirk went 3 for 8 with Sunday’s big hit, a bases-clearing double. WSU’s starting pitching, which had been excellent on the weekend, faltered with A.J. Ladwig and Cale Elam giving the Aces early leads on Friday and Saturday. Nine leadoff batters reached base against Ladwig and Elam and six scored. As a staff, WSU walked 10 and struck out 11.

Records: WSU 17-18, 3-6 MVC; UE 22-12, 4-2

  • Nine straight road games. Two 10-hour bus trips.  All in 13 days. The Shockers were 16-10 on March 30 after taking two of three from Cal State Fullerton. Now they are 17-18. While nobody wants to make excuses for road losses, it’s clear the tour of Oklahoma, Kansas and Indiana didn’t do the Shockers any favors. The injuries that started to pile up just before the road trip added to the difficulty. “It’s been draining,” coach Todd Butler said. “We haven’t been playing clean baseball. Now we can go home and work. We haven’t had practice during this period. Now we can get back home.” Weather didn’t help WSU. Last week’s game at Oral Roberts was originally scheduled for March 26. The schools rescheduled it for April 9, making that a two-game mid-week schedule. The Shockers went to Tulsa and then drove to Evansville, extending the stay away from home. “Everybody is kind of tired,” pitcher Sam Tewes said. “Everybody is groggy, sometimes, getting off the buses. But when you get to the park, it’s game time.”
  • Wichita State’s RPI plummeted from a high of No. 38 to No. 82 thanks to the eight-game losing streak. It’s a shame the Shockers are missing out on what continues to be a high-level season by the MVC (although a top-100 RPI remains helpful to others). Dallas Baptist, Indiana State and Illinois State are all in the top 40 and Baseball America projected all three as NCAA regional teams on April 10. As of Monday, the MVC ranked fifth in the RPI according to warrennolan.com.
  • Kris Gardner will start for WSU on Tuesday against Oral Roberts at Eck Stadium. The Shockers play Southern Illinois this weekend. The Salukis beat Indiana State 2-1 in 13 innings on Friday and then lost 5-4 games the next two days. SIU Friday starter Sam Coonrod struck out nine and didn’t allow a run in eight innings. The Salukis won that game despite getting no-hit for nine innings by David Stagg.

Next up: vs. Oral Roberts, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday