Wichita State hosts SDSU for first home series

South Dakota State (3-8, 0-0 Summit) vs. Wichita State (6-7, 0-0 American)
Friday March 11 | 3:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
RHP Nic McCay (0-1, 9.75) vs. RHP Jace Kaminska (0-0, 6.43)

South Dakota State (3-8, 0-0 Summit) vs. Wichita State (6-7, 0-0 American)
Saturday March 12 | 2:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
LHP Cody Carlson (1-2, 5.40) against LHP Payton Tolle (2-0, 0.93)

South Dakota State (3-8, 0-0 Summit) vs. Wichita State (6-7, 0-0 American)
Sunday March 13 | 1:00 p.m. | Wichita, Kansas (Eck Stadium)
Television: ESPN Plus | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
RHP Drew Beazley (0-1, 13.50) vs. TBA

SCENE SETTING: The Shockers host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the first weekend series of the season at Eck Stadium, scheduled for three games Friday through Sunday. Wichita State started the 2022 campaign with 12 road games before hanging on to defeat Oral Roberts in Tuesday’s home opener. Three-shot matches Does Stark and Andrew Stuart led a season-best 14-hit offense as the Shockers ended ORU’s eight-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory. Wichita State opened the season dropping its first six games, the worst start to the campaign since the 1953 season, but has since won six of its last seven. The Shockers are coming off a 31-23 season a year ago, including an 18-13 mark in the American Athletic Conference that produced a third-place finish, WSU’s best since joining the AAC in 2017. Wichita State is seeking its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2013 season, a regional bid that was later canceled by the NCAA.

SHOCKER BASEBALL ON RADIO AND ESPN PLUS: KFH 97.5 FM / 1240 AM will once again serve as the primary radio for all Wichita State baseball broadcasts in 2022. Former Shocker All-American pitcher Shane Dennis will have this weekend’s call, featuring “The Voice of the Shockers” and Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Famer mike kennedy joining the team later in the season after the end of the men’s basketball season. The pre-game show begins approximately 20 minutes before the first pitch. All WSU home games at Eck Stadium in 2022 will be shown live on ESPN Plus (WatchESPN.com) with Steve stump On call. Live audio, in addition to live stats, will be available for all games at GoShockers.com/listen and ShockerStats.com.

SERIES HISTORY: The Shockers and Jackrabbits have met six times on the diamond, with WSU winning all six home games by a combined score of 96-16. Wichita State shut out SDSU 10-0 in the last meeting on May 9, 2018, holding the Jackrabbits to just four hits. Current shocks Ross Cadena and Garrett Kocis both appeared in the game for Wichita State, with Cadena recording a double and two RBIs. The other five meetings all came in 1981, when the Shockers won by scores of 18-8, 29-4, 8-2, 18-0 and 13-2. Wichita State walked 18 in Game 2, the third most single-game walks in program history.

SCOUTING IN SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: The Jackrabbits enter the weekend with a 3-8 record, having lost four games in Sugar Land, Texas to Purdue, two of three games to Incarnate Word and two of three to Central Arkansas. South Dakota State won’t play its first home game until April 5, starting the season 26 straight away from Brookings. The Jackrabbits were selected fourth in the newly reorganized Summit League, which added Northern Colorado and St. Thomas to bring the league’s membership to seven teams. SDSU finished the 2021 season 15-32 (9-19), falling twice to Oral Roberts in the Summit League tournament. This season, South Dakota State is hitting .224 as a team, with 112 strikeouts for 366 at bats (one for every 3.3 at bats). Senior Derek Hackman is hitting .424 with a team-leading 13 RBI and a team-high nine walks. The Jackrabbits pitchers compiled a 5.93 ERA over the first 11 games; despite holding opponents to less than one hit per inning pitched, SDSU hit 21 batters, threw 14 wild pitches, and committed eight relapses. On Friday, starter Nic McCay was an All-American Collegiate Baseball Freshman in 2019 but missed all of 2020 and 2021 due to injury. Head coach Rob Bishop is in his sixth season at the helm of the Jackrabbits, having amassed a 95-130 record during his time at Brookings. Bishop won 377 games at Miles City Community College and also spent six seasons at Montana State-Billings. Assistant coach Brian Grunzke faced the Shockers as an assistant with Northern Iowa in 2009, and pitching coach Kirk Clark played at Creighton.

WELCOME TO THE RANGE: First year outfielder Does Stark enjoyed his first collegiate start on Tuesday against Oral Roberts, recording a hit in each of his first three hits before finishing the day 3-for-4. Stark had already come off the bench in three games, but notched his first hits and RBI with scoring singles in the second and sixth innings, plus a highlight somersault catch to deep left field to finish the seventh.

TOLL IN TWO TIMES: While his exploits on the mound are well chronicled, a two-way freshman Payton Tolle jumped to the plate. The Yukon newcomer, Oklahoma, had two hits in each of its last four games and homered for the second straight game with a solo hit to center Tuesday against Oral Roberts. For the season, Tolle now cuts .375/.444/.708.

YOU SAY GOODBYE, AND I SAY I AGREE: Make his first collegiate start against ORU, sophomore Goodbye Cameron answered with three good innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits. Bye now started the season with 9.1 innings without giving up an earned run, collecting ten strikeouts along the way.

RUN WILD: Wichita State and South Dakota State struggled to limit opponents on base paths in the first two weeks of the season. The opponents are 24 for 28 in stolen base attempts against the Shockers, while the Jackrabbits have allowed 35 steals on 37 attempts. On the other hand, the two teams combined for just 15 stolen bases (eight for WSU, seven for SDSU).

MVPAYTON: Freshman shock Payton Tolle impressed in all facets of the game at Frisco, earning Frisco Classic MVP honors after a weekend in which he recorded two multi-game hits and played seven strong innings on the mound in a victory over the Washington State. Tolle provided arguably the Shockers’ two biggest hits of the weekend, clipping a three-point brace against Iowa on Friday to help erase a 4-0 deficit, then connecting for his first collegiate home run in the seventh inning against Texas A&M to give WSU its first lead of the game. He was named to the Frisco Classic All-Tournament team as a starting pitcher and designated hitter, and selected to the Weekly USA Honor Roll for his efforts.

HIT PARADE: Transfer to junior college Sawyre Thornhill recorded at least one hit in each of his first 12 games with the Shockers, extending the streak with a third-inning single on Sunday against Texas A&M. He was selected to the Frisco Classic All-Tournament team as an outfielder, joining Payton Tolle on the squad. Thornhill leads WSU skilled hitters in batting average (.354), hits (17), doubles (4), RBI (11) and is tied for the team lead in home runs (3).

TO TAKE A WALK: outfielder chuck ingram reversed several trends over the weekend in Frisco. Prior to Saturday’s game against Washington State, Ingram hadn’t walked twice in 2022 and had never walked twice in a single game. He then walked twice in consecutive games, adding three hits and three RBIs for good measure. Kansas City’s runner-up finished the weekend 4 for 9.

ADVANTAGE OF HOME PITCH: Eck Stadium, home of Tyler Field, has always been one of the toughest places for opponents to win in its storied history. The Shockers own an all-time home record of 1,267-376-2, including an 857-273-2 mark at Tyler Field (first season 1988). Since taking over as head coach in 2020, Eric Wedge set a 31-8 record at Eck, highlighted by an impeccable 10-0 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

RETAIN IT: Transfer of graduate Connor Holden solidified the back end of the Wichita State bullpen. Through six scoreless appearances as the Shocker closed in, Holden allowed just six baserunners on four hits and a pair of hits. Of the four saves Holden has landed, he had to throw around a runner at second with less than two outs in three of them, including Tuesday when he retired the team after a brace. The Louisville, Kentucky native was 5-1 with a 4.43 ERA and nine saves in four years at Murray State.

TRANSFER TRACKING: The Shockers added 12 transfers to the 2022 roster, including six from Division-I programs. HPR Connor Holden (Murray State), LHP austin wallace (Texas), LHP Adam Ketelson (Iowa), INF Will Charpentier (Penn State), RHP Matthew Boyer (Saint Louis) and RHP Grayson Jones (James Madison) are all heading to Wichita for 2022.

KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY: shock trainers Eric Wedge, Mike Pelfrey, Mike Sirianni and director of operations Loren Hibbs all have ties to the WSU baseball program. Wedge propelled the Shockers to a national championship as a starting catcher in 1989, earning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors along the way. Pelfrey was an All-American starter who ranks second in program history in ERA (2.18) and strikeouts (366). Sirianni was a volunteer assistant coach for the Shockers in 2015 and 2016 before moving to head coaching at Regis University. Hibbs helped WSU in the CWS program’s very first appearance in 1982, and still holds the NCAA record for single-season runs with 125.

ON THE BRIDGE: The Shockers are not playing a midweek game for the first time this season, instead continuing the home game with three games next weekend against New Mexico.

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