Wichita State (13-23, 2-7 American) vs. Oklahoma (21-13, 4-5 Big 12)
Tuesday April 19 | 6:30 p.m. | Norman, Oklahoma (L. Dale Mitchell Park)
Television: Sports earlier ($) | Radio: KFH 97.5FM/1240AM
HPL Caden Favors (0-1, 3.22) vs LHP Braden Carmichael (3-0, 7.54)
SCENE SETTING: Wichita State is looking to get back to winning ways with a midweek game at Oklahoma on Tuesday night. After a Monday night loss at the hands of Kansas State, the Shockers have lost 10 of the last 11 games and haven’t held a lead in the last 50 innings dating back to the series finale at East Carolina. . From the eighth inning Saturday to the ninth inning of Monday’s loss, the Shockers roster has produced just seven singles in 24 innings. The five-game losing streak at home is the longest such streak for the WSU program since the 1970 club lost seven straight home games. 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. “The Voice of the Shockers” and Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Famer mike kennedy will take the call on Tuesday, with the pre-game show starting about 20 minutes before the first pitch. All WSU home games at Eck Stadium in 2022 will be broadcast live on ESPN Plus (WatchESPN.com) featuring former Shocker All-American pitcher Shane Dennis manage broadcast tasks. 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 Sooners have met 31 times, with Oklahoma holding an 18-13 lead in the all-time series. Tuesday was originally scheduled as the last of three meetings between the two programs in 2022, but the March 22 match at Eck Stadium was postponed due to rain and is now scheduled for May 16. The first game of this season yielded a 6-2 victory in Oklahoma. on February 22, highlighted by 11 stolen bases earlier. Each of Wichita State’s last three wins in the series (2018, 2017 and 2015) have ended with two points or less.
SCOUTING IN OKLAHOMA: The Sooners put a 21-13 overall record on the line on Tuesday, including a healthy 4-5 for sixth in the Big 12 conference standings. Oklahoma played a non-conference split series over the weekend , hosting Pacific for two games and Lamar for one. The Sooners beat Pacific in both games but allowed 20 hits in a 14-11 loss to Lamar on Friday night. Led by a balanced offensive offense that includes four individual hitters in the conference’s top 20 batting average, the Sooners are averaging 6.6 points per game. Oklahoma stole 80 bases on 102 attempts, second-best in the Big 12, and three different Sooners have stolen 13 or more bases. Oklahoma’s pitchers struggled to hit a 5.53 ERA, despite having the second-fewest walks in the conference (128). The Sooners will start left-hander Braden Carmichael on Tuesday, a left-hander who won over Wichita State earlier this season with five one-running innings. Carmichael hasn’t lasted more than four innings in any other start this season. Closer Trevin Michael is the headliner of the pitching team, with five saves and a 2.67 ERA on 27.0 frames so far this season. Defensively, the Sooners committed 42 errors, the second most in the conference. Oklahoma is led by fifth-year head coach Skip Johnson, who puts a 133-93 record on the line Tuesday. A former assistant coach at Texas under Augie Garrido, Johnson spent one season as the Sooners’ pitching coach before taking over from Pete Hughes, who is now Kansas State head coach. Six-year major league player and OU alum Reggie Willits is in his first season on the staff as a volunteer assistant coach. Oklahoma was picked sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll after a 27-28 (11-13) season a year ago.
COLD STRETCH: One of the main culprits in Wichita State’s 1-10 record over the last 11 games is a brawling formation that combined for a .226 batting average. The Shockers are averaging just 3.5 carries per game during the streak. With runners in scoring position and two outs, WSU produced a .195 batting average.
ROGERS RAKES: One of the bright spots of the weekend against Cincinnati was the emergence of a redshirt freshman Jordan Rogers, who notched two career firsts. Thursday night he produced his first career three-hit game, including a pair of doubles, then followed it up Saturday with his first college home run. Rogers continued his fine hit with two more hits on Monday, including an RBI double. The Robinson, Texas native has raised his batting average from 83 runs over the past two weeks to his current mark of .259.
EXIT: Saturday’s 14-inning marathon loss featured just the fifth occurrence in program history of a Wichita State player making five walks in a single game, as Sawyre Thornhill accomplished the feat over the course of seven on-set appearances. It was the first time since the 2006 season that a WSU player walked five times, when Derek Schermerhorn made five free passes in a game against Northern Colorado.
NOT SO WILD: Closer Connor Holden staged its best outing of the season Friday night against Cincinnati, firing four scoreless frames out of the Shocker bullpen with six strikeouts, a season-best two. For the season, Holden was scoreless in 20.0 innings of work, while racking up 25 punches. Despite the overall sterling numbers, Holden hasn’t recorded a save since Wichita State’s March 8 home opener against Oral Roberts.
IS NOT A LIE: Despite losing in Saturday’s series finale to Cincinnati, Goodbye Cameron continued their incredible start to the 2022 season with another quality outing. Bye gave up just four hits and two runs in 7.0 innings, striking out six and walking five. Despite giving up season highs in hits and earned runs, Bye’s ERA remains a national record 0.61, and his 3.65 hits allowed per nine innings ranks second. Over 44.0 total innings this season, Bye allowed just two extra hits.
MORE STRIATED: Junior Sawyre Thornhill already has a 19-game hitting streak under his belt in the 2022 season and has reached base via hit or walk in all 35 games played. Interestingly, despite leading Wichita State with nine multi-hit games this season, Thornhill did not record a three-hit game. He extended the streak Monday with a single in the fourth inning.
PRESS THE CLUTCH: Wichita State’s recent offensive struggles have been exacerbated by a lack of success in high-leverage situations. The Shockers are hitting just .224 with runners in scoring position and just .212 with two outs. Opponents, meanwhile, score 0.278 and 0.258 respectively in those same two categories.
RUNNING MAN: outfielder Cut Cornblum established himself as Wichita State’s top base running threat. On a team that has stolen just 29 bases in 42 attempts, Cornblum is now 9-for-9 after sweeping second base in Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati. For his career, the second succeeded 28 of 33 stolen goals (85%).
ONLINE JUGGLING: Eric Wedge continues to tinker with the starting lineup in search of consistent production. In 36 games, the Shockers did not use the same starters and batting order in consecutive games. Cut Cornblum, chuck ingram and Xavier Casserille have all started in seven different places in the batting order this season.
SENIOR SETTLEMENT: Two of Wichita State’s most productive hitters in the 2021 season had slow starts in the 2022 campaign. Garrett Kocis led the Shockers with 12 homers in just 36 games played last season, while Jack Sigrist was the leading returning hitter after averaging .321 a season ago. The tandem is hitting .183 and .176 in the first 35 games of the season, with five additional combined hits.
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 1,272-386-2, including an 862-283-2 mark at Tyler Field (first season 1988). Since taking over as head coach in 2020, Eric Wedge set a 36-18 record at Eck, highlighted by an impeccable 10-0 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
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 head straight home to Eck Stadium for a three-game conference series against UCF starting Friday night.