WICHITA, Kan. – A two-run homerun by junior Luke Smierciak leveled the game in the top of the fifth, but runs in the sixth and seventh gave No. 24 Wichita State a 5-3 victory over No. 30 FGCU on Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium. Junior Richie Erath recorded six strikeouts in five innings pitched.
The Eagles record drops to 7-3 in the 2010 campaign while Wichita State improves to 6-1 on the season.
In a no-decision start, junior Richie Earth (West Palm Beach, Fla.) fanned six batters through five innings, giving up four hits and three runs (two earned) with three walks. Freshman R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla.) was given the loss, allowing two hits and one run (one earned) with two strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning.
Jordan Cooper earned the win for Wichita State in the eight-inning performance. Cooper gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk. T.J. Mcgreevy picked up the save for the Shockers, throwing one inning and recording one strikeout.
The Shockers were able to take a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second, as Cody Lassley connected with a 1-2 pitch and sent it over the left field fence for a solo homerun. Later in the inning, Garrett Bayliff struck out swinging with runners on the corners, but advanced to first base on a wild pitch and scored the runner from third (2-0). Wichita State would move one more run across the plate in their half inning on a fielder’s choice RBI from Tyler Grimes (3-0).
The Eagles would even the score in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman Kurtis Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off the inning with double down the left field line. Senior right fielder Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Mullaney to second, but a throwing error on the play sent Mullaney across the plate and advanced Chester to second base (1-0). Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) would come to the plate and send a 3-2 delivery over the left field wall for his first homerun of the year (3-3).
FGCU would make the first pitching change of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing in Brown to replace Erath. Wichita State’s Bret Bascue came in as a pinch hitter to lead off the inning, and gave them a 4-3 lead on a solo homerun to left center field. Brown would strikeout the next two batters before Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) came in to record the final out of the inning.
A Will Baez single to center field would lead off the home portion of the seventh inning for Wichita State. Baez moved to second on a groundout to shortstop, stole third base and come across the plate on a sacrifice fly to left field by Preston Springer. This would prove to be the last run of the game, as the Shockers went on to the 5-3 victory.
The Blue and Green picked up their three runs on six hits. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) went 2-for-4. Mullaney went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Smierciak went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI on the homerun. Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) each went 1-for-4 and Chester added a run scored.
The Eagles will be back in action on Sunday afternoon for the final game of the three-game series with the Shockers. The first pitch from Eck Stadium is scheduled for a 1 p.m. EST start.