WICHITA, Kan.- Andy Dirks led the Wichita State (35-11, 13-4 MVC) offense with two RBI and a 3-for-4 performance, en route to a 5-3 victory over Northern Iowa (25-17, 11-6 MVC).
UNI’s three runs were all unearned as Aaron Shafer went eight innings and gave up four hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts. Khol Nanney closed the ninth and faced a minimum three batters, giving up a hit, but forcing a double play to end the game.
Each team scored a pair of runs in the first inning. Deric Manrique singled to left field in the first at bat of the game and Dane Embury reached on a walk. Conor Gillaspie made two errors on one play, allowing Brandon Douglas to reach safely and Manrique came around to score. Chris Lopez drove in run two with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Dirks drew a lead off walk to start the bottom half. Ryan Jones doubled through the right side to move the runner to third. Gillaspie walked, but was quickly erased on a double play hit by Dusty Coleman, although Jones scored while the ball was in play.
The Panthers scratched out another run in the fourth with a lead off walk to Brett Douglas. Travis Hendrix bunted for a single and Gillaspie, with his third error of the day, threw wildly, allowing Douglas to score from first.
Wichita State answered with two runs after a single popped into shallow left-center by Josh Workman. Kenny Williams, Jr., had a hit through the right side and Cody Lassley drove in Workman with a sacrifice fly. Dirks singled to right field, plating Williams, and giving the Shockers a 4-3 lead.
WSU added an insurance run in the sixth to bring the final score of 5-3. Workman again led off the inning with a single. Tyler Weber moved the runner with a sacrifice bunt and Workman advanced to third on a fly ball from Williams. Dirks continued his streak with an RBI single through the left side.
The series wraps up Sunday afternoon with a scheduled 1 p.m. start time.