Wichita State (24-20, 8-5 MVC) scored early and rode a complete-game shutout from starter Tim Kelley to a 2-0 win over Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State (28-14, 10-3 MVC) on Friday night at Eck Stadium.
Kelley tossed a gem, striking out a career-high 11, while allowing just four hits and walking just one. His counterpart Eric Valdez also threw a complete game going all eight innings, allowing two runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out eight.
The Shocker offense provided just enough support to get the win, scoring one run in both the second and third innings. Chris O'Brien led the Shocker offense going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Seven other Shockers recorded one hit apiece with Josh Rosecrans and Will Baez recording the RBIs.
After a solid first two innings from starter Kelley, the Shockers broke the scoreless tie in the second. With one out Chris O'Brien ripped a ball down the right field line and hustled into second for a double. Mitch Caster moved O'Brien to third on a groundout to shortstop, and then Josh Rosecrans turned a 93-mph fastball from ISU starter Eric Valdez into a two-out RBI single up the middle. Taylor Brown followed with a single, but Valdez got Cody Lassley looking to minimize the damage.
The Shockers put together more offense in the third inning with a one-out RBI single by Will Baez. Ryan Jones found the gap in right-center for a double, and then Baez ripped a single to centerfield. The throw coming home hit Jones as he slid in to home, allowing Baez to advance to second. Baez got a great jump on Valdez and stole third, but back-to-back strikeouts kept the Shockers from putting up a big number in the inning.
Meanwhile, Kelley continued to cruise through the Indiana State order through the first five innings. The sophomore allowed just a two-out single in the fourth and struck out six Sycamore hitters in the process. Kelley walked none and hit one batter, facing just two over the minimum in the span, and had thrown just 60 pitches. In the sixth, Kelley hit ISU's Ben Ferrell for the second time in the game, but got leadoff hitter Ryan Strausborger to hit the first pitch into a double play. Kyle Burnam then became Kelley's seventh strikeout victim of the day, protecting the Shockers 2-0 lead.
Valdez, on the other hand, battled back after the Shockers posted runs in the second and third, allowing just one hit and facing only one over the minimum in the next three innings. O'Brien's second hit of the day, a seeing-eye single up the middle, in the sixth kept Valdez from a three-inning hitless stretch.
In the seventh, the Indiana State offense tried to piece together a rally after back-to-back, one-out singles by Nick Ciolli and Luke Fieser, but Kelley got Tyler Graham to bounce into ISU's second double play of the game.
The pitcher's duel continued into the eighth between Kelley and Valdez. In the top half of the inning, Kelley retired the Sycamores in order and recorded his 10th strikeout in the process. Valdez was up to the task in the bottom half of the inning, battling through a walk and a hit batsmen to retire the Shockers.
Then in the ninth, Kelley got Strausborger to pop out, then walked Kyle Burnam, bringing the tying run to the plate. He got the ISU three-hitter Brady Shoemaker to fly out to left field for the second out. Ciolli, the next batter, became the tying run on the bases with a line-drive single through the left side. But, Kelley finished off his complete-game shutout with his career-high 11th strikeout.
The Shockers and Sycamores will be back in action Saturday in the second game of a three-game set at Eck Stadium. The first pitch is slated for 2 p.m.