May 31--The series history between Wichita State and the University of New Orleans can hardly be characterized as intense or filled with bad blood. They've only squared off 13 times on the diamond. Their 14th meeting, however, figures to be one rife with tension.
When the Regional assignments where announced on Monday morning, New Orleans Head Coach Tom Walter gave effusive praise for the Shockers.
"Wichita State is one of the most tradition-rich programs in the country, and they have a fantastic team this year. This will be a tremendous weekend for our program."
But Walter didn't stop there, adding "When you look at the host sites, they're probably the worst of the number-one seeds and I think the committee felt we were probably the top four-seed out there. I think we'll be able to score some runs on them."
The Privateers (37-24) happen to be fifth in the country in home runs with 89, there's plenty of pop at the plate. But it's that first part of the quote that has the Shockers full, undivided attention.
"It didn't sit too well with me" said senior infielder Derek Schermerhorn, "We have to come out and take it to them."
The players watched Walter's comments on a video in the lockerroom yesterday, and were still buzzing about it during their open practice on Thursday morning.
"Their coach will say that no matter who they are playing, but we took it personally" added junior Damon Sublett, "Hopefully that will give us a little extra momentum to come in, shut them down, put up a lot of runs and win the game.".
Shocker head coach Gene Stephenson opted to not shy away from Walter's remarks about Wichita State baseball.
"We should take it personally. If you don't have pride in what you do and realize that other people don't have respect for you, then you should take it personally. We should have some idea that we're going to show these guys."
The Shockers and Privateers take the diamond on Friday night at 7pm at Eck Stadium to open NCAA Regional play.