No. 23 Wichita State dominates No. 9 Arkansas
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - No. 23 Wichita State hit the 9th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks with a knockout punch in the first inning on the way to a 10-2 walk-off, run-rule Tuesday night at Wilkins Stadium.
In front of a sellout crowd, Wichita State (20-5) recorded its highest-ranked win since defeating No. 6 Oklahoma State in 2021.
The Shockers scored eight of their 10 runs in the bottom of the first, sending 13 to the plate.
Sydney McKinney was stellar, as usual, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. Lauren Lucas was 2-for-3 with a triple, home run and three RBI. Zoe Jones had a pair of singles to go with an RBI and two runs. Lauren Mills had one hit, but it was a two-run home run.
Addison Barnard tripled and Krystin Nelson singled to round out the hits.
The star of the night might have just come from the circle. The Arkansas transfer, Lauren Howell, was dialed in against her former team. She picked up her 10th win of the season behind four strikeouts and allowed only two runs on five hits against a powerful offensive lineup.
Howell appeared in just 13 total games in two seasons with Arkansas but is now 10-1 in 12 appearances for the Shockers.
Arkansas took advantage of a one-out walk in the top of the first and turned it into a run on an RBI double.
That 1-0 lead for the visitors quickly evaporated in the home half of the first. Wichita State put an 8-spot on the Hogs behind six hits and three home runs. Lucas started the scoring onslaught with a three-run home run on the first pitch of the at-bat. After a Jone single, Mills demolished a two-run homer into the street in left-center. The final three runs came off the bat of McKinney. The All-American was 2-for-2 in the inning with a single, home run, and three RBI.
After 4.0 scoreless innings on both sides, Arkansas got a run back in the top of the sixth on an RBI single. At one point Howell retired 13 straight Arkansas hitters.
Wichita State entered the bottom half of the sixth, leading 8-2, and immediately went back to work at the plate. A leadoff triple from Lucas started the offensive machine. Jones, the very next batter, smoked a single back up the middle to make it 9-2.
After a fielding error, a Sami Hood sac bunt, and a Taylor Sedlacek walk, Wichita State had the bases loaded with just one out. Lainee Brown hit a chopper to short, who threw home looking to get the force out, but the catcher tried to tag Jones instead of just touching home plate. Jones slid under the tag signaling the run-rule, walk-off style.
Wichita State welcomes Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, and Minnesota to Wilkins Stadium for the Shocker Invitational, March 17-19.