Shocker baseball improvements start with pitching

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- Head Coach Todd Butler said he left this summer with a bad taste in his mouth.

His Shockers missed the post-season for the 5th straight year, after finishing 35-21-1 and 9-14-1 in conference play.

The pitching staff was highly criticized in 2018, giving up 218 earned runs on 466 total hits. Only Adam Keller finished with a sub-2 ERA (1.33).

Wichita State hired Mike Pelfrey as its pitching coach earlier this month, after Mike Steele stepped down in early January.

Butler says Pelfrey adds a much-needed energy to the clubhouse.

"He has been so fun to be around. You know he knows the game after being a big leaguer for 12 years, just his communication among the coaches and the players," he said. "To have a Shocker here with his talents and his knowledge of the game, our pitching staff is really excited."

A graduate of Heights High School in Wichita, Pelfrey played three seasons at Wichita State before being selected ninth overall in the 2005 amateur draft.

Pelfrey, who is a member of the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame and was an All-American for Wichita State, joins the Shockers after spending the previous two seasons as the pitching coach for the Newman University Jets.

The Shockers open their season February 15th at Grand Canyon University.