TAMPA, Fla. (WSU, KWCH) – A four-run ninth inning lifted the Wichita State University baseball team to a 7-3 victory over the USF Bulls Saturday, May 18, at USF Baseball Stadium in the series and regular season finale for both teams.
Wichita State (26-29, 9-15 American) clinched the eighth and final seed in the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship with the win, and will face top-seeded and sixth-ranked ECU (42-13, 20-4 American) in the opening round of the tournament Tuesday, May 21, at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla.
Senior Luke Ritter went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI, while fellow senior Mason O'Brien drove in two runs on his fourth home run of the season, leading the Shockers at the plate.
Sophomore reliever Jacob Lindemann (1-0) earned the win on the mound for Wichita State after throwing two hitless innings and posting a career-high five strikeouts with just one walk.
The Bulls (26-27, 8-16 American) jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a run in the first and two in the fifth, before the Shockers charged back in the sixth, tying the game on a Ritter RBI single through the right side that scored David VanVooren, and O'Brien's towering, two-run shot to right field.
The game remained in a 3-3 stalemate until the top of the ninth, when Wichita State ignited for four runs, gaining a 7-3 lead. Freshman pinch-runner Adam Stephenson scored the opening run of the inning for the Shockers, crossing home plate on a USF throwing error with the bases loaded and one out, before Ritter roped a bases-clearing, two-out double down the left field line for the final three runs of the frame.
After a lead-off walk in the bottom of the ninth, WSU closer Mitchell Walters coaxed a fly-out, and two fielder's choice outs, securing the victory for Wichita State.
Jordan Santos went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI, pacing the Bulls in the batter's box.
USF reliever Nelson Alvarez (4-3) suffered the loss after giving up three earned runs and one unearned run on two hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 2 2/3 innings.