Courtesy of Wichita State Athletics
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Wichita State started the 2024 season on the right note, recording two wins on opening day of the Bearkat Classic over Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State.
The Shockers needed extra innings to record a win in the nightcap over the host Bearkats.
Game 1 vs. Stephen F. Austin | Wichita State 7, SFA 4
Wichita State collected only five hits in the opener, but three of them went over the fence. Lainee Brown was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. She was the only Shocker to collect multiple hits. CC Wong and Sydney Zenon added solo homers.
Zenon made her collegiate debut and recorded her first career hit – a solo home run in her second career at bat.
Lauren Howell started in the circle but couldn't make it out of the second inning. She allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. Alex Aguilar (1-0) picked up the win in 4.2 innings of relief work, allowing one run on three hits. She struck out three and walked one.
It didn't take long for Wichita State to break into the scoring column. Brown blasted a first inning, two-out, three-run homer to give the Shockers an early lead.
The Lumberjacks answered with a three-run top of the third, signaling the end of Howell's day. Aguilar entered with a pair of runners on base, but retired the first two hitters to keep the score tied.
Solo home runs from Wong and Zenon in the bottom of the third and bottom of the fourth made it 5-4.Wichita State added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth on a Stephen F. Austin fielding error, allowing Brown and Taylor Sedlacek to score.
Aguilar retired the final six hitters to record the win out of the bullpen.
Game 2 at Sam Houston | Wichita State 7, Sam Houston 3 (8 innings)
Addison Barnard regrouped from an 0-for-4 opener vs. Stephen F. Austin with a two-homer game. It marked her 12th career multi-home run game. She also scored three runs. CC Wong continued her hot start with another home run and a single in three at bats. Bailey Urban drove in two on a double, and Taylor Sedlacek and Sami Hood each recorded a hit and an RBI.
Alison Cooper received a no decision in the start. She threw 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Freshman Chloe Barber (1-0) made her collegiate debut in relief, earning her first career victory. She tossed 2.0 innings of near-perfect relief, allowing no hits or runs and striking out five.
On the very first pitch of the game, Barnard delivered a towering shot over the wall in center for her 70th career home run. The Bearkats evened it at 1-1 in the home half of the first on an RBI infield single.
After a scoreless second inning, Wong homered for the second time of the day to make it 2-1. Sam Houston answered once again with an RBI double, tying the game at 2-2 after 3.0 innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, Sam Houston grabbed a 3-2 lead on a Shocker error. The equalizing run came in the next half inning on Barnard's second homer of the game. Both bombs came on the first pitch of the at bat.
Neither team could manufacture a run in the sixth or seventh, sending the game to extras. In the top of the eighth, Wichita State quickly loaded the bases, and the Shockers took advantage. A sac fly from Sedlacek started a four-run top of the eighth. Urban drove in a pair on a double, and Sami Hood tacked on one more behind an RBI single.
Barber slammed the door shut by striking out the side to record her first collegiate win.
Wichita State is back for two more on Saturday against Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston at 3:30 pm and 6 pm.