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By George Stieren

FRISCO, Texas – Wichita State looked sharp Saturday afternoon, turning in a solid all-round game to earn an 8-2 decision over Washington State on Saturday afternoon at Riders Field in the Frisco Classic.

The Shockers showcased a steady attack with stellar efforts both from the mound and the plate.

Wichita State starter Payton Tolle (2-0) secured the win after scattering six hits over seven innings, allowing just one run by way of a solo homer. The left-hander's outing was on par with others this season – his third-straight start of at least six innings granting one run or fewer. The Shockers bullpen kept the door shut for the final two with LJ McDonough striking out five in two innings, conceding only a solo homer.

Meanwhile, the offense scored in four different innings, cashing in on three Cougars’ defensive miscues. Winning manager Eric Wedge was effusive in praising Tolle. “Fantastic,” said Wedge. “He’s been our most consistent starter this year.” Wedge was equally pleased with the offense, calling it his team’s most balanced game this season. “We talk about doing it one through nine, and not just relying on this guy or that guy. It was nice to see some guys come through today.”

“Credit to (Wichita State),” said Washington State Head Coach Eric Green. “I think the story of the game was free bases on our side.”

Wazzu’s McKabe Cottrell (1-2) went 3 ½ innings in the losing effort, allowing four runs – three of them earned.

Wichita State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when chuck Ingram and Jordan Rogers raced home on Ross Cadena’ two-RBI single to left field. Ingram and Rogers each worked walks to begin the inning.

The Shockers added on in the fourth inning, also courtesy of Cadena and Ingram. Cadena walked with the bases loaded to bring home Ingram from third base, making it 3-0. Ingram walked to lead off the inning. The next batter, Andrew Stewart hit into a fielder’s choice to bring home the fourth run of the game in the form of Rogers, who singled earlier in the frame.

Collin Montez answered for the Cougs the next half inning with a towering 397-foot solo home run that cleared the Riders Field lazy river waterway beyond the rightfield fence.

The Shockers tacked on a run in the in the sixth inning to make it 5-1. With two outs, Washington State catcher Jake Meyer committed a throwing error while trying to pick off Wichita State runner Couper Cornblum at third base, permitting Cornblum to jog home when the throw sailed high. Cornblum’s trip around the bases began with an infield single before he stole second, and then took third on a throwing error while stealing.

The Cougars struck again in the bottom the eighth inning with another solo home run, courtesy of Justin Van De Brake’s 399-foot solo blast to left field.

Wichita State again capitalized on Washington State miscues in the ninth inning, adding three more runs to pad its lead. Cadena came across with the sixth run when Xavier Casserilla was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Cadena walked to lead off the inning, moved up to second base when Garrett Kocis was hit by a pitch, and advanced to third after Sawyre Thornhill was plunked by an errant pitch. Chuck Ingraham made it 8-2, stroking a single to left bringing in Thornhill and Will Stark.

Cadena paced the winning side, recording three of his squad’s seven RBIs Saturday.

Game time was three hours and 20 minutes.

Washington State will return to the field Sunday at noon when they take on Iowa. The Shockers, whose roster includes 14 student-athletes with Texas ties, will square off against Texas A&M at 6 p.m. Sunday in the final game of the 2022 Frisco Classic.

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