WICHITA STATE CLAIMS OPENER WITH STIRRING COMEBACK OVER IOWA
By George Stieren
FRISCO, Texas – Wichita State’s patience paid off Friday afternoon as they claimed a 6-4 come-from-behind win over Iowa in the opener of the 2022 Frisco Classic at Riders Field.
It appeared for more than half of the contest that Iowa starting pitcher Adam Mazur was going to steal the game’s headlines. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, not allowing a safety for 5 1/3 innings. Mazur retired 15-straight Shockers hitters after issuing a walk in the first inning.
Keaton Anthony put Iowa on the board initially with an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning, plating Michael Seegers. One batter later, Sam Hojnar brought Peyton Williams home from third base with a fly out to deep left field. Seegers and Williams each stroked singles to commence Iowa’s offensive attack in the opening frame. Williams made it 4-0 Iowa in the third inning when he cracked a 407-foot solo home run to right field on the second pitch of the at-bat. Later that same frame, Brayden Frazier doubled to left field to plate Anthony and make it 4-0 Hawkeyes.
The tide turned with one out in the sixth inning when Wichita State scored four times to tie the game at 4, fueled by 4-straight hits and a bases-clearing RBI double by the Shockers Payton Tolle. The double came after Sawyre Thornhill drove home Andrew Stewart to first cut into the Hawkeyes’ lead earlier that same inning.
Wichita State broke the tie in the eighth inning when Thornhill poked a groundball single through a drawn-in infield to bring in Brock Rodden from third base following his triple. The Shockers extended the lead to 6-4 when Chuck Ingraham slashed an RBI single up the middle to bring Thornhill home. Iowa mounted a threat in the ninth, loading the bases with two hits and a hit batter. Shockers’ reliever Connor Holden was able to shut the door, pitching the ninth to earn his third save on the season.
Cameron Bye (1-0) pitched 2 2/3 innings to earn the win while allowing a lone hit and punching out five batters. Will Christophers (0-1) took the loss for Iowa.
For his part, Wichita State Head Coach Eric Wedge did not lose faith in the early innings despite fielding a team with 24 new players this season. “These guys have a lot of fight in ‘em,” said Wedge. “A lot of fight in the dugout. I figured we’d get back in it.”
Wedge also noted the relief effort. “Bye did a great job shutting them down and keep us in it and give us a chance to come back.”
Hawkeyes’ skipper Rick Heller noted that the game hinged on his team’s defense: “That’s the story of the game for me – plays we normally make, we didn’t. That cost us the game.”
Iowa returns to game action in Saturday’s nightcap when they face Texas A&M at 7 p.m. CT. Wichita State plays at noon Saturday when they square off against Washington State.