Shockers Down Blazers in AAC Tournament Opener

Wichita State 8, UAB 2
W: Favors (9-4)
L: Daniel (7-4)
S: None
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Caden Favors pitched shutout ball into the seventh and Wichita State hit a pair of two-run homers to blow open a close game as the #4 seed Shockers defeated #5 seed UAB 8-2 on Tuesday morning at BayCare Ballpark.
The Shockers advance to take on the winner of Tuesday afternoon’s game between #1 East Carolina and #8 Rice. First pitch of the winner’s bracket contest will be Thursday at 12:00 pm CT.

Favors (9-4) was excellent over 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and one run while striking out seven and walking just one. The southpaw got help from a pair of sterling defensive plays in the early going and pitched out of jams in the middle innings to earn the win. In the second inning, centerfielder Dayvin Johnson made a spectacular diving catch in right center to deny Tyler Harrington of extra bases and in the third, Seth Stroh threw out Darryl Buggs at first base after he rounded the bag too far. Favors then stranded a runner at third base in the fourth, men at the corners in the fifth and another Blazer aboard in the sixth before exiting with two on and one out in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Wichita State took advantage of several UAB miscues to take an early lead. In the second inning, the Shockers (30-27) scratched across three runs; with the bases loaded and one out, Kam Durnin bounced a ground ball to shortstop that should’ve been an inning-ending double play, but the flip from Gavin Lewis Jr. to second base was wide, bringing home the first run and keeping the bases loaded. Dayvin Johnson followed by working a walk to make it 2-0 and Jordan Rogers was hit by a pitch to push across the third run of the inning.

In the fourth, another potential inning-ending double play ball was bobbled by Lewis Jr. to load the bases and Derek Williams followed with a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder to extend the WSU lead to 4-0.

UAB finally got on the board in the seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, Logan Braunschweig chopped a ground ball to Durnin at shortstop, whose flip to second baseman Jordan Rogers was not in time for the force out. The play brought UAB to within 4-1, but Hunter Holmes recovered by getting another grounder to Durnin that ended the inning.

The Shockers then blew the game open with a pair of two-run blasts in the seventh. After Rogers led off the inning with a double, Josh Livingston slammed a long home run onto the berm in right-center for a 6-1 lead. Mauricio Millan was then hit by a pitch and Seth Stroh followed with a titanic two-run shot of his own, making it 8-1.

Nate Adler took the game the rest of the way for Wichita State, recording the final five outs out of the Shocker bullpen. UAB got a two-out RBI single from Nick Hollifield in the top of the ninth for the final margin.

Colin Daniel (7-4) took the loss for UAB, allowing eight hits and six runs (three earned) over 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Rogers, Livingston and Millan each recorded a pair of hits to lead the Shocker attack.