News From Terre Haute, Indiana


May 21, 2014

MVC Tournament: WSU's Simpson makes UE pay for pitching around Gillaspie

WSU stays alive with 8-6 win over Evansville

TERRE HAUTE — Wichita State shortstop Dayne Parker delivered the big blow -- a two-run home run in the ninth -- to lift Wichita State past Evansville 8-6 in a Missouri Valley Conference elimination game on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field.

Parker's two-run blast was decisive, but it was Wichita State third baseman Chase Simpson that helped the Shockers get in a winning position to begin with.

Simpson went 4-for-5 with three RBI and was a home run short of the cycle for the Shockers. Hitting behind MVC Player of the Year Casey Gillaspie, Simpson had a dream day at the plate as Evansville pitched around Gillaspie to get to Simpson.

"My approach is still the same. I know it gives me the opportunity to come up big. Today I did," Simpson said.

Simpson, who hits in WSU's cleanup spot, has had time to get used to being the man opposing teams want to face in lieu of the powerful Gillaspie.

Gillaspie has been issued 15 intentional walks and has drawn 56 walks overall. He led the nation in base-on-balls entering the tournament.

That means a lot of chances for Simpson. He made the most of it on Wednesday against an Evansville team desperate to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes intact.

"It's tough to hit behind Gillaspie. That's pressure. You have one of the better hitters in college baseball and you're hitting right behind him. He's handled it well and it was good to see him respond today. He was fantastic today. He carried us offensively," WSU coach Todd Butler said.

Butler described Simpson as a "thinker" who needs to just play. Simpson was nonchalant about the chances he gets.

"It's definitely true. When I'm at my best, it's when I'm usually not thinking about anything. Today, all I was focused on was the timing part [of his swing]. I just try to simplify things," Simpson said.

In a well-played, see-saw affair, Simpson loomed in Wichita State's first run of the game in the second. He doubled and scored on Daniel Kihle's RBI single. Evansville answered with two in the bottom of the second as Shain Showers homered to left-center field.

Gillaspie was walked in the fourth with no outs and Simpson made the Aces pay again. He tripled to center to score Gillaspie and Simpson himself later scored via a sacrifice.

Evansville -- once again -- had the counter-punch in the fifth thanks to a two-run single by Jake Mahon to put the Aces in front 4-3.

WSU (30-27) whip-sawed back into the lead on the strength of a two-out rally for a three-run seventh. Parker's RBI single to left tied it, and after Gillaspie was walked, Simpson hit a liner just over the glove of Evansville shortstop Showers to drive in two to make it 6-4.

Certainly, Evansville coach Wes Carroll couldn't be faulted for pitching around Gillaspie. Nearly every team does it. Simpson just made the Aces pay the price.

"With the talented lineup Wichita State has, it definitely alters how you pitch throughout their lineup. Chase Simpson stepped up and was really dialed in for them. He was comfortable up there and was outstanding against Cole [Isom]," Carroll said.

The Aces seemingly gave themselves a big lift in the eighth when Kyle Pollock hit a game-tying home run that kept carrying and cleared the 396 sign in right-center field.

But the good feeling didn't last for the Aces. After Garrett Bayliff singled, Parker got a fastball up in the zone off UE's Sam Johns and punished it with a blast to straightaway left field to make it 8-6.

For Evansville, the loss might prove to be a mortal blow to its NCAA Tournament hopes. The Aces (34-21) won the MVC regular season title in a strong season for the league, but its RPI is in the mid 60s and that's going to make it difficult for the Aces to get an at-large bid.

Carroll put on a brave face as his team will have five days to nervously wait out their fate.

"Hopefully the regular season championship for the sixth-ranked conference in the country is good enough for our resume, but we were in control of our destiny, and to go 0-2 in the tournament is tough to handle. But we have to be ready if we hear our name called on Monday," Carroll said.

Wichita State will play the loser of the Illinois State-Southern Illinois game played later Wednesday.

WICHITA STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Bayliff rf 5-1-2-0, Parker ss 5-2-3-3, Gillaspie 1b 2-1-0-0, Simpson 3b 5-2-4-3, Baker c 5-0-0-0, Kihle cf 4-0-2-2, Harbutz dh 4-1-1-0, Kirk 2b 3-0-0-0, Dearman lf 3-1-0-0. TOTALS 36-8-12-8.

EVANSVILLE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Jyawook lf 4-0-0-0, Mahon 3b 4-1-2-2, Kaczmarski cf 4-0-1-0, Pollock c 4-1-2-2, Synek 2b 3-0-1-0, Ramon dh 2-0-0-0, Day dh 1-0-0-0, Foley dh 1-0-0-0, McKibban 1b 3-1-0-0, Showers ss 4-2-2-2, Perry rf 3-1-1-0. TOTALS 33-6-9-6.

Wichita State=010=200=302=--=8


DP -- WSU 2, UE 1. LOB -- WSU 8, UE 4. 2B -- Simpson 2 (14). 3B -- Simpson (2). HR -- Parker (5); Pollock (5), Showers (4). S -- Kihle (3); Kirk (4). SB -- Kihle (10).

Wichita State


Ladwig=7 2/3=8=6=6=3=4


Ashford (W, 2-3)=1 1/3=0=0=0=0=1



Isom=6 2/3=8=6=6=2=3

Jurceka=1 1/3=1=0=0=2=2

Johns (L, 2-3)=1=3=2=2=1=0

WP -- Isom (2). HBP -- by Ashford (Perry). T -- 2:40.

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