A new streak: Shocker baseball ends skid with back-to-back wins to claim AAC series

Back-to-back weekend victories helped the Wichita State baseball team snap a six-game losing skid and register a key American Athletic Conference series win.

The Shockers rallied from behind to beat Florida Atlantic 14-9 on Saturday, then clinched the series victory with a 10-5 win over the Owls at Eck Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

It halted a losing streak that saw WSU (21-17, 7-5 AAC) plummet from the top of the conference standings to the middle after being swept last weekend at South Florida and losing Friday’s opener to the Owls (19-14, 6-6 AAC).

Even with the tumble, the Shockers remain just two games back from leader UTSA.

The mid-season swoon was the first stumble in what otherwise has been an encouraging first season under coach Brian Green.

Once the weekend came, WSU swung its way out of its funk. After a 4-2 loss in Friday’s opener, the Shockers’ offense erupted for a combined 24 runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday’s win was highlighted by another strong start from recently-promoted freshman Tyler Dobbs, who pitched five scoreless innings and struck out seven hitters to hand a 7-0 lead to the bullpen.

WSU had to survive some nervy moments, as FAU rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh inning to trim the deficit to 7-5, but the Shockers answered back with three in the bottom-half of the inning when Mauricio Millan and Seth Stroh each delivered RBI hits.

Stroh snapped out of his own personal funk with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, which included his sixth home run of the season and a team-high three RBIs. Derek Williams added his team-leading ninth homer, a grand slam, in the fifth inning.

In Saturday’s game, the teams traded the lead six times in the first seven innings with FAU clawing its way in front, 9-8, in the top of the eighth inning. That’s when WSU answered back in a big way.

Gardner Edgerton graduate Dayvin Johnson, who is batting .331 this season, crushed his fifth home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning and tie the game.

The rally continued when Millan, who homered earlier in the game, was hit by a pitch, followed by back-to-back singles from Brayden Luikart and Alex Birge to load the bases. It was WSU No. 9 hitter, freshman Kam Durnin, who played the hero, as the shortstop pulled a breaking ball down the left-field line for the go-ahead, 2-RBI double.

Lane Haworth and Camden Johnson each followed by plating runs, while Williams ripped his first triple of the season to tack on another to cap a six-run inning. Haworth didn’t have a hit, but still led the team with three RBIs.

Andover native Nate Adler was dominant in the ninth inning to close out the win, sitting FAU down in order with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout. Meanwhile, reliever Jack Mount collected his first win of the season.

Freshman starter Tommy LaPour allowed six runs, but three defensive miscues meant only one was earned, while he struck out five hitters in five innings.

The Shockers will host Oral Roberts at 6 p.m. Wednesday before traveling to nationally-ranked East Carolina for an AAC series beginning on Friday.