The Bulls and Shockers played the rubber match of this series, USF’s 9th overall in conference, at 10:30 a.m. local time to give enough time for USF to make their plane after the game.*
*SPOILER: It wasn’t enough, as the game ended in a 9-9 tie.
FINAL | Due to time constraints, today's rubber match will end in a tie. We begin our final week of the regular season Tuesday at FGCU. pic.twitter.com/LihzhHkaER— USF Baseball (@USFBaseball) May 13, 2018
Bulls, haven’t not been in Kansas anymore. pic.twitter.com/sMsAbwuzsk— USF Baseball (@USFBaseball) May 10, 2018
Oh yeah, this was also the program’s first trip to Kansas.
Fun in the First
The first inning started out just as wild as the other two games of the series.
After a Coco Montes groundout, Duke Stunkel, Jr. and David Villar walked back-to-back, followed by a Joe Genord strikeout and two straight wild pitches, moving the runners and scoring the first run of the game.
Villar was thrown out at home attempting to score on the same wild pitch Stunkel did ending the threat.
The Shockers answered right back with a wild inning of their own against starting pitcher Collin Sullivan.
An RBI double by Grayson Jenista scored two followed by an RBI single by Ross Cadena; both on 3-ball pitches.
After walking Jackson on a 3-2 pay-off pitch, Billy Mohl decided to make a call to the ‘pen and bring in Noah Yager, who promptly got out of the inning.
Talk about a wild first.
Good Morning Bats
The Bulls answered the early deficit with a huge inning of their own.
After back-to-back walks to Chris Chatfield and JD Dutka to start the inning, Wichita St. decided to make their own bullpen call by bringing in Keylan Killgore, who promptly gave up a two-RBI Garret Zech and a Tyler Dietrich RBI single; still without an out recorded.
Stunkel, Jr. brought in another on a fielder’s choice and Villar grounded into a double play to end the threat, but not before USF plated 4 to go up 5-3.
The pitching settled down until the top of the 5th when David Villar killed a baseball into traffic for a solo-shot that may have landed in the bed of a truck. Bulls up 6-3.
T5 | A no doubter for David!!! His 12th homer of the season leads off the fifth, and we now lead 6-3! pic.twitter.com/scNZq6zBBz— USF Baseball (@USFBaseball) May 13, 2018
Shockers and Bulls Trade Punches
Yager proceeded to cruise through the bottom of the 5th until an RBI triple by Shockers 3B Alec Bohm, a hit-by-pitch and a run-scoring single ended the day for the sophomore. Enter Kevin King who promptly got out of the inning with the lead intact 6-5.
After a Wichita St pitching change, the Bulls again answerex with a big inning of their own in the top of the 6th when Zech joins the solo homerun party.
Coco Montes drove in another after Dietrich doubled and the Shockers went back to the ‘pen. Dutka drove in one more, but the Bulls left the bases juiced to end the top half of the inning. USF 9-5.
The combination of King and Richie Cruz got through the sixth unfazed, but the Shockers got one back in the bottom of the seventh on a single up the middle against Alec Wisely.
Billy Mohl decided to put his chips to the center, bringing in closer Andrew Perez to end the threat with two on and momentum shifting. Bulls 9-6.
E7 | Perez needs just four pitches and the strikeout can't come at a better time, as the Shockers strand two.— USF Baseball (@USFBaseball) May 13, 2018
USF 9, Wichita St. 6 pic.twitter.com/nqkx1lipLn
A Shocking Comeback
USF went down quietly in the top half of the 8th, but it got interesting in the home half with Bohm blasting a 2-run homerun to left that broke ESPN.
A double followed by an RBI single tied the game at 9 before Perez could get out of the inning. Rubber matches amirite?
USF got two on in the ninth with no outs, but couldn’t drive any home.
then the home half got interesting.
After Perez struck out the first two batters, the next two get on with back-to-back singles. Cue the blood pressure rise.
After a sharp hit ball to center looks to walk the game off, Duke Stunkel, Jr. made a sliding grab to send the game into extras.
E9 | Free baseball in Wichita! Shockers put together two singles with two outs, but Duke ends the inning with his second diving catch of the day in center. He'll lead off as we head to the 10th. pic.twitter.com/57s5QzkDr8— USF Baseball (@USFBaseball) May 13, 2018
All Eyes on the Clock
With every pitch, the Conference realizes timing and travel plans may play a role in this outcome.
The Bulls best chance came in the top of the 11th*.
With the drop-dead curfew looming and one out, Phillips slid out an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and Zech legged out an infield single of his own.
With runners on the corners and one out, Dietrich attempted a suicide squeeze and popped it up to the charging first baseman.
Zech stole second and Montes nearly misses a homerun to left that lands about four feet foul. He proceeds to strikeout and the game is called due to travel restrictions. Tie-game. 9-9. Final.
*- Since the Shockers didn’t get a chance to bat in the home half, this inning technically didn’t happen. Assume Doctor Strange used the Time Stone to undo it.
Just to clarify on the whole Wichita didn't get a chance to bat in the Bottom of the 11th -- technically, the game was 10 innings. Since USF's Top 11 ended after drop-dead time (3p), it technically never happened. If Coco Montes' near 3-run HR went out, would've still been a tie.— Darek Sharp (@DarekSharp) May 13, 2018
Cue the outrage.
(Jimmy Dugan voice):— Eight (@CollinSherwin) May 13, 2018
"THERE'S NO TYING!! THERE'S NO TYING IN BASEBALL!!" https://t.co/QyFlxRW4t1
So as they say, a tie is like kissing your sister, but unfortunately (we believe) this tie officially eliminates USF from hoisting a share of the regular season conference title; even though it was going to be a fairly tall order regardless.
Going 1-1-1 is definitely better than losing two of three and the bats came alive with 16 hits which is always a good sign.
What’s Up Next
USF will play it’s final midweek game against FGCU on Tuesday before playing their final conference series at Cincinnati Thursday to Saturday. The Bulls end the weekend 30-17-1 (12-8-1 AAC)
In the words of loyal reader Undercoverbull, “Hooray tying!!!”