For the first time since 2009 the Wichita State Shockers are heading back to the NCAA tournament. Wichita State defeated Illinois State 5-2 on Saturday night to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Starter Cale Elam pitched 7 strong innings giving up just 2 earned runs and striking out 7.
He got offensive support early when Casey Gillaspie hit into a fielder's choice to score the game's first run. Micah Green hit a deep RBI double to left field to bring Mikel Mucha all the way around from first to make it a 2-0 Shockers lead.
Illinois State would answer with one run but the Shockers increased their lead in the 4th when Garrett Bayliff brough Erik Harbutz in from second to make it 3-1 Wichita State.
The Shockers continued to open up their lead in the 7th inning when Johnny Coy came up with the bases loaded and hit a 2 RBI single to left making it 5-1 Shockers.
The Redbirds added one more run but Aaron LaBrie came in in relief pitching two innings and striking out three to finish out the win. He got some help from another amazing catch by left fielder Mucha who laid out to catch a shallow fly ball for the out.
Bayliff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Tanner Dearman, Erik Harbutz, Tyler Baker, Johnny Coy, Mikel Mucha, Kris Gardner and Bayliff were also all named to the all tournament team. This is Wichita State's 18th MVC tournament championship.
The NCAA selection show will take place Monday morning at 11 am on ESPNU. Wichita State will find out its regional site at that time.