WATERLOO, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa baseball team lost a pair of three-run games against Wichita State on Saturday at Riverfront Stadium, falling to the Shockers 10-7 and 6-3.
The teams played five innings of the first game on Friday and played the final four innings on Saturday after the contest was suspended because of weather. Travis Bennett and Kalvin Johnson each collected three hits in that contest. Bennett also collected three RBIs in the game.
The Panthers (15-25, 3-14 MVC) put the leadoff runner on base in seven of nine innings in the second game, but UNI was unable to score a run until the bottom of the eighth. The Panthers outhit WSU 13-9 in that contest, led by a three-hit effort from Brett Douglas.
On Friday night, Wichita State (22-20, 7-5 MVC) used three hits and a walk to build an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Taylor Brown led off the top of the second with a single, and he moved to second when Bret Bascue was hit by a pitch. Cody Lassley bunted the runners over to second and third, and Brown came in to score on a wild pitch to give the Shockers a 4-0 lead. UNI starter Nick Kirk struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Kalvin Johnson drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the second, and Jeff Taliaferro followed with a double into right center. Ege hit a one-out single up the middle to send both runners home and cut the UNI deficit to 4-2.
WSU matched the Panthers' pair of runs in the top of the third, using a walk, a double and single to stretch its lead to 6-2. Ryan Engrav doubled in the top of the fifth, and he scored on a single from Brown to bring the score to 7-2.
A throwing error by WSU pitcher Tim Kelley put Brett Douglas on second with one out in the bottom of the second. Grant Grgurich drew a walk, and Travis Bennett followed with a single through the left side to score Douglas and move Grgurich to third. Jason Summers hit a sacrifice fly into center to score Grgurich, and Johnson singled through the right side to score Bennett and cut the WSU advantage to 7-5.
The teams waited out a weather delay for nearly two hours before deciding to suspend the game.
Carlos Pinedo took the mound for the Panthers when the teams resumed play on Saturday. Bascue drew a walk, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Grimes reached on an error that allowed Bascue to score, extending WSU's lead to 8-5.
Cory Ege reached on a one-out error in the bottom of the sixth, and Gabe Schultz followed with an infield single. Grgurich drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Bennett connected for a single into right to score Ege and Schultz, pulling UNI within a run, 8-7.
Lassley hit a two-RBI double into the corner in left to give the Shockers a 10-7 lead in the top of the eighth. The Panthers were unable to move a runner past first in the final two frames to make that the final score.
In game two, Wichita State got a two-out, two-RBI double from Will Baez to go on the board in the top of the third, 2-0. Grimes hit a two-out, two-RBI triple in the top of the fourth to extend WSU's lead to 4-0. The Shockers tacked on another run in the top of the fifth to build a 5-0 advantage.
Chad Arp led off the bottom of the eighth with a single into left. He moved to second when Bascue mishandled the ball. Douglas followed with a double off the wall in left center, scoring Arp and putting the Panthers on the board, 5-1. Gabe Schultz lined out, and Bennett grounded out to first to move Douglas to third. Summers followed with a single through the right side to score Douglas. Johnson hit a single into right to give the Panthers runners on first and second. Taliaferro was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a wild pitch got past Lassley to score Summers and move Johnson and Taliaferro to second and third. Ege grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning with UNI trailing, 5-3.
The Shockers used a walk, a hit batsman and a single to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth.
The Panthers notched a pair of singles in the bottom of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but UNI was unable to score to keep the final at 6-3.
The teams will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.