WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State hosts the No. 1 team in the nation, Oklahoma, for a midweek matchup Wednesday night at Wilkins Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN+.
• Wednesday’s matchup boasts two of the top home run hitting teams in the country with OU at No. 1 and WSU at No. 4.
• Wichita State sits in a tie for first place entering the third weekend of conference play.
• Wichita State’s sweep of Memphis April 1-3 was the first conference sweep since April 2019 when the Shockers swept Memphis in that series as well.
• Freshman Addison Barnard is just two home runs shy of tying the single season home run record, currently held by Cacy Williams with 16.
• Home Run Queen: Madison Perrigan became Wichita State’s all-time home run leader vs. Missouri State on March 5 with her 40th career home run.
• Perrigan became the program’s all-time RBI leader on March 11 vs. Missouri State with 154 career runs batted in.
• Wichita State is 8-2 in its last 10 games.
• Wichita State has hit 56 home runs through 29 games, which ranks 4th nationally.
• Five players in the lineup have hit six or more home runs so far this season.
• Wichita State has six players in the lineup hitting .300 or better in 2021.
• The Shocker bats have been busy through the first six weeks of play. Wichita State ranks in the top 25 nationally in home runs per game (4th), slugging percentage (7th), on base percentage (11th), walks (7th), scoring (12th) and batting average (23rd).
• Sophomore Lauren Mills set the single game home run record vs. Lamar on Feb. 20 when she hit three home runs – two in the same inning.
• Wichita State is 19-25 in season openers and 7-3 under 10th-year head coach Kristi Bredbenner.
• Wichita State is 31-12 in home openers and 5-4 under Bredbenner.
• Wichita State is 4-5 in conference openers under Bredbenner.
• Wichita State has won seven of its last eight season openers.
• Wichita State returns nine starters from a season ago and 16 letterwinners in all.
• Wichita State was picked to finish fifth by the league’s coaches in the 2021 preseason poll.
• Wichita State returns four All-Conference performers from 2019: Madison Perrigan (First Team), Ryleigh Buck (First Team), Sydney McKinney (First Team, All-Rookie Team) and Erin McDonald (Second Team).
LAST TIME OUT
Wichita State is coming off a series sweep of the Memphis Tigers last weekend. The Shockers won by scores of 12-2, 6-2, 6-5 and 5-0. Wichita State belted 10 home runs in the series and extended its win streak to five in a row. Bailey Lange recorded her third complete game shutout of the season in the finale and went 2-0 with a save over the weekend. Sydney McKinney continued her recent tear at the plate. The sophomore shortstop has had multiple hits in eight consecutive games.
Oklahoma enters the matchup at a perfect 28-0 this season and ranked No. 1 in all of the major polls. The Sooners are riding a 35-game win streak dating back to the 2020 season. OU boasts the nation’s best offense, as they lead the country in home runs, home runs per game, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored. Jocelyn Alo is the potential frontrunner for NPOY with eye-popping stats of .566 batting avg., 22 home runs and 58 RBI through 28 games. The Sooners feature five players hitting .500 or better in the lineup and four with 11 or more home runs. The pitching staff sports a salty 1.45 ERA with 211 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .142.
Wichita State and Oklahoma have a series history dating all the way back to 1978. The Sooners have dominated the series, holding a 48-5 advantage. Wichita State is 3-12 vs. Oklahoma in Wichita. OU has won the last 37 meetings.
LAST MEETING WITH THE SOONERS
Wichita State and Oklahoma squared off in Norman a season ago before COVID halted play for the remainder of the year. The Shockers held an early 4-0 lead before sixth-ranked Oklahoma came back to win 8-5 on March 4, 2020. Bailey Lange and Neleigh Herring both homered in the contest, while Herring also drove in three of the team’s five runs.
MCKINNEY EARNS SECOND STRAIGHT POW
Sophomore shortstop Sydney McKinney picked up her second straight American Athletic Conference Player of the Week honor on April 5. McKinney was 10-for-14 (.714) in the series vs. Memphis with a double, home run, four RBI and six runs. She extended her multi-hit streak to eight consecutive games. Additionally, redshirt senior pitcher Bailey Lange registered her sixth American Weekly Honor Roll selection. Lange was 2-0 with a save in 13.0 innings, including her third complete game shutout of the season in the series finale at Memphis.
Sophomore Sydney McKinney has been a terror for opposing pitchers since league play started. In eight games, McKinney is 19-for-27 (.704) at the plate with two home runs, eight RBI, six stolen bases and 14 runs scored. The leadoff hitter has a career-best eight-game multi-hit streak entering the matchup with No. 1 OU.
Wichita State is receiving 19 votes – the most in school history – in the latest NFCA Coaches Poll (April 6). The Shockers are on the brink of the top 25 for the third straight week.
SHOCKERS BOAST STRONG RPI
In the third release of the 2021 RPI, Wichita State sits at No. 33 after a 24-5 start to the regular season. Wichita State opponents that sit in the top 50 include: Arkansas at No. 5, Oklahoma at No. 16, Oklahoma State at No. 18, Texas at No. 28, South Dakota State at No. 34, UCF No. 37 and Iowa State at No. 46.
Through the first 29 games of the season Wichita State has hit 56 home runs, a mark good enough to rank fourth nationally. The school record for home runs in a single season is 59 set in 2018. At the current pace, the 2021 Shockers are not only going to break that record, but shatter it.
A START FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
Wichita State is 24-5 so far this season. That mark is the best record through the first 29 games in program history.
Wichita State has picked off two ranked teams over the first month of the season. The Shockers’ upset of No. 8/6 Oklahoma State on Thursday, March 18 was the program’s highest ranked win in program history. The win in Stillwater was just the fifth-ever win at OSU and marked the largest margin of victory over the Cowgirls. Wichita State’s win over No. 23 Iowa State on March 7 in Arlington was its first victory over a ranked foe since May 2019 when the Shockers took two games of a weekend series vs. No. 25 USF. The Shockers are 2-2 this season against teams ranked in the top 25. The two losses were to No. 7 Texas and No. 8/6 Oklahoma State.
BARNARD TABBED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Freshman Addison Barnard was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on March 1. Barnard started all three games vs. Creighton at second base and went 5-for-9 (.556) at the plate with three home runs, a triple, three runs scored and eight RBI. Additionally, redshirt senior Bailey Lange recorded her second straight American Weekly Honor Roll nod. Lange made two appearances in the circle, both complete games, and went 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA on five hits and one earned run. She struck out 13 batters and allowed only four walks in 12.0 innings of work.
Wichita State belted 13 home runs last weekend in the series vs. Creighton. The Shockers hit five in game one, six in game two and two in the finale. The six home runs in game two were tied for the second-most in school history for homers in a single game. Addison Barnard (3), Madison Perrigan (2), Neleigh Herring (2), Lauren Mills (2), Ryleigh Buck (1), Jessica Garcia (1), Bailee Nickerson (1) and Sydney McKinney (1) all hit long balls in the three-game sweep.
BACK-TO-BACK 2X IN THE SAME INNING
In Wichita State’s 13-3 run-rule of Creighton in game two of the series, Addison Barnard and Madison Perrigan hit back-to-back home runs twice in the same inning. Barnard started the third inning with a two-run shot followed by Perrigan’s solo homer. After the lineup batted around, Barnard drove in three on a blast to left, immediately followed by Perrigan’s second solo shot of the inning.
No Shocker had ever hit three home runs in a single game… until Feb. 20, 2021. Sophomore Lauren Mills stamped her name into the record book in a big way vs. Lamar. The Topeka, Kan., native set a new school record with three bombs in the game, including two in the same inning, while also driving in a career-high six RBI.
STAYING IN THE LOOP
Follow the Shocker softball program on Twitter (@GoShockersSB) for content and in-game updates. You can also become a fan of Wichita State Softball on Facebook (GoShockersSB) and Instagram (goshockerssb).
Wichita State continues its homestand with a conference series against the Houston Cougars, April 9-11 at Wilkins Stadium.
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