TULSA, Okla. (KSNW)– Wichita State completed the season sweep of the American Athletic Conference Championships after Saturday’s 7-4 win over UCF in the Championship final.
Wichita State (39-11-1) registered its first American Tournament title and third conference tournament title in program history. Wichita State also collects the American Athletic Conference automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is tomorrow night at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Ryleigh Buck, Bailey Lange, Madison Perrigan, Sydney McKinney and Addison Barnard were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Barnard took home Most Outstanding Player honors.
Lange (21-6) was the winning pitcher for the 21st time this season. She allowed four runs on six hits in 6.0 innings. Caitlin Bingham notched her third save of the season in the final inning. She struck out two in the seventh.
Wichita State scored all seven of its runs on the home run ball. Perrigan (three RBI), Barnard (two RBI) and Buck (two RBI) went deep in the contest. The three home runs ran Wichita State’s season total to 94 on the season.
In the top of the first, UCF opened the scoring on a two-out, two-run home run to left. A leadoff double followed by a single increased the Knights’ lead to 3-0 in the top of the third.
Wichita State broke through in the home half of the third on Barnard’s two-run laser over the left field fence, trimming the deficit to 3-2.
The Shockers used the long ball again in the fifth, accounting for five runs on two home runs. Perrigan crushed a three-run shot, and then two batters later Buck sent a towering two-run shot over the center field fence. After five innings, Wichita State held a 7-3 lead.
The Knights got a run back in the top of the sixth on a leadoff solo home run by Jasmine Esparza, her second of the game.
Bingham struck out the first two Knights in the top of the seventh, but UCF didn’t go down quietly. Back-to-back infield singles had the tying run at the plate, but Bingham induced a groundout to third to secure the win.
(Wichita State Athletics contributed information to this article.)