The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU baseball notable performances – Karbach Round Rock Classic

Alan Shibley solidifying himself as team’s best
WSU men’s baseball team talks on the mound during an NCAA games against Santa Clara, April 22, in Pullman, Wash.

In their three Karbach Round Rock Classic games, WSU baseball (5-2) had several strong performances that propelled them to a win over No. 24 Kentucky and a comeback effort against Kansas.

Several players had standout performances, evident by the four names representing the Cougs on the All-Tournament Team. 

Alan Shibley has begun his case early in the season to be the team’s best bat. One of the four players named to the All-Tournament Team, he is the only returner from opening weekend on the notable performances list. 

Despite losing the weekend’s final game, WSU played strong and proved to be the best team at the Tournament, taking down the other 2-1 team in Kentucky. The four Cougs on the All-Tournament team led all four teams, with Joey Kramer taking home Tournament MVP honors. 

“Kentucky is ranked by some publications; [an] SEC team. The comeback win against a good Kansas team. It helps us in the long run,” head coach Nathan Choate said. “A great weekend for us. A lot to learn from. A lot to build off of.” 

First Baseman Joey Kramer 

The Tournament MVP himself, no one had a better weekend than Kramer. His MVP showing is even more impressive, given his 1-for-13 start to the season from the opening Utah Tech series. While his current batting average of .160 does not open eyes in itself, it is much higher than the .077 batting average he had after the first four games. 

The 6-foot even first baseman started off going 1-for-4 against Kentucky with a single, walk and two runs scored. Kramer’s best game came against Kansas. He finished 2-for-4 with a huge go-ahead three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete the Cougs comeback. 

Despite his struggles in the opening weekend, Kramer came in with the mindset to keep grinding and the results will soon follow. 

“Continue playing. Continue being positive and just work through it. I think when you get frustrated and you hold onto those at-bats, it just builds on you and you can’t focus,” Kramer said. 

While he went 0-for-4 against Texas State, his .333 batting average and massive home run to beat Kansas propelled his MVP case. 

Starting Pitcher Grant Taylor 

Like his counterpart at first base, Taylor proved to be the best at his position among the four teams. Friday night’s starter against a ranked Kentucky opponent, Taylor, went 6.0 innings, striking out three and only giving up one earned run and one hit. 

Also similar to Kramer, he flipped a switch from his opening performance against Utah Tech, bringing his season ERA down from 9.00 to 4.91. 

Taylor put the Cougs in a position to win, a feat they accomplished by a final score of 6-4. Getting his second win of the season and winning Pitcher at the Tournament, Taylor is well on his way to what can prove to be the best season of his career. 

“I knew we were going to score runs. If I just kept my team in it, we were gonna have some fun,” Taylor said. 

Outfielder Alan Shibley 

The only returner from last week’s notable standouts, Shibley is scorching hot to start the 2024 season. With another multi-hit game, this time against Kansas, he now has four multi-hit games on the season. 

Despite losing his hitting streak at six games, drawing two walks against Texas State made sure that his on-base streak extended to seven games to start the season. 

Shibley’s line for the weekend finished at 3-for-12 with a home run and two walks, earning All-Tournament honors for the outfield. His season batting average decreased slightly but still sits at .379 and he rocks a .471 batting average. 

Relief Pitcher Kaden Wickersham 

In his second appearance of the young season, Wickersham came in and completely shut down the Kansas offense for the final three frames to pick up the win, his first as a Coug. 

Relieving Connor Wilford to start the seventh inning, Wickersham faced the minimum nine batters, giving up one hit while striking out two in his 3.0 innings of work. His domination out of the pen earned him the honor of Reliever of the Tournament.

“He was super aggressive, attacked the strike zone,” Choate said. “It really gave us a life when he came in and just kept attacking. He was really good today. Really good.” 

Outfielder Max Hartman 

Unlike the other four featured on this list, Hartman did not earn any All-Tournament honors, but he had a fantastic weekend nonetheless. Getting a hit in each game, Hartman extended his season-long hitting streak to all seven games, one of the most consistent players in the lineup from game to game.

The leadoff hitter opened the weekend 2-for-4 against Kentucky while also drawing a walk and stealing his third base of the season. He went 1-for-4 against both Kansas and Texas State to finish the weekend 4-for-12 with one RBI and one stolen base.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
Julian Caballero is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. He is a junior broadcast production major from Tacoma, Washington. Julian began working for the Daily Evergreen in fall 2022.