Wichita State won its first Missouri Valley Conference softball title with a doubleheader sweep at Illinois State on Saturday.
The Shockers (33-20, 20-6 MVC) homered six times on Saturday, two by Cacy Williams, to complete a rise from the eighth pick in the preseason coaches poll. WSU needed to win at least two games against the Redbirds (25-26, 17-7) to clinch the title.
WSU will be the top seed in the MVC Tournament, which begins Thursday in Normal, Ill. The Shockers, who finished eighth last season, finished second in 1992 1995 and 2005 in the MVC and Gateway Conference.
WSU’s Paige Mason homered in the second innning of WSU’s 12-3 win in the nightcap to start the rout. The Shockers led 5-0 after two innings. After Illinois State cut the lead to 5-3, Williams homered in the sixth to drive in two runs. WSU scored five runs in the seventh, three on a home run by Kelli Spring.
Starter Jenni Brooks held the Redbirds to two runs over four innings. Kaitlyn Malone finished with three innings of three-hit ball.
WSU also came up big in the seventh inning of the first game, a 7-3 victory. It trailed 3-2 entering the inning before Williams hit a three-run home run.
Brittany Fortner homered in the sixth inning to cut Illinois State’s lead to 3-2. Paige Luellen homered in the first inning for the Shockers.