Shocker assistant baseball coach Mike Sirianni joins the podcast to wrap up fall baseball practices. Sirianni discusses fall practices with fewer COVID-19 restrictions and how veterans such as Ross Cadena and Garrett Kocis helped the newcomers. We talk about the unique architecture of Wichita State’s offices, recruiting in Texas and how the pro and college coaching styles mesh on the staff. Sirianni also talks about some key lineup developments in the fall and newcomers such as Payton Tolle, Brock Rodden and Xavier Casserilla. His World Series pick? The Atlanta Braves.
Wichita State baseball freshmen Payton Tolle and Xavier Casserilla prepare listeners for the Shocker World Series (starting at 1 p.m. Saturday) with their takes on college baseball. They talk about how they chose Wichita State, which teammates gave them the best advice and who they would have drafted to start their team. They also discuss their favorite big-league players, why baseball is their top sport and which Shockers fans should keep an eye on during the series.
Garrett Bayliff, assistant strength and conditioning coach at Wichita State, joins us as fall baseball practices begin. Bayliff talks about his time as a Shocker outfielder and why the ups and downs of that experience motivated him to return to Wichita State. Bayliff discusses how strength training has changed and why nutrition and sleep are such important parts of his job. We wrap up with his view on how much the physical presence of this Shocker team has improved. As a bonus, he reveals the highlight of his time showing hogs as a 4-H member in Oklahoma and how growing up in Tuttle influenced his work ethic.
Shockers ESPN+ voice Shane Dennis is on the pod to discuss the Riverfront Stadium experience, how long it might take the Shockers to regain lost fans and the defensive play of Andrew Stewart and Paxton Wallace on the left side of the infield. Shane breaks down Wichita State’s pitching over the past 12 games, Hunter Gibson’s improvement at the plate and how the lack of mid-week games affects the NCAA regional resume.
Wichita State’s Garrett Kocis joins the podcast as the Shockers prepare for American Athletic Conference play with a 12-8 record and a four-game win streak. Kocis, a junior from Omaha, talks about watching the College World Series as a youngster, what he learned from Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm as a freshman and how he dealt with the disappointments of 2019. Kocis, who leads the Shockers with 10 home runs, also discusses his home run derby belt, chatting at first base and his favorite CWS star from his youth.
Baseball season is near and broadcaster Shane Dennis joins the podcast to discuss the 2021 Shockers. We talk about newcomers to the pitching staff, the impact of a healthy Paxton Wallace on the lineup and how the Shockers might navigate four-game weekend series. Dennis also details how coaches Gene Stephenson and Jim Thomas handled losing spades games on baseball bus trips in the 1990s, his favorite teammate nicknames and the case for playing Cooper Elliot at all nine positions in a tribute to former Shocker Mike Jones.
Sean Johnson played catcher at Wichita State from 1996-98 and worked as director of operations before embarking on a career in professional baseball. Johnson, who attended South High School, became scouting director for the Minnesota Twins in 2016. He talks about the Double A team that will play in Wichita this summer, how the Twins rebuilt their organization after a 103-loss season and the differences between AA and AAA baseball. Johnson also discusses how his time as a Shocker influenced his career, the time he threw out Randy Young in practice and cooking during the pandemic.
Fall baseball is finished and Wichita State baseball pitching coach Mike Pelfrey takes us through the developments – and some Halloween fun. We talk about his starting rotation, newcomers such as outfielder Seth Stroh and shortstop Andrew Stewart and the development of pitchers Connery Peters and Aaron Haase. Pelfrey dives into “spin rates” and how technology figures into coaching. He explains why and how Shocker coaches teach that worshipping velocity can be counterproductive for pitchers.
Junior pitcher Liam Eddy discusses the Shocker World Series, how adding a cutter expanded his repertoire and helped him rebound from a disappointing 2019 season. He reveals his father’s game-day superstitions and talks about hunting in Colorado.
Mark Grogan played baseball at Wichita State from 1982-85. His book “I Owe It all to Baseball,” details growing up in a family of nine and the drama that included. He learned to deal with his temper playing basketball and handled disappointment when the Minnesota baseball coach declined to recruit him. That rejection started him on a journey to Wichita State and a starting spot in the 1982 College World Series. He describes teasing from Charlie O’Brien at his first practice, the infamous Texas doubleheader in 1982, the rivalry with Oklahoma State and the talents of Shockers Russ Morman and Kevin Penner.