Sunday's Missouri Valley Conference baseball slate saw just two league games and one non-conference contest completed after unfavorable weather conditions forced action between Southern Illinois and Missouri State to be cancelled. Creighton was able to win the final game in its series at Evansville, topping the Purple Aces in 10 innings, 10-5, after nearly a three-hour rain delay. Wichita State's Jordan Cooper won his second game this week after tossing a career-high 10 strikeouts, as the Shockers shut out the Redbirds, 5-0. In non-conference action, Bradley completed its 3-games-to-1 series win against North Dakota by downing the Fighting Sioux, 8-4.
Creighton 10, Evansville 5
CU (14-15, 7-2 MVC); UE (11-16, 3-6 MVC)
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- After a near three-hour rain delay, the Creighton baseball team won the rubber game of the three-game set with Evansville, winning the final game 10-5 in 10 innings.
Creighton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third as Scott Thornburg singled up the middle to lead off the inning. Nick Becker bunted him over to second and Elliot Soto brought him home from third on a single of his own.
Darin Ruf gave the Jays some insurance in the sixth as he snapped a 4-33 streak in MVC play, launching a two-run bomb to left-center field traveling over 400 feet. Vicente Cafaro followed with a double down the left field line and scored on Jimmy Swift's single to right. Swift advance to second on the throw home trying to cut down Cafaro, and scored on Carson Vitale's single up the middle making it 5-0 Bluejays.
Evansville got on the board in the bottom of the sixth as Jim Viscomi hit a solo home run to the same spot Ruf's bomb went.
The Purple Aces got closer in the seventh as Andy Pascoe led off the inning with a double. Alex Acheson then came up and hit a two-run home run to left, making it 5-3 in favor of Creighton.
UE put a rally together in the bottom of the ninth as the first two men singled to put runners on first and second with no one out. Greg Wallace then reached on an infield bunt, to load the bases. Bob Lackovic then induced a ground ball double play, which brought in Fick from first, and make it 5-4 with a runner on third. Nate Smith then came up and singled to center tying the game at 5-5.
In the 10th, Creighton got the first two men on via the walk. After a Darin Ruf sacrifice bunt, Cafaro walked to load the bases. T.J. Roemmich then hit a shot to the second baseman who had the ball hit off his knee allowing Knight to score. Swift then singled to center bringing in Soto. Vitale then cleared the bases with a double that went to the wall, giving CU a 10-5 lead.
Dufek finished the day going 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on five hits as he struck out a career-high 10.
Wichita State 5, Illinios State 0
WSU (17-11, 3-1 MVC); ILS (13-9, 4-3 MVC)
WICHITA, Kan. -- Riding the momentum of Jordan Cooper’s career-high 10 strikeouts, the Shockers were able to make an early lead hold while shutting out the Redbirds to take the series on a chilly afternoon at Eck Stadium, 5-0.
Picking up his second win of the week, Cooper (5-2) shined on the mound. The freshman lefty threw seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and three walks. His counterpart, Redbird starter Corey Maines (5-2), did not fair as well. WSU plated four runs on six hits to hand Maines his second loss of the season. The right-hander allowed four free passes in his six innings on the hill.
The Shockers provided their starter plenty of help at the plate. For the second game in a row, all but two of WSU’s starters recorded at least one hit. Freshman shortstop Tyler Grimes and junior left fielder Bret Bascue drilled opposite field homeruns to drive in three of the Shocks’ five runs on Sunday afternoon.
For the Redbirds, catcher Gabe DeMarco led the offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
A quick two-strikeout inning for Cooper in the top of the first paved the way for the Shockers to jump on the score board first. Grimes made sure that happened when he pelted a solo homer over the right field fence in the bottom of the first.
Cooper racked up another pair of strikeouts in the Redbirds next at bat before they threatened to tie the game. A two-out walk followed by a single by left fielder Jake Thornton nearly broke up the shutout, but a solid defensive effort by second baseman Will Baez and third baseman Chris O’Brien resulted in a play at the plate for the final out of the inning.
O’Brien walked and moved around on a sacrifice bunt and a well-placed groundout to put himself in position to score when Maines tossed a wild pitch. The manufactured run put the home team up, 2-0, two innings in.
Bascue continued his torment of the Redbirds on Sunday. After collecting at least one hit in the first two games of the series, Bascue let loose for his first homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth. His opposite-field line drive to right built on the Shocker lead, 4-0.
The Shockers thanked Cooper for throwing into a Redbird double play in his last inning on the mound by adding another run to the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Junior outfielder Ryan Jones welcomed relief pitcher Jim Sajewich with a leadoff double and came home on an O’Brien RBI single. Jones finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate.
Freshman right-hander Chance Sossamon kept Cooper’s shutout intact by surrendering just one hit and striking out four in his two innings of relief.
The Shockers will gain a game on what Mother Nature has taken away this season when they play host to Saint Mary on Tuesday, April 7. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Other Sunday Scores from Around the Valley:
Bradley 8, North Dakota 4