Last week in Missouri Valley Conference baseball action, Indiana State registered its second-straight series sweep over a league opponent, registering three wins over the Bradley Braves, as Sycamore junior Ryan Strausborger extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games.
Illinois State stole two-of-three games from Missouri State, handing the Bears their first league losses. Redbirds Mike Stalowy and Anthony Ruffolo both collected walk-off singles in the two wins against Missouri State.
Creighton earned two-of-three victories over UNI, including an impressive 14-1 run-rule win over the Panthers on Sunday. Robbie Knight went 3-for3 with four runs, while Darin Ruf tired a career-high with five RBI. The Bluejays also tacked on an impressive non-conference win over Nebraska, blasting the Cornhuskers in a midweek contest, 15-0.
Wichita State tallied two wins over Evansville, taking the series over the Purple Aces and improving to 5-2 in MVC play on the season. The Shockers have now won 20 consecutive series in Valley baseball action, dating back to 2006. Sophomore Tim Kelley earned his second MVC victory of the season, tying a career-high 10 strikeouts in a 6-2 win over Evansville last Friday.
In non-conference action, Missouri State took down No. 17 Oklahoma State, 4-3, in a midweek contest.
Southern Illinois tallied a non-conference victory over SEMO, 7-0, before falling victim to Jacksonville State in a Saturday doubleheader in Carbondale.
This week’s conference slate pits Evansville at Bradley, Illinois State at Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois at Indiana State and Wichita State at Missouri State. Creighton receives the bye in Valley action this week, as the Bluejays host No. 24 Kansas and Air Force (DH) in mid-week contests, before welcoming Illinois-Chicago to Omaha for a three-game series. Wichita State will also square off with No. 21/25 Kansas State on Apr. 14-15.
This week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Illinois State’s Mike Stalowy and UNI’s Derek Ott.
State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week:
Mike Stalowy, Illinois State, 2B, Sr., Joliet, Ill. (Joliet Catholic)
Senior Mike Stalowy batted .526 (10-for-19) in four games, and helped Illinois State hand Missouri State its first Valley loss and take the weekend series from the conference leader, 2-1. He hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Redbirds a 6-5 win in the series opener Saturday and capped a career-best 5-for-5 performance. In the series finale Sunday, Stalowy drew a walk in the bottom of the 10th with the Redbirds trailing by one and later scored the game-winning run on Anthony Ruffolo’s walk-off single. In all, Stalowy drove in eight runs and scored six while knocking two doubles, a triple and a home run. He was a perfect 2-for-2 on stolen bases and handled nine putouts and nine assists with no errors in the field. Stalowy was batting .258 after Illinois State’s first two Valley series but has raised his average to .343 with 17 hits in the last eight games. During that stretch, Stalowy has five doubles, two triples a home run and 10 RBI and runs scored.
Other Notable Performances:
Colby Luttrell, BU; Vicente Cafaro, CU; Greg Wallace, UE; Nick Ciolli, INS; Kevin Medrano, MSU; Brett Douglas, UNI; Mark Kelly, SIU
State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week:
Derek Ott, Northern Iowa, RHP, Jr., Waterloo, Iowa (Waterloo East)
Junior Derek Ott earned his second MVC victory of the year after throwing 7.1 scoreless innings against Creighton on Saturday. Ott matched a career high with six strike outs, and he only allowed four hits in the contest. Only one Creighton runner advanced past second in the game. The shutout effort improved Ott’s ERA to 4.60 on the year and 3.80 in league games.
Other Notable Performances:
Keegan Dennis, UE; Jake Petricka, INS; Buddy Baumann, MSU; Jimmy Cornell, SIU; Tim Kelley, WSU