Monday, February 22, 2010 | Baseball
MVC Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 22)

Missouri Valley Conference baseball teams opened the 2010 season last weekend, combining for a 6-10 record.  Creighton and Indiana State finished the weekend with unscathed records, as the Bluejays outscored SIU Edwardsville (22-0) and Central Arkansas (3-2), while the Sycamores completed a three-game sweep at Texas Southern.   Illinois State spilt games with Austin Peay and fell in a neutral field contest to Iowa. 

This week's Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Kevin Tokarski of Illinois State and Jason Van Skike of Indiana State.
        
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kevin Tokarski, So. 2B, Illinois State
Tokarski tripled on the first pitch of the 2010 season and scored after a hit by Chad Hinshaw on the second, to key an offensive outburst for the Redbirds at the Riverview Inn Classic. Tokarski had a team-best seven hits, including four for extra-bases as the team hit .336 over the season's first three games. In addition to the triple, Tokarksi stole three bases and belted three doubles, including one with the bases loaded to push across the tying runs in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over Austin Peay. Tokarksi was 3-for-4 in the 15-8 win with a pair of runs scored and reached base six times. The redshirt sophomore, who garnered Valley Freshman of the Year and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honorable mention honors in 2008, missed the majority of last season while recovering from wrist surgery.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Jason Van Skike, Jr., RHP, Indiana State
The Sycamores cruised to victory in their first two games against Texas Southern, but fell behind early to the Tigers in the final game of the weekend, only to have Van Skike enter and lead the team to an 8-4 victory on Saturday. Van Skike came into the game with ISU down 3-2 in the third inning, but allowed only two hits and one unearned run over his 5.1 innings on the mound. Van Skike picked up his first victory with ISU while striking out seven batters and allowing only one runner to pass second base.

Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:  

  • Robbie Knight (CU) - With several Blujays having a fine opening day, Knight stood out. The senior went 2-for-4 in both of Creighton's games on Saturday, including hitting the game-winning home run in the top of the eighth inning against Central Arkansas. Knight finished the weekend hitting .500 with three runs, two RBI and two stolen bases.

  • Cody Fick (UE) - Fick paced the Evansville offense this week at Belmont by hitting .455 with a double, three RBI, and a team-best four runs scored in the three-game series.  Fick collected hits and scored at least one run in all three games, including posting a pair of two-hit games in Saturday's doubleheader against the Bruins.  For the week, Fick went 5-for-11 at the plate, while posting a .545 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage.  He also went 1-for-1 in the stolen base department and posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 16 chances defensively.

  • Luke Fieser (INS) - Fieser picked up right where he left off last season during the opening weekend of play in 2010, hitting .500 at the plate with five RBI and six runs scored. Fieser finished third on the Sycamores last season with a .351 average, but went 6-12 at the dish to open the 2010 season against Texas Southern. In the season's opening game, Fieser fell just a home run short of the cycle, going 4-6 with three RBI and two runs scored.

  • Chris Murphy (SIU) - Leadoff man Chris Murphy paced the Saluki bats in the 2010 opening weekend at Arkansas State. Murphy went 4-for-9 at the plate in the two games with two RBI, one double and one run scored. Murphy was the only Saluki to have two hits in each game.

  • Jonas Dufek (CU) - Dufek was dominating against SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday, as the junior threw five scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season. Dufek struck out the first five batters of the game, as he threw five innings, allowed just two hits and struck out seven to lead three other Bluejay pitchers to the combined shutout.

  • Corey Maines (ILS) - Maines struck out six batters in four innings while limiting Austin Peay to two runs - one earned - before leaving the game after reaching his predetermined pitch limit Sunday. The six strikeouts were part of a 15-strikeout day for the Redbirds pitching staff as Illinois State won its first game of the season 15-8 at the Riverview Inn Classic in Clarksville, Tenn.

  • Cody Forsythe (SIU) - Freshman Cody Forsythe came in with two outs and two runners on base in the third inning when the Salukis already trailed 4-0 in the second game of the series. He was able to get left fielder Logan Uxa to strikeout to keep Southern Illinois in the game. Forsythe threw 4.1 innings of relief in his first college appearance and gave up just four hits and one run. He had two strikeouts and two walks while facing 18 batters on the day.

Missouri Valley Conference Upcoming Schedule:

Friday, February 26
%Creighton vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 11:00 AM
+Bradley vs. Pittsburgh, 12:00 PM
Southern Illinois at Jacksonville State, 1:00 PM
#Wichita State vs. North Florida, 1:00 PM
Evansville at Mercer, 3:00 PM
Missouri State at UT-Arlington, 3:00 PM
Indiana State at Texas-San Antonio, 3:00 PM

Saturday, February 27
%Creighton vs. Northwestern State, 11:00 AM
+Bradley vs. Toledo, 12:00 PM
Evansville at Mercer (DH), 12:00 PM
Southern Illinois at Jacksonville State, 1:00 PM
Indiana State at Texas-San Antonio, 2:00 PM
Missouri State at UT-Arlington, 2:00 PM
#Wichita State vs. Eastern Michigan, 4:30 PM
$Illinois State vs. Northeastern, TBA

Sunday, February 28
%Creighton at Stephen F. Austin, 11:00 AM
Evansville at Mercer, 12:00 PM
Indiana State at Texas-San Antonio, 12:00 PM
#Wichita State at South Alabama, 12:00 PM
+Bradley vs. Memphis, 1:00 PM
Missouri State at UT-Arlington, 1:00 PM
Southern Illinois at Jacksonville State, 1:00 PM
$Illinois State vs. St. Bonaventure, TBA
$Illinois State vs. Duquesne, TBA

%Stephen F. Austin Invitational (Nacogdoches, Texas)
+Service Academy Spring Classic (Millington, Tenn.)
#Coca-Cola Classic (Mobile, Ala.)
$RussMatt Central Florida Invitational (Winter Haven, Fla.)