On opening night in Missouri Valley Conference baseball action, Creighton, Illinois State, Missouri State and Wichita State earned marks in the win column. The Bluejays and Redbirds were victorious on the road, while the Bears and Shockers defended their turf in their league home-opener. The second contest in the three-game series will continue Saturday.
CREIGHTON 4, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 2
CU (11-5, 1-0 MVC); SIU (9-13, 0-1 MVC)
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Single runs in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings were enough to give Creighton a 4-2 victory at Southern Illinois in the two teams' MVC opener at Abe Martin Field Friday.
Scott Thornburg had two hits and an RBI to pace the Jays (11-5, 1-0 MVC), while Trever Adams and Jimmy Swift had an RBI apiece. T.J. Roemmich was also 2-for-4, as seven of his last nine hits have been for extra bases.
Jonas Dufek moved to 4-0 on the season, throwing six innings and striking out five. Jack VanLeur earned his third save of the season, throwing two scoreless innings with a strikeout.
Ryan Bradley (0-2) suffered the loss for SIU (9-13, 0-1 MVC), going six and allowing three earned runs.
Creighton had to overcome an early deficit, as the Salukis jumped out to an early lead in the first.
Chris Serritella hit his league-leading ninth home run of the season in the first for the 1-0 lead. The sophomore's bomb traveled over 400 feet, as he drilled a 3-1 fastball from Dufek out to right.
The Bluejays answered the next frame, as Roemmich laced a double to right-center to lead off the inning. After a Carson Vitale sac bunt, Roemmich scampered home on a Swift groundball to short, that was mishandled by Michael Stalter.
SIU re-took the lead with a pair of two-baggers in the third. Brock Harding came around on Chris Murphy's double off the base of the right-center field wall to put the Saluki's up 2-1.
The Bluejays answered a Saluki run for the second time, tying the game at two in its half of the fourth. Vitale reached on a swinging bunt, and was sacrificed to second by Swift. Thornburg then singled to left, as Vitale averted Tyler Bullock's tag with a slide to the outside of home plate.
Creighton took its first lead in the fifth, as a Robbie Knight single, a Soto walk and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position for Adams. He followed with an RBI-groundout to short for what proved to be the winning run.
The Jays padded their lead in the seventh, benefiting from another Saluki wild pitch. Alex Staehely doubled to lead off to the frame and moved to third on a Knight bunt. After Soto's groundout couldn't do the job, Lee Weld uncorked a wild pitch to score Staehely.
The Bluejays and Salukis will play a doubleheader tomorrow to avoid impending rain on Sunday. The twinbill is slated for 12:00 p.m. tomorrow.
MISSOURI STATE 7, EVANSVILLE 4
MSU (8-13, 1-0 MVC); UE (10-13, 0-1 MVC)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State baseball team scored four runs in the third inning and held off a late Evansville charge Friday to open the Missouri Valley Conference season with a 7-4 victory over the Purple Aces at Hammons Field.
An evenly-contested game early saw the Bears (8-13, 1-0 MVC) take the lead in the bottom of the third. Travis McComack drew a leadoff walk and stole second with two out to set up Luke Voit's RBI single to left. UE's Keegan Dennis (1-2) issued another walk to Trevor Rogers and Christian Overstreet sent an 0-2 pitch into the left field bullpen for his third home run of the season and a 4-0 MSU lead.
A leadoff walked turned into a run for Evansville (10-13, 0-1 MVC) in the fourth when Chris Pearson drove in Nate Smith with a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 score.
Aaron Conway lined his third homer of year into the bullpen to open the fifth for Missouri State and Voit's one-out single ended Dennis' day after 4.1 innings. Rogers and Overstreet greeted reliever Matt Netherton with back-to-back singles to load the bases, but the Bears were unable to capitalize and ended the fifth with a 5-1 lead.
The Purple Aces answered in the sixth with a leadoff walk and a Nate Smith triple, making the score 5-2 with no out. Pearson's one-out single brought Smith home and Aaron Meade (1-3) struck out the next two hitters to keep MSU ahead 5-3.
UE took advantage of an error to score a two-out run in the seventh when Tom Heithoff bounced a single to left to pull the visitors within a run. That hit brought Grant Gordon in to relieve Meade after the southpaw threw 6.2 innings, struck out six and allowed three earned runs in his first win of the year. Gordon walked Nate Smith and struck out Ryan Oesterle to preserve the 5-4 lead.
Kevin Medrano and Voit began the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back doubles in response to Evansville's run. Voit moved to third on a Rogers ground out and Overstreet walked to set up another MSU run. With Beau Stoker at bat and a 2-2 count, Overstreet stole second and Voit scored when Pearson's throw got past both middle infielders covering the bag to give the Bears a 7-4 lead.
Gordon retired the Aces in order in the eighth and was helped by a double play to pitch around two singles in the ninth for his third save of the year.
Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 12 p.m., an earlier time than originally scheduled due to the forecast for rain later in the day.
ILLINOIS STATE 6, INDIANA STATE 1
ILS (10-9, 1-0 MVC); INS (13-6, 0-1 MVC)
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Corey Maines limited Indiana State to three hits through the first five innings and slithered out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation with only one run surrendered in the sixth, to lead Illinois State to a 6-1 win over Indiana State at Bob Warn Field Friday afternoon.
Maines earned his third win and dropped his earned run average under two while helping the Redbirds (10-9, 1-0 MVC) snap the Sycamores (13-6, 0-1 MVC) six-game winning streak and open Missouri Valley Conference play with a win. Maines and the Redbirds stranded two Sycamore base runners in each of the first two innings while building a 3-0 lead, but the junior right-hander saved his best escape for the sixth after giving up singles to the first four batters. The Sycamores scored one run in the inning but a fly out to center and double play ended the threat.
Indiana State starter Jacob Petricka (3-4) faced the minimum through two innings, but Chad Hinshaw led off the third with a single and stole a pair of bases to move into scoring postion. Petricka, like Maines in the early innings, worked out of the jam without allowing a run. Jake Thornton nearly scored for the Redbirds on a single by Zach Amrein in the fourth, but was cut down by Indiana State right fielder Levi Furguson while trying to score from second.
In the fifth inning, Hinshaw again led off with a single and swiped two more bags. Evan Kohli struck out to leave him at third, but Josh Colon singled with the infield in to plate Hinshaw and the Redbirds' first run. The hit sparked the Redbirds to three runs in the inning and Maines worked out of the jam in the sixth before handing the lead to reliever Kenny Long.
Long struck out five in three scoreless innings for his second save in as many games. Illinois State added two more runs in the eighth as five of the first six batters were issued free passes - four walks and a hit batter. Anthony Ruffolo drove in Matt Mirabal for the Redbirds' final run in the ninth.
Mirabal, Hinshaw and Ryan Court all had two hits for the Redbirds. Mirabal scored two runs and added a stolen base. Hinshaw was 2-for-3 with a walk and four steals in the contest. Illinois State walked seven times and outhit the Sycamores 10-7.
Illinois State and Indiana State will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1 p.m. due to the threat of poor weather conditions Sunday. Illinois State's Ryan Camp (3-2, 8.77 ERA) is expected to start the first game against Indiana State's Joe Rodriguez (2-1, 5.33) with senior left-hander Ryan Copeland (1-2, 6.60 ERA) expected to face Indiana State's Jason Van Skike (2-0, 4.44 ERA) in game two.
WICHITA STATE 5, BRADLEY 1
WSU (12-7, 1-0 MVC); BU (6-10, 0-1 MVC)
WICHITA, Kan. - The Wichita State University baseball team moved to 12-7 on the season as the Shockers put up three runs in the fifth and added another two runs in the sixth in route to a 5-1 win over Bradley University Friday night in the first Missouri Valley Conference match-up for both teams.
Bradley falls to 6-10 on the season and 0-1 in the Valley.
Jordan Cooper pitched a complete game for the Shockers, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out four Brave batters.
Will Baez went 2-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI and two steals while Clint McKeever was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Starting catcher Chris O'Brien had a hit, run scored and an RBI in four trips to the plate for WSU.
Pinch-hitter Brad Kimball gave the Braves' their only run of the game in the top of the ninth with a solo home run.
Neither team was able to muster any form of offense through the first four innings as the Shockers recorded three hits while Bradley only notched one. Wichita State finally broke through against BU starting pitcher Patrick Cooper in the bottom of the fourth as Kevin Hall led off the game with a single and then moved to third on a ground out and a stolen base. Baez put the first run of the game on the board for WSU as a single up the middle scored Hall, with Baez later touching home plate on an RBI double by Ryan Jones. Preston Springer capped the scoring in the inning with an RBI single through the left-side of the infield, allowing Springer to cross the dish with the third run of the inning.
The Shockers were not finished there as the home team tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning with O'Brien contributing an RBI double. The second run of the inning came into score on a balk.
WSU's Cooper was able to handle it from there as he held the Braves to only two hits over the next three frames to pick up his third win of the season.
Jones went 1-for-3 from the dish for WSU, with an RBI and run scored.
Hall had a hit and run scored in three at bats.
Patrick Cooper allowed all five WSU runs on nine hits in the loss.
The Shockers will match up with the Braves again on Saturday, March 27, as WSU hosts Bradley for a 2 p.m. game.