Friday Baseball Recaps (Apr. 2)
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Southern Illinois won a 15-inning marathon over Bradley, Evansville handed No. 30 Wichita State its first MVC setback and a late rally by Indiana State sent the Sycamores past Creighton.  In non-conference action, Missouri State toppled Oral Roberts, 13-3, while Illinois State fell to Lipscomb, 5-3.

SIU (12-14, 2-2 MVC); BU (6-14, 0-4 MVC)

The Southern Illinois baseball team trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the eighth, came back to tie the game in the ninth, and then outlasted Bradley as they dropped the Braves, 5-4, in the 15th inning of Friday's game at Abe Martin Field.

Freshman designated hitter Brock Harding's single to left field scored fellow freshman Nick Johnson from second base in the 15th to give the Salukis the win. It didn't come easy for Harding, as his hit came on the 10th pitch of the at-bat after he fouled off five.

Southern Illinois has now won eight-straight extra inning games going back to 2008 and are 3-0 this year. The third-straight victory improves its record to 12-14 overall and 2-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Bradley falls to 6-14 overall and 0-4 in the MVC.

The Salukis strained just getting the game into extra innings. SIU needed to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth and one in the ninth to extend the game, as its offense struggled early on.

Bradley starting pitcher Patrick Cooper only allowed three hits through the first seven innings, and the Dawgs were happy to see the Braves go to the bullpen after Cooper walked the leadoff batter in the eighth.

Southern Illinois' bullpen should get the credit for winning the game, as the Salukis used five pitchers on Friday. Jimmy Cornell, Bryant George and Kellen Candau combined to provide nine innings of scoreless relief and only allowed three hits.

George threw much of that, as he did not give up a single hit in his 4.1 innings of work. Candau (2-0) picked up the win while Bradley reliever Andy Johnson (0-3) drew the loss after serving up the game-winning hit to Harding.

Bradley had an ideal situation in the 12th to go ahead, but SIU got out of a jam. An error to start the inning put one man on and then a walk and a sacrifice had BU runners on second and third with one out. George intentionally walked Mike Tauchman to load the bases.

The move paid off and George got a force out at home before striking out Jordan Colvin to end the inning.

Johnson and senior shortstop Michael Stalter led the Saluki offense that was quiet for much of the game. Johnson extended his hitting streak to eight games, as he was 3-for-7 at the plate to go with his one run that won the game.

Stalter had three hits in six at-bats, and drove in the final run with two outs in the eighth that pulled SIU within one. The Salukis as a team finished with 12 hits and Bradley had 13, 10 of which came in the first six innings.

Chris Serritella's drove in the first two runs of the game in the eighth for SIU with his double that hit the base of the wall in right center and Chris Murphy's double to left center in the ninth scored Tony Lepore to send the game into extra innings.

After playing the four-hour, four-minute game Friday, the two teams return to the field for game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.

UE (13-13, 3-1 MVC); WSU (15-9, 3-1 MVC)

University of Evansville senior right-hander Keegan Dennis limited the nationally-ranked Wichita State Shockers to just two runs on three base hits over 6.2 innings of work on Friday, and the Purple Aces' offense produced five two-run innings en route to an 11-6 victory at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

Dennis set the tone early on the mound for UE, as after allowing a lead-off walk, he retired each of the next 10 men he faced thanks to five strikeouts.  While Dennis was putting up zeros on the scoreboard, his teammates were busy putting up twos, as back-to-back two-run innings in the second and third frames gave UE a lead it would never lose.

An RBI double by senior first baseman Tom Heithoff and a sacrifice fly by senior designated hitter Andy Pascoe gave UE its first two runs in the second inning.  UE then made it a 4-0 lead with a two-run third inning thanks to an RBI single by junior outfielder Greg Wallace, a Wichita State error and a passed ball.

The Shockers would finally scratch a run across against Dennis in the fifth inning on an RBI single by third baseman Nate Goro, but UE would quickly respond with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a lead-off home run by sophomore infielder Trentt Copeland and a run-scoring sacrifice bunt by Pascoe.

UE would push the lead to 7-1 in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Heithoff.  Wichita State would then answer with single runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, only to have UE plate two runs each in the bottom half of both innings.  The Shockers would then finish the scoring with three runs in the ninth inning, before UE freshman Jake Naumann retired Wichita State catcher Cody Lassley on a fly ball to center field to end the game.

Copeland and Heithoff both pounded out three hits to lead UE's 13-hit attack, as Copeland finished a double short of the cycle, while Heithoff went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI.  Wallace and Pascoe both drove in three runs each for UE, while Wallace and freshman shortstop Eric Stamets both had two base hits.  For the Shockers, Goro was the lone Wichita State hitter with a multi-hit performance by going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. 

Dennis (2-2) earned the victory for UE by scattering two runs on three hits in 6.2 innings of work, while striking out nine.  Jordan Cooper (3-1) suffered his first loss of the year by yielding a season-high six runs (five earned) on eight base hits in 4.1 innings of work.

With the victory, Evansville evens its overall record at 13-13 while improving to 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.  Wichita State, meanwhile, falls to 15-9 on the season and 3-1 in the Valley with the loss.  The two teams will continue the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at Braun Stadium. 

INS (16-7, 2-2 MVC); CU (12-7, 2-2 MVC)

OMAHA, Neb. -
A great pitching performance from junior Jacob Petricka and six seventh inning runs carried the Indiana State University baseball team to an 8-5 victory on Friday night over the host Creighton University Bluejays at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., in front of 1,676 fans.

The Sycamores got on the board quickly on Friday night, as senior Ryan Strausborger hit the first pitch that he saw from Creighton starter Jonas Dufek to left field for a leadoff double. Sophomore Kyle Burnam would move Strausborger to third with a fly out to center before senior Tyler Graham brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field.

That would be the only scoring of the game until the seventh inning, as both Petricka and Dufek would settle in and both toss excellent outings on the mound.

Indiana State tacked on another run in the seventh, as freshman Robby Ort knocked a two-out double before he would be brought home on a triple by senior Grant Grgurich to put ISU in front 2-0.

Creighton cut the Sycamore lead to 2-1 with a single run of their own in the seventh, but ISU tallied six runs in the top of the eighth to expand their lead to 8-1.

With one-out, senior Ben Ferrell singled to left field before moving to second base on a wild pitch. Ferrell would cross the plate when Strausborger hit his seventh triple of the season down the right field line. Burnam followed Strausborger to plate, bringing the senior outfielder home on a successful squeeze bunt. The Sycamores would do the rest of their work with two outs, as ISU loaded the bases when Graham was hit by a pitch and senior Luke Fieser drew a walk. Ort notched an RBI with a single to right field, before Grgurich would clear the bases with a three-RBI triple to right to make the score 8-1.

The Bluejays tallied three runs of their own in the eighth on a three-run home run by CU first baseman Ian Dike and a single run in the ninth off of ISU closer Tyler Browning.

Jacob Petricka (4-4) picked up the victory on Friday, tossing seven excellent innings on the mound and allowing just three hits. The junior righty allowed just one run while striking out five batters and walking just one.

With the win, the Sycamores improve to 16-7 on the season and move to an even 2-2 in conference play. The Bluejays fall to 12-7 overall and also an even 2-2 in the MVC.

The Sycamores and Bluejays will play the second game of their series at the same time and the same place on Saturday, 7:00 p.m. at Rosenblatt Stadium. The game can be heard live on 92.7 FM The Crock with ISU sending south paw Joe Rodriguez (2-1, 5.13 ERA) to mound to face Brandon Koenigstein (3-0, 2.56 ERA).

Friday Non-Conference Scores Around the Valley:
Missouri State 13, Oral Roberts 3
Lipscomb 5, Illinois State 3