Bradley saw its nine-game skid come to an end, as the Braves tallied their first MVC victory, a 7-0 shutout of Missouri State. In a battle of the Valley's two hottest teams, Wichita State increased its lead atop the league standings with a 9-2 win over visiting Southern Illinois. Illinois State topped Creighton, 7-6, snapping a nine-game Bluejay winning streak over the Redbirds. In Friday night non-conference action, Evansville took the second-straight game in a three-game series with Dallas Baptist, while Indiana State fell in the first matchup of the series at The Citadel.
BRADLEY 7, MISSOURI STATE 0
BU (7-17, 1-6 MVC); MSU (12-17, 1-3 MVC)
PEORIA, Ill. - Freshman outfielder Mike Tauchman went 4-for-4 and sophomore left-hander Joe Bircher pitched 8.0 scoreless innings as Bradley (7-17, 1-6 MVC) blanked Missouri State (12-17, 1-3 MVC) 7-0 in Missouri Valley Conference action Friday night at O'Brien Field. The win snapped Bradley's nine-game losing streak and gave the Braves their first conference victory of the season.
Bradley struck first in the bottom of the third with two runs on two hits. Senior infielder Matt Fritz led off the inning with a single up the middle and stole second. After a walk to sophomore infielder Rob Elliott, junior outfielder Brian Martin moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Bradley's next batter, sophomore designated hitter Brad Kimball, ripped a two-run single to left field to give the Braves a 2-0 edge.
Tauchman opened the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast to left-center field to make the score 3-0. The homerun was Tauchman's second long ball in as many games. After an unearned run in the fifth, Tauchman led off the sixth with a double to left field and advanced to third on a sac bunt by senior first baseman Mike McMillan. With the Missouri State infield drawn in, freshman infielder Jason Leblebijian ripped a single up the middle that scored Tauchman and gave Bradley a 5-0 lead. Fritz capped the sixth with a two-run homer to left-center field to make it a 7-0 game.
Bircher (2-3) scattered eight hits, struck out 10 and walked one in 8.0 innings of work to earn the win, while freshman right-hander Gus DeQuesada stuck out the side in the ninth. Fritz and Martin each finished with three hits.
Bradley and Missouri State will continue their three-game series Saturday, April 10 with game two at 4 p.m.
WICHITA STATE 9, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 2
WSU (20-9, 6-1 MVC); SIU (15-15, 4-3 MVC)
WICHITA, Kan. - The Shockers got a complete game from starter Jordan Cooper and four RBI from senior Bret Bascue en route to a 9-2 victory in the Friday night opener against Southern Illinois.
Bascue's two-run bomb in the bottom of the third highlighted a 2-for-2 performance that also included a two-RBI double during the Shockers' (20-9. 6-1) three-run first inning that led to the Shockers' 20th win of the season.
The Shockers attacked Saluki starter Ryan Bradley early and often, tacking up five runs on five hits in the first two innings.
Led by shortstop Michael Stalter's 2-for-3 effort that resulted in a run scored and an RBI, the Salukis did their best to fight back, but managed to plate just one run in the third and another in the ninth.
Each rally attempt was cut short by Cooper (4-1) who tossed his second complete game of the season. The sophomore right-hander scattered nine hits over nine innings, walking none while striking out seven.
With the aid of a passed ball moving desginated hitter Brock Harding to third, outfielder Aaron Roberts' single to right put the Salukis (15-15, 4-3) on the board in the top of the third to cut the deficit, 5-1.
Bascue dealt Cooper some added insurance when he belted a two-run bomb to center to put the Shockers out of reach by the third inning, 7-1. An RBI single from freshman third baseman Nate Goro ended Bradley's outing for reliever Andrew Bever.
Sophomore shortstop Tyler Grimes drove in Goro to welcome Bever to the game while sending Cooper to the mound in the top of the fourth with a 9-1 advantage.
After Goro's RBI knock, Bever settled in and quieted the smoldering Shocker lineup. In 5.1 innings of work, he allowed just three hits and one walk.
The Shockers had what they needed. Back-to-back doubles in the ninth plated another run for the visiting squad, but wasn't enough as the Shockers coasted to the 9-2 victory.
Tim Kelley (4-1) will take the mound for the Shockers in game two on Saturday and Nathan Forer (1-1) is slated to start for the Salukis. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m.
ILLINOIS STATE 7, CREIGHTON 6
ILS (13-14, 3-1 MVC); CU (14-10, 3-4 MVC)
OMAHA, Neb. - Kevin Tokarski's solo shot to left in the sixth inning put Illinois State ahead and five innings of scoreless relief from Ryan Copeland and Kenny Long made the lead stick as the Redbirds snapped a nine-game losing streak to Creighton with a 7-6, series-opening win at CU Sports Complex Friday.
Tokarski broke open a 6-6 tie with a leadoff home run to left field off Creighton (14-10, 3-4 MVC) reliever Mark Winkleman, and Copeland limited the Bluejays to two hits in four scoreless before Long closed the door in the ninth for his fourth save of the season. Creighton had scored in each of the first four innings off Illinois State (13-14, 3-1 MVC) starter Corey Maines, but couldn't put anything together against Copeland. The win was Illinois State's first over Creighton since 2006, and the first series opening win against the Jays since 2001.
Maines labored through the first four innings, allowing the leadoff man to reach and score in each frame as the Bluejays scratched across six runs. Creighton plated two in each of the first two innings and single runs in the third and fourth, while drawing four walks and knocking five hits off the Redbird starter.
Illinois State did the majority of its scoring in the second inning, when a pair of errors by Trever Adams in left field led to five unearned runs. Illinois State scored six total runs in the second while sending 11 batters to the plate. Ryan Court, Brett Kay and Tokarski each had singles and scored runs in the inning.
Copeland entered the game in the fifth inning with the score tied and immediately changed the complexion of the game. He allowed a leadoff hit to TJ Roemmich but got outs in the next seven at-bats and notched four strikeouts in relief. Tokarksi's homer in the sixth inning gave the Redbirds a 7-6 lead and Copeland held it through three innings before making way for Long in the ninth. Long worked around an error with one-out to earn the save.
Tokarski was 2-for-4 in the contest with a pair of runs scored and driven in. Anthony Ruffolo and Ty Wiesemeyer each drew two walks for the Redbirds, who collected seven free passes as a team. Creighton was averaging just 2.9 walks per contest entering Friday's game.
Carson Vitale had two hits and two RBI for Creighton, including his third home run of the season. The Bluejay pitching staff allowed just two earned runs in the game.
Illinois State and Creighton continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m., with Brad Sorkin (ISU) throwing against Brandon Koenighstein (CU). The series will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m.
Other Friday Non-Conference Scores from Around the Valley:
Evansville 3, Dallas Baptist 2
The Citadel 4, Indiana State 3