In Friday MVC baseball action, Wichita State, Illinois State and Evansville took the first game of the weekend series. Jordan Cooper of Wichita State tallied his seventh win of the season after tossing 7.0 shutout innings against the Redbirds, as the Shockers won, 8-0. Illinois State survived 17 strikeout by Missouri State's pitching staff to win on the road, 7-5, while Evansville snapped a three-game Valley losing streak, topping Indiana State, 3-2.
WICHITA STATE 8, CREIGHTON 0
WSU (30-17, 11-5 MVC); CU (22-18, 9-10 MVC)
OMAHA, Neb. - Jordan Cooper threw seven shutout innings as Wichita State won game one of its series with Creighton, 8-0.
Cooper allowed seven hits and struck out five in his seven innings of work.
Bret Bascue went 2-for-2 with three RBI and a double while Johnny Coy went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Preston Springer, Cody Lassley, Travis Bennett and Ryan Jones also had two hits for WSU.
WSU starting pitcher Jordan Cooper escaped trouble in the fourth inning. Trever Adams tripled to right centerfield to lead off the inning and a walk by TJ Roemmich put runners at the corners with no one out. Cooper picked off Roemmich on a first-to-third move and threw out Adams at the plate on a squeeze play for the second out of the inning. Cooper got a flyout to left field to end the threat.
The Shockers got on the board in the fifth inning. With two outs and no one on, Preston Springer blooped a single into shallow left field. Cody Lassley drove a double over the left fielder's head to drive in Springer for a 1-0 lead and then Travis Bennett singled to right centerfield to score Lassley to put the Shocks in front 2-0.
Springer led off the seventh with a bomb to right centerfield to give the Shocks a 3-0 advantage and a three-run double from Bret Bascue later in the inning increased the lead to 6-0.
Will Baez led off the eighth with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. He came around to score on a two-out single from Kevin Hall. Hall advanced to second on the throw home and scored on a single from Johnny Coy to put WSU up 8-0.
The Shockers and Bluejays meet in game two of the series on Sat., May 8 at 12 p.m. at Rosenblatt Stadium.
ILLINOIS STATE 7, MISSOURI STATE 4
ILS (22-18, 10-3 MVC); MSU (18-26, 4-9 MVC)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State’s pitching staff may have won the strikeout contest at Hammons Field Friday night, but the Illinois State pitching staff received just enough run support to help the Redbirds snap a 13-game road losing streak to the Bears, 7-5, and remain at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings.
Mike Kickham fanned a career-best 14 batters as the Bears (18-26, 4-9 MVC) retired 17 Redbirds (22-18, 10-3 MVC) on strikeouts. Illinois State starter Corey Maines struck out 10 batters to tie his career-high and watched as Ryan Copeland and Kenny Long combined to strike out six more in three scoreless innings of relief. Maines settled down after allowing five runs in the first three innings and posted three scoreless before turning a 5-5 ballgame over to the Illinois State bullpen. Copeland earned the win and Long worked out of a jam with two runners in scoring position in the ninth to close out the Redbirds first win at Springfield since March 29, 2002, and notched his sixth save of the season.
Kickham was dominant through the first four innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out 11. Kickham’s only hits allowed during those innings were an RBI single to Jake Thornton in the second and a two-run blast by Kevin Tokarski in the third. Despite the scoring, Missouri State still led 5-3 going into the fifth, but Evan Kohli’s solo shot to start the frame ignited the Redbirds.
Illinois State sent eight batters to the plate in the fifth and scratched across two runs, including the game-tying run on an RBI single by Anthony Ruffolo, and got a hit and at least two men aboard in each of the next three innings. The Redbirds surged ahead in the bottom of the eighth – another inning with eight plate appearances – on a two-RBI single by Matt Mirabal off Murphy that eventually turned into the game-winning hit.
Maines struggled through the first two innings as Missouri State sent 13 batters to the plate and scored four runs, and allowed a solo shot to Keenen Maddox in the third before notching his first scoreless frame in the fourth. Maines allowed just two base runners in his final two innings of work and Copeland was equally impressive with four strikeouts in his first two innings of relief. Copeland walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, struck out Aaron Conway, then allowed a double to Kevin Medrano before Long closed the game. The 16 strikeouts by the Redbird pitchers was a season-high.
Tokarski went 4-for-5 in the contest and scored three runs in addition to his two RBI. Kohli’s home run was his first since March 1 against Western Michigan, and the senior first baseman walked twice and scored two runs. Ruffolo was 2-for-4 with a walk.
Medrano and Curt Courtwright each tallied two hits for Missouri State. Travis McComack, Medrano, Christian Overstreet and Maddox all had RBIs. Blake Barber pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Bears.
The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. with Pat Doyle (MSU) and Brad Sorkin (ISU) starting for their respective teams.
EVANSVILLE 3, INDIANA STATE 2
UE (25-20, 6-7 MVC); INS (29-14, 8-7 MVC)
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - University of Evansville sophomore infielder Trentt Copeland’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a 2-2 tie, and senior closer Tom Heithoff worked around a lead-off walk on Friday night to nail down his Missouri Valley Conference-leading ninth save of the year, as the Purple Aces topped the visiting Indiana State University Sycamores, 3-2, at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.
After Indiana State scored a run in the first inning on a walk and a pair of singles, UE was able to answer back with a run of its own thanks to the speed of freshman shortstop Eric Stamets. After opening the inning with a single, Stamets stole second, advanced to third on a ball in the dirt that didn’t leave the dirt circle of home plate, and eventually scored on a throwing error during a pick-off attempt at first base. The stolen base by Stamets was his 36th of the year, which ties the UE single-season record originally set by Kevin Krizan in 1991.
Evansville would then take a 2-1 lead in the second inning, as junior outfielder Nate Smith crushed a 1-0 fastball from Indiana State ace Jacob Petricka to dead-center field for his fourth home run of the year.
The score would remain 2-1 until the eighth inning, as both Dennis and Petricka worked in and out of trouble in their time on the mound. The Sycamores would eventually tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning on a one-out single by designated hitter Jeremy Lucas, a stolen base, and a two-out single up the middle by catcher Tyler Graham.
UE would quickly respond though in the bottom of the eighth inning by loading the bases with only one out against reliever Kevin Mann (4-1), before Copeland came through with a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Purple Aces a 3-2 lead. Heithoff would then work around a lead-off walk and a sacrifice bunt to produce a scoreless ninth inning and record his league-best ninth save of the year.
Junior RHP Zach Taylor (2-1) earned the victory on the mound for UE, scattering a run on three hits in 2.2 innings of work, while Dennis allowed just a run on six hits in 5.1 innings of work in the no-decision.
With the victory, Evansville evens its victory total of a year ago by improving to 25-20 overall and 6-7 in the MVC. Indiana State, meanwhile, falls to 29-14 overall and 8-7 in the Valley.
Other Friday Non-Conference Scores Around the Valley:
Middle Tennessee State 14, Southern Illinois 11