In Friday MVC baseball action, league-leading Illinois State remained a half-game ahead of second-place Wichita State, as both the Redbirds and Shockers notched wins over visiting Bradley and Missouri State, respectively. Evansville, winners of a run-ruled contest at Southern Illinois, moved into a half-game away from third place.
In non-conference action, Indiana State topped Eastern Illinois, 9-2, while Creighton fell to Seattle, 6-4.
EVANSVILLE 14, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 2 (8 Innings)
UE (28-22, 8-8 MVC); SIU (23-26, 6-9 MVC)
CARBONDALE, Ill. - University of Evansville junior third baseman Cody Fick’s grand slam in the eighth inning keyed a nine-run explosion for the Purple Aces, and UE tied a school single-game record with eight doubles, as the Purple Aces cruised to a 14-2 run-rule victory in eight innings over the host Southern Illinois University Salukis at Abe Martin Field in Carbondale, Illinois.
Evansville jumped to an early 5-2 lead through four innings thanks to three run-scoring doubles by sophomore infielder Trentt Copeland, junior outfielder Nate Smith, and senior first baseman Tom Heithoff in the first three frames.
Fick would then put the game out of reach in the eighth inning, as he blasted his Missouri Valley Conference-leading 17th home run of the year to left field with the bases loaded to ignite a nine-run frame. UE would knock four of its school-record eight doubles in the nine-run inning, and junior designated hitter Ryan Oesterle added his fourth home run of the year with a two-run shot, as the Purple Aces improved to 28-22 overall and 8-8 in the MVC with the victory.
The 14 runs of support were more than enough for senior right-hander Keegan Dennis (3-3) to pick up the victory, as he limited SIU to two runs on eight hits over 7.0 innings of work while striking out six. He also got the Salukis to hit into two double plays, as Evansville moved its season double-play total to 59. The Purple Aces entered Friday’s action ranked sixth nationally in double plays turned.
Smith led Evansville’s double barrage by going 3-for-5 with three doubles, while senior outfielder Alex Acheson also went 3-for-5 with a double. Fick added two hits, while driving in a game-high four runs, as he was one of five Purple Aces to collect two hits on the afternoon. Second baseman Blake Pinnon was the lone Saluki to record a multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 effort.
With the victory, Evansville moves to within a half-game of third place in the MVC standings with a 28-22 overall record and 8-8 conference mark. Southern Illinois, meanwhile, falls to 23-26 overall and 6-9 in the Valley with the loss. The two teams will continue the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
WICHITA STATE 3, MISSOURI STATE 0
WSU (33-17, 14-5 MVC); MSU (18-29, 4-12 MVC)
WICHITA, Kan. - Jordan Cooper pitched a complete game shutout with a career-high 14 strikeouts to lead Wichita State to a 3-0 win over Missouri State in game one of a three-game series.
Cooper allowed just six hits in the game with no walks. The 14 strikeouts were the most by a Shocker pitcher since Mike Pelfrey had 14 against Missouri in the 2004 Fayetteville Regional.
The Shockers jumped on the board with two runs in the first. Will Baez singled to right-center with one out and scored on a two-out home run by Preston Springer to put the Shocks in front 2-0.
WSU tacked on another run in the third. Baez reached on a one-out walk and scored on a triple to left-center by Cody Lassley to give WSU a 3-0 advantage.
That was all the run support Cooper needed in his complete game shutout.
The Shockers and Bears meet in game two of their series at 2 p.m. on Sat., May 15 at Eck Stadium.
ILLINOIS STATE 10, BRADLEY 4
ILS (25-19, 13-3 MVC); BU (17-28, 5-11 MVC)
NORMAL, Ill. - A pair of four-run innings propelled Illinois State (25-19, 13-3 MVC) over Bradley (17-28, 5-11), 10-4, in the first game of their Missouri Valley Conference series Friday night at Duffy Bass Field. Chad Hinshaw and Ty Wiesemeyer each drove in a pair of runs and were two of seven Redbirds to collect RBIs in the game.
Illinois State scored four runs in the second inning and four more in the eighth inning to take control of the game. Both teams stranded nine runners, but ISU was able to come up with key hits and walks to drive in runs in key situations.
Corey Maines earned his fifth win of the season, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out six in 6.1 innings. Maines loaded the bases with less than one out twice in the game, but surrendered only one run. Ryan Court went 4-for-5 at the plate with a double and an RBI.
Three infield hits on the first four pitches of the game loaded the bases with one out for Bradley. Maines limited the damage with two strikeouts and a groundout, holding the Braves to just one run in the first inning.
Hinshaw tied the game in the second inning with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Zach Amrein, and when he stole second on the next at-bat, the throw went into center field, moving him to third base and allowing Evan Kohli to score. A single by Kevin Tokarski and a Wiesemeyer double capped the four-run inning, putting the Redbirds ahead for good.
Bradley pushed across a run in the third inning with a triple and a sacrifice ground out, and threatened to add on more in the fifth, loading the bases again with no outs. Maines worked out of the jam again, inducing a pop out to first and a line drive to third, which Court turned into a double play when the Bradley runner was caught too far off the base.
ISU scored two more in the bottom half of the fifth inning to extend its lead to 6-2. Wiesemeyer drove a solo home run to right field, his second of the year, and Court hit an RBI double off the wall in center field.
The bottom of the seventh inning saw four more runs for the Redbirds. Bradley relief pitcher Phil Kaiser came into the game and quickly loaded the bases with one out. Amrein hit a bloop single down the left field line to drive in a run and then Kohli walked and Hinshaw was hit by a pitch, forcing in two more. A fielder's choice ground ball by Brett Kay produced the final ISU run of the inning.
Friday Non-Conference Scores from Around the Valley:
Indiana State 9, Eastern Illinois 2
Seattle 6, Creighton 4