A rainy Thursday in MVC baseball action was cause for a mixture of results on the field. Bradley and Indiana State were delayed nearly four hours before the Braves topped the Sycamores, 6-5, in ninth inning walk-off fashion. Southern Illinois scattered 17 hits to take out Missouri State, 13-2, in Coach Dan Callahan's most lopsided win ever over the Bears. Illinois State and Evansville played to a 2-2 deadlock before postponing the remainder of the game in the fourth inning.
In the lone non-conference game of the evening, Wichita State tallied its 36th win of the season, a 6-2 decision over visiting Dallas Baptist, as Jordan Cooper delivered his ninth win of the season.
BRADLEY 6, INDIANA STATE 5
BU (19-29, 7-12 MVC); INS (32-16, 9-9 MVC)
PEORIA, Ill. - Senior catcher Kevin Sullivan played hero twice in the last two innings, delivering a game-tying home run in the eighth and a walk-off single in the ninth, leading Bradley (19-29, 7-12 MVC) to a 6-5 win against visiting Indiana State (32-16, 9-9 MVC) Thursday night at O'Brien Field.
The start of the game was delayed 3-hours, 42-minutes by persistent rain and the conditions may have contributed to some wildness by both pitching staffs. While Bradley hurlers Patrick Cooper and Justin Ziegler combined to walk seven Sycamores, four Indiana State pitchers combined for eight walks. Ziegler (2-1) allowed two of Bradley's walks, surrendered only one run on three hits in 4.0 innings of effective relief to earn the win.
Bradley drew leadoff walks in four innings - the first, second, seventh and ninth -- and the Braves scored in three of those frames. Bradley also got leadoff hits in the third and eighth innings, both leading to runs.
In the ninth, senior second baseman Matt Fritz earned his second leadoff walk and third overall free pass of the game. Sophomore third baseman Matt Elliott moved Fritz with a sacrifice bunt and the Indiana State's fourth pitcher, Tyler Browning (1-2) walked junior centerfielder Brian Martin in front of Sullivan. Sullivan's third hit of the game, a line drive into the right centerfield gap, brought home Fritz with the game-winner.
The Braves took advantage of a leadoff walk to Fritz to key a 2-run first inning. Elliott followed with a single through the right side of the infield to perfectly execute a hit-and-run play and push Fritz to third. Elliott promptly stole second, the first of Bradley's season-high six stolen bases in the game, before Martin and Sullivan followed with a sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out, respectively.
Indiana State immediately cut into its deficit with a 2-out rally in the top of the second. Again a walk keyed the run-scoring opportunity as Tyler Graham drew the free pass with two outs, stole second and scored on Levi Ferguson's single to right centerfield. The Braves got the run back in the bottom of the third for a 3-1 lead when Elliott led off with a single, stole second and scored on a Martin single.
The Sycamores again had an immediate answer, closing to within 3-2 in the top of the fourth. Luke Fieser opened the fourth with a double into the left centerfield gap, moved to third on a groundout and scored when Cooper's ball four to Graham sailed through the backstop net. Martin temporarily kept the Braves in front when he charged in from centerfield to make a diving catch, robbing Grgurich of an RBI single to end the top of the fourth.
Indiana State took its first lead in the fifth, opening the frame with a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. Robby Ort delivered a 2-run single to left to put the Sycamores up, 4-3. Cooper recovered by getting Fieser to bounce into a double play and fanning Jeremy Lucas.
Indiana State starter Jacob Petricka retired 11 of the last 12 Bradley hitters he faced before giving way to lefty Kevin Mann to start the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Brad Kimball worked the new hurler for a 9-pitch walk, then was lifted for pinch-runner Christian Segar. Fritz drew a one-out walk to put runners at first and second and chase Mann. With Elliott facing the third Sycamores pitcher, right-hander Scott Harlan, the two Bradley runners executed a double steal. Elliott responded with a sacrifice fly to force a 4-4 tie.
After getting the first two Indiana State hitters in the eighth, Ziegler issued a two-out walk to Levi Ferguson, setting up Indiana State's go-ahead rally. Ferguson swiped second and scored on Jordan Pearson's flair into right field on an 0-2 pitch for a 5-4 lead.
Sullivan had Bradley's answer in the bottom of the eighth, however, hitting the first pitch of the frame over the right field wall for his second home run of the season.
The teams will resume their 3-game Valley set with a scheduled 2 p.m. game Friday at O'Brien Field and the series finale is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 13, MISSOURI STATE 2
SIU (27-26, 9-9 MVC); MSU (19-31, 5-14 MVC)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Southern Illinois baseball team got 17 hits and senior pitcher Nathan Forer only gave up one run in seven innings to lead the Salukis past Missouri State, 13-2, on Thursday at Hammons Field.
This was SIU's biggest Missouri Valley Conference victory since the Dawgs beat Northern Iowa 14-2 in 2006 and it was head coach Dan Callahan's biggest win over Missouri State in his career.
The Salukis have now won four-straight to improve to 27-26 overall and an even 9-9 in MVC play while the Bears fall to 19-31 overall and 5-14 with the loss.
Six different Salukis had two or more hits Thursday. Senior shortstop Michael Stalter went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. It was the second four-hit game in his career against Missouri State and his third four-hit game this season.
Chris Serritella, Tyler Bullock and Brian Bajer all drove in two runs in the game and Chris Murphyled the team with three RBIs. Serritella has now driven in nine runs in his last three games and Bajer has six in his last four.
Senior right fielder Aaron Roberts went 3-for-5 with one RBI and he bunted safely for a pair of singles.
Forer picked up his third win on the year (3-3) and his ERA drops back down below three at 2.93. He allowed seven hits in seven innings and struck out one with two walks. He did not give up a hit to MSU's Kevin Medrano, who is the league's second-leading batter with a .408 batting average, and Medrano finished the game going 0-for-4.
Missouri State starter Mike Kickham drew the loss to fall to 4-8. He gave up nine hits, six runs and had four strikeouts.
Southern Illinois opened the game by scoring a run in each of the first two innings. Serritella had an RBI-single in the first and Stalter hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning. That was the second homer for Stalter in as many games, marking the first time in his career that he belted homers in back-to-back games.
A leadoff double followed by a single led to Missouri State scoring its first run in the bottom of the third. Travis McComack, who had the double to left-center, scored when Medrano grounded into his second double in as many at-bats.
SIU tacked on three more runs in the fourth off of three hits. Bajer's third double of the season plated a pair and Murphy drove him home from second on a single to left field.
The Saluki lead went up to 6-1 in the fifth. Stalter hit a one-out double and he scored two batters later when Roberts safely bunted between the mound and first base.
After Forer had allowed seven base runners to get on in the first three innings, he retired all nine batters he faced from the fourth through the sixth and only used five pitches in that sixth inning where he got three fly-outs.
Southern tacked on four runs in the top of the eighth and two in the ninth while the Bears scored one in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to finish the scoring.
Thursday Non-Conference Scores Around the Valley:
Wichita State 6, Dallas Baptist 2