Baseball Weekly Notebook: Wichita Awaits
Monday, May 24, 2010

Tournament Set
Wichita State (15-6 MVC) earned the top seed at the State Farm MVC Baseball Tournament, as winners of the head-to-head tiebreaker with Illinois State (15-6 MVC).  The Shockers and Redbirds were named regular-season co-champions, with Wichita State tallying its 20th title and Illinois State claiming its first-ever share of the league's top honors in the regular-season.

Indiana State (10-10 MVC) claimed the third seed after earning the tiebreaker over fourth-seeded Southern Illinois (10-10 MVC).

Evansville (10-11 MVC) earned the No. 5 seed after taking two of three games in its final series with Illinois State, while Creighton (9-12 MVC) will be the No. 6 seed.

Bradley (8-13 MVC) and Missouri State (6-15) are the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.

Wichita State to Host
Wichita State University will serve as host for the 2010 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship for the 25th time in school history, from May 25-29.  The 2010 event will be played at Eck Stadium - Tyler Field, on the Wichita State campus in Wichita, Kan.  Eck Stadium has been the home of the Valley Baseball Championship for 21 of the last 28 seasons.

Tournament Top Dog
Wichita State boasts 91 MVC Tournament wins, the most in the league, and the Shockers also hold the league's top winning percentage (.693) in tournament play.  Just one other team - Indiana State - holds an overall winning record in the MVC Tournament (.566).

Team

Record

Win. %

BU

44-60

.423

CU

42-50-1

.457

UE

18-21

.462

ILS

12-31

.279

INS

56-43

.566

MSU

30-34

.469

SIU

47-48

.495

WSU

91-40-1

.693

Wichita State as the Top Seed


Wichita State (15-6 MVC) is the State Farm MVC Baseball Tournament's top seed for the 23rd time in school history, dating back to 1981. From the top seed, the Shockers boast 13 tournament titles.

Wichita State holds a 64-22-1 record at the MVC tournament as the No. 1 seed - dating back to 1981.

Top Two Seeds Dominate
If history is any indication, being the No. 1 seed has its benefits as more MVC Tournament champions (14) have come from the top spot than any other seed dating back to 1981.  The No. 2 seed has claimed eight tournament titles, while no other seed has won more than three championships.

The lowest seed to ever win the tournament was the sixth seed, in 1994 by Illinois State.

Seed - Totals by Seed
No. 1 - 14
No. 2 - 8
No. 3 - 3
No. 4 - 1
No. 5 - 2
No. 6 -1

30-Win Teams
Three Missouri Valley Conference teams - Evansville, Indiana State and Wichita State - have passed the 30-win threshold, marking the 34th-straight season in which at least three MVC teams have reached 30 wins. 

Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Creighton can join the 30-win club with two, three and four victories, respectively, at this week's State Farm MVC Baseball Championship.

Defending?
Wichita State looks to defend its title at the 2010 State Farm MVC Baseball Championship for the sixth time since 1981.  Teams have won back-to-back titles seven times in league history, including two three-peats and one four-peat - Indiana State (83-84); Wichita State (87-88; 91-92-93; 98-99-00; 02-03-04-05; 08-09); Missouri State (96-97).

Watch on MVC Live
Every game of this year's State Farm MVC Tournament will be available on the air.  MVC Live, the conference's online streaming production, will carry the first 14 games of the tournament and Fox Sports Midwest will televise the tournament final on Saturday, May 29 at 1:30 p.m.  Fans can sign up for the free stream by visiting www.mvc-sports.com and clicking on the banner at the top of the page or by clicking "subscribe" underneath the video player.

On the Tube
What:  State Farm MVC Baseball Championship
When:  Sat., May 29 - 1:30 p.m. Central
Where:  Eck Stadium-Tyler Field (7,851 Capacity) - Wichita, Kansas
Clearances:  Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on Fox Sports Midwest (3.1 million homes); Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on Fox Sports Indiana (1.2 million homes); Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on Fox Sports Kansas City (1.6 million homes); Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (4.759 million homes); Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on Metro Sports (500,000 homes); Live at 1:30 p.m. Central on May 29 on DirecTV Channel 671, Dish Network Channel 418 and AT&T U-verse Channel 748.

Teams with 10 League Wins
For just the second time in league history when only eight teams sponsored baseball, at least five of those eight teams registered a minimum of 10 conference wins.  The only other year which this occurred was in 1993, when Wichita State, Missouri State, Bradley, Indiana State, Creighton and Illinois State all tallied 10 or more wins in the Valley.

Host Team Success
Dating back to 1981, host institutions have been the tournament champion 13 times in 29 years, while they have been the tournament runner-up an additional five times, most recently in 1998 (Evansville).  Wichita State is the only tournament host to have ever won at its home field.  
 
15 Valley Wins
After winning only 11 league games in 2009, Wichita State (15-6 MVC) registered 15 conference victories this season.  Prior to 2009, the Shockers had won at least 15 MVC games for 18 straight seasons, the most of any team in the league.  Missouri State has the next longest streak of 15-plus conference games, in 10 straight seasons (1995-04).  Indiana State (2000-03) and Southern Illinois (2002-05) have tallied 15 or more league wins in four consecutive seasons.  Evansville had three consecutive seasons of 15 or more Valley wins (1999-01), while Creighton has won at least 15 MVC games in back-to-back seasons four times (1991-92; 1999-00; 2004-05; 2007-08).  Bradley and Illinois State have never won 15 or more league games in consecutive seasons.

Birds Claim Share of Title
With a win over Evansville in last weekend's series, the Redbirds clinched a share of the regular-season Missouri Valley Conference title for the first time ever.  Illinois State won the tournament title in 1994, but had never won the regular season since playing its first conference schedule in 1982.  The Redbirds won five of seven conference series in 2010, dropping 2-1 decisions to Wichita State and Evansville. 

Tokarski Takes Another
Kevin Tokarski set another Illinois State record by clubbing his 24th and 25th doubles of the season against Evansville last weekend.  The previous single-season doubles mark was 23, set in 2008 by Kevin Dubler.  He broke Illinois State's career steals mark earlier this season and is within five steals (27) of his own single-season mark of 32 set as a freshman in 2008.  Tokarski's .433 batting average is the third-highest in Illinois State history and his .547 on-base percentage is the highest-ever by a Redbird. Tokarski's 77 hits are four short of Todd Schroeder's single season record (81) and his walks (44) and runs (60) totals are the third-best ever for an ISU player.

40+ Base Swipers
UE freshman Eric Stamets accomplished a feat that has not been done in the MVC since 1996, as he enters this week's action with a school-record 41 stolen bases this season.  No Valley player has surpassed the 40-steal mark since Wichita State's Randy Young stole 68 bases during the 1996 season.

Medrano Ends at 29
Kevin Medrano's hitting streak came to a hard-luck end Saturday at 29 games, one shy of the school record.  The sophomore grounded out sharply to shortstop in the first inning and walked in his next two plate appearances before being stranded in the on deck circle when the final out was made, leaving him without a fourth plate appearance.

Season Streaks
Below is a list of the longest winning streaks of 2010:

2010 Longest Winning Streaks
Evansville 6, (A13-A20)
Indiana State 6 (M16-M23)
Southern Illinois 6 (M28-A6)
Wichita State 6 (A3-A10)
Bradley 5 (M1-M8)
Illinois State 5 (M19-M27)
Creighton 4 (A28-M2)
Missouri State 4 (A2-A7)

Non-Con. Never Below .500
The Missouri Valley Conference boasts a 139-112 (.554) in non-conference action (through games of Sunday, May 16).  Below are the best non-league results, dating back to 1981, as well as the number of post-season bids registered each season:

Year Non-Conf. +/- Post-Season Teams
1987 - 186-67 (.734) +119 2 NCAA (INS, WSU)
1985 - 196-80 (.708) +116 1 NCAA (CU, SIU, WSU)
1990 - 180-76 (.703) +104 3 NCAA (WSU)
1988 - 165-77 (.679) +88 1 NCAA (WSU)
1983 - 187-89 (.776) +98 2 NCAA (INS, WSU)
1986 - 168-84 (.663) +84 2 NCAA (INS, SIU)
1991 - 195-101 (.658) +94 2 NCAA (CU, WSU)
1998 - 154-82 (.651) +72 1 NCAA (WSU)
1999 - 163-88 (.649) +75 3 NCAA (CU, MSU, WSU)
1989 - 182-99 (.647) +83 2 NCAA (INS, WSU)
1982 - 201-110 (.646) +91 1 NCAA (WSU)
1995 - 157-86 (.645) +71 3 NCAA (INS, MSU, WSU)
2005 - 199-112 (.640) +87 2 NCAA (CU, WSU)
1984 - 141-81 (.634) +60 1 NCAA (INS)
1992 - 182-110 (.622) +72 2 NCAA (CU, WSU)
1981 - 190-117 (.619) +73 2 NCAA (SIU, WSU)
2007 - 183-116 (.612) +67 2 NCAA CU, WSU)
1993 - 177-121 (.594) +56 1 NCAA (WSU)
1996 - 141-105 (.573) +36 2 NCAA (MSU, WSU)
2002 - 134-100 (.572) +34 2 NCAA (MSU, WSU)
2006 - 173-130 (.571) +43 2 NCAA (UE, WSU)
1997 - 148-111 (.571) +37 2 NCAA (MSU, WSU)
2000 - 137-105 (.566) +32 3 NCAA (CU, UE, WSU)
1994 - 166-128 (.565) +38 2 NCAA (ILS, WSU)
2008 - 161-126 (.561) +31 1 NCAA (WSU)
2001 - 130-111 (.539) +19 1 NCAA (UNI)
2003 - 134-115 (.538) +19 2 NCAA (MSU, WSU)
2009 - 145-125 (.537) +20 1 NCAA (WSU)
2004 - 124-118 (.512) +6 1 NCAA (WSU)

Against the Field
The MVC holds a winning record against nine leagues in non-conference play (Atlantic-10, Colonial, Great West, Mid-American, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southland, SWAC and Summit) and at least a .500 mark against the Big Sky. 

Against the 2009 NCAA Field
The Valley has won 17 games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams, and all 17 wins have come from four teams - Bradley, Creighton, Missouri State and Wichita State. 

The Braves have five wins against the 2009 NCAA field - two versus Army and three against Tennessee Tech.  The Bears have tallied four wins versus 2009 Tournament teams - three against Oral Roberts and one versus Oklahoma State - while the Bluejays have three wins against last year's tournament field, including one each against Kansas State, Minnesota and Sam Houston State.  The Shockers have the final five victories, against Kansas, Oral Roberts, Washington State and Oklahoma State, twice.

Best Show in Town
The Wichita State vs. Kansas State game on Tue., April 20 drew a crowd of 7,217 to Eck Stadium.  That figure was the 10th largest crowd in Shocker history and the largest regular-season crowd ever.

Now That's a Lot of Wins
Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson won his 1,700th career game on Sunday, April 4 at Evansville.  He becomes just the second coach in Division I baseball history to reach that milestone, joining Augie Garrido of Texas.  Stephenson's career record now stands at 1,721-595-3.

Saluki Skipper for 200, Please
Southern Illinois head coach Dan Callahan picked up his 200th career Missouri Valley Conference victory in a 3-1 win over Bradley on Saturday, April 3.  He became the fifth coach in league history to reach the milestone and is just one of three active coaches with 200 Valley wins, joining Wichita State's Gene Stephenson (550) and Missouri State's Keith Guttin (301).

Servais Gets #250
Head coach Ed Servais toppled the 250-win plateau at Creighton with the Jays 3-1 victory over visiting Seattle on Saturday, May 15.  Servais now owns a 253-144 record at Creighton.  He enters the weekend with 110 career wins in MVC play.  The only other coach with more league wins in their first seven seasons in the MVC is former Evansville coach Jim Brownlee, who recorded 111 in his first seven campaigns.

Quick Starts Crucial                                                   
If your team has plans on sitting atop the MVC standings heading into the league's postseason tournament, you might want to get off to a good start as every team that has won the MVC regular season has won at least 16 games since 2005, the first year of a 24-game conference schedule. 

In fact, only twice since 2005 has a team with a MVC winning percentage as low as .750 won the regular season title (2005, CU, 17-7; 2006, UE, 16-8).

Tight Races                                                
Since the start of the 24-game conference schedule in 2005 (three-game series), the top two places in the regular-season standings have been separated by just one game in every year except one - in 2009 when first-place Missouri State had a two-game lead over second-place Indiana State heading into the State Farm MVC Baseball Tournament.    

Deja' Vu
Wichita State has been the league's most dominant team since the inception of a conference schedule in 1984.  Since then, the Shockers have place in the top three of the regular season standings in 25 of the 26 seasons - the only season Wichita State did not finish in the top three was in 1984, the year the league first adopted a conference schedule.

Missouri State has placed in the league's top three in 13 of 19 seasons, including 11 of the last 14 seasons. 

Creighton has also finished in the top three 13 times - in the Bluejays' 26 seasons of league play.

This week's Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Creighton's Trever Adams and Indiana State's Joe Rodriguez. 
        
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Trever Adams, Jr., OF, Creighton

Junior Trever Adams finished the season as Creighton's leading hitter, courtesy of a fine final week. Adams hit .571 (8-for-14) over the four Bluejay games, belting two home runs, driving in five and tallying five extra base hits. The Lincoln native did it on the basepaths as well, swiping two bases, while drawing four walks and getting hit by a pitch for an on-base percentage of .632. Adams hit his 10th home run of the season in Friday's second game, making him the first Creighton outfielder since Ryan Fitzgerald in 2003 to hit 10 or more home runs.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK 
Joe Rodriguez, Sr., LHP, Indiana State
Indiana State senior southpaw Joe Rodriguez improved to 7-1 on the season with a dominating performance on Friday against Bradley. Rodriguez tossed eight innings in the center of the diamond, while striking out eight batters and walking just one. The Sycamore lefty scattered five singles and a double during his start, assisting Indiana State to the third seed in the conference tournament.

Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:   

Brian Martin (BU) - A week after hitting .700 in a 3-game series at Illinois State, Martin kept up his torrid pace by hitting .500 (5-10) with two walks and two sacrifice flies during Bradley's season-ending series versus Indiana State.  Martin helped the Braves secure the series win against the Sycamores Saturday by hitting a game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to end Bradley's 5-4 victory.  In Thursday's 6-5 win to open the series, Martin was 2-for-3 with a sac fly, a walk and two RBI's.  He added a 2-for-4 showing with a run scored in Friday's game.  Martin's hot finish leaves makes him Bradley's leader in batting average (.371) and RBI's (39) heading into the MVC Tournament.

Ryan Court (ILS) - Court became the first Redbird to reach double digit home runs since 2004 when the junior from Sleepy Hollow, Ill., launched two over the wall at Evansville last weekend. Court batted .417 in the series with the Purple Aces and led the Redbirds in hits (5), RBI (4) and total bases (12). Court added a double for three extra base hits while helping the Redbirds clinch a share of the program's first-ever regular-season Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

Luke Fieser (INS) - Fieser led the Indiana State offense this past weekend, going 6-15 (.400) at the plate with a double. Fieser led the team in total bases (seven) while recording five assists from the field without committing an error.

Tyler Bullock (SIU) - Bullock hit three home runs and had nine RBIs in four games this week where he led the Salukis to a 3-1 record, which included a series win at Missouri State. In the second game of the series at MSU, Bullock hit two home runs and had a career-high five RBIs. It was his second two-homer game this year and fourth of his career. His second homer of the game broke a 5-all tie in the seventh and proved to be the winning run for the Dawgs in the 6-5 victory. Then on Saturday in the series finale, he hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to bring SIU back from a 5-3 deficit and move the game into extra innings. Bullock now has 14 homers on the season and 31 in his career, as he became just the second Saluki in program history to hit more than 30 home runs in a career.

Ryan Jones (WSU) - Jones led the Shockers to a 4-0 week including a win over Oral Roberts and a sweep of Dallas Baptist.  He went 6-for-16 (.375) with four runs, a double, two home runs and six RBI.  On Tuesday against ORU, he went 2-for-5 with an RBI.  In game one against the Patriots, he went 1-for-4 with a run, two RBI and a home run.  In game two, he went 2-for-4 with two runs, three RBI and a home run and in game three he went 1-for-3 with a run and a double.

Ryan Copeland (ILS) - Copeland helped Illinois State clinch a share of its first-ever regular-season Missouri Valley Conference Championship with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in Friday's 7-6 win over Evansville and added two scoreless innings of relief in Saturday's series finale. In all, Copeland was perfect in 3.2 innings during the series with five strikeouts and no walks or hits allowed.

Nathan Forer (SIU) - Forer only allowed one run and scattered seven hits as he led the Salukis to a 13-2 win at Missouri State on Thursday, May 20. It was his fifth start this year where he allowed either one or no earned runs and four of those have come in conference play. Forer retired 12 straight batters in the game where he picked up his third win of the year. His outing lowered his ERA back below three to 2.93.

Jordan Cooper (WSU) - Cooper led the Shockers to an opening game victory over Dallas Baptist on Friday.  He pitched seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.  He shut out the Patriots through the first five innings which increased his scoreless innings streak to a school record 32.1 innings before giving up a solo home run to lead off the sixth.  He struck out at least one batter in five of his seven innings and earned his ninth win of the season.  He also lowered his ERA to 1.59.