Missouri Valley Conference baseball teams continue to crank out the wins, combining for a 20-6 (.769) record last week, which ups the league’s non-conference record to 52-29 (.642) on the season. Three teams – Missouri State (4-0), Illinois State (3-0) and Creighton (2-0) - went undefeated last week, while another four teams - Indiana State (3-1), Bradley (2-1), Evansville (2-1) and Southern Illinois (2-1) - registered just one loss last week.
MVC NEWS & NOTES
Three teams are on current winning streaks of five or more wins, as both Illinois State and Missouri State have won seven consecutive games, while Illinois State has won five straight.
Wichita State remained at No. 19 in this week's Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 poll, following a 2-2 showing last week.
This week's Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Aaron Conway of Missouri State and Jason Van Skike of Indiana State.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aaron Conway, SR., CF, Missouri State
Aaron Conway led Missouri State to a 4-0 week by amassing 13 hits and a .650 batting average to go with five doubles, seven runs, three RBIs and three stolen bases. He slugged .900 and was on base two-thirds of the time in 21 plate appearances. Conway had at least two hits in every game while matching his career high with a pair of four-hit outings. The center fielder accounted for nearly as many runs (10) as MSU opponent’s scored in the four games (14). Conway started the week by going 3-for-5 with a run scored in the Bears’ 3-2 win at Oklahoma State. He reached base three times and scored twice, including the tying run in the ninth inning, Friday vs. North Dakota, then posted consecutive 4-for-5 games Saturday and Sunday vs. UND. Saturday, Conway doubled twice, scored three times and drove in one run, then doubled twice more with a pair of RBIs and a run scored Sunday. Conway extended his hitting streak to 11 games and raised his batting average to .460 on the season.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Jason Van Skike, SR., RHP, Indiana State
Senior Jason Van Skike threw the 10th no-hitter in Indiana State baseball history on Saturday, leading the Sycamores to an 8-0 victory over Central Arkansas. The no-no from Van Skike was the first no-hitter for ISU since the 1988 season when Skip Wiley and Kevin Klingerman combined to no-hit the University of Indianapolis in a 10-0 ISU victory and the first nine-inning individual no-hitter for a Sycamore pitcher since 1949. The ISU senior threw a career-high 143 pitches against Central Arkansas on Saturday, striking out five batters during his nine innings on the mound.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and pitcher of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Mike Tauchman (BU) - Tauchman hit .556 (5-9) and drew five walks, helping the Braves to a 2-1 record at the Tennessee Classic. Tauchman reached safely in three of his four plate appearances in Friday’s game at Tennessee and in all four plate appearances in Sunday’s 6-2 win over Indiana. He finished the weekend with a .714 on-base percentage, reaching safely in 10-of-14 overall plate appearances in the three games. Defensively, he added an outfield assist to help short-circuit Indiana’s 9th-inning rally Sunday afternoon.
Alex Staehely (CU) - Staehely led the team offensively to two additional wins, improving the Jays record to 9-1, including eight straight wins. Stahely hit .500 in the two games the Jays played this last week, with a double, scoring two runs and knocking in one. Staehely also had a sacrifice bunt, his second of the season. In six attempts defensively, Staehely did not make an error in the two games. Staehely has gotten at least one hit in the last seven games straight as well as in nine of the first ten games, with seven of those being multi-hit games. He has improved his average by almost 100 points in his streak, improving his average to a team leading .405. Staehely leads the team in batting average (.405), slugging percentage (.643), runs scored (10), hits (17), doubles (6), triples (2) and total bases (27).
Trentt Copeland (UE) -Copeland left his normal second base position to start Evansville’s midweek game at UT-Martin, marking his collegiate pitching debut. Copeland (1-0) threw five scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing just two hits, walking three, and striking out three as UE topped the Skyhawks, 16-3. At the plate, Copeland hit .429, leading the Aces with three hits, including two doubles, batting in two and scoring one run in UE’s doubleheader with Eastern Illinois. In UE’s 4-1 win over the Panthers, the Guelph, Ontario native lined an RBI double to give the Aces a 3-0 advantage in the third inning. The Aces went 2-1 on the week.
Ryan Court (ILS) -Court hit .429, going 6-for-14 with five runs scored and four RBI, including a home run and two doubles, as Illinois State went 3-0 at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, Mar. 4–6, in Winter Haven, Fla. Court amassed a .467 on-base percentage and a .786 slugging percentage over the three-day stretch. Additionally, Court extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. Court currently ranks first in four offensive categories for the Redbirds, including batting average (.389), runs (11), hits (14) and doubles (5).
Jon Hedges (INS) -Hedges led the Sycamores in batting during the four-game weekend against Central Arkansas, going 6-for-14 (.429) at the plate with a home run, double and seven RBIs. Hedges also led ISU with a .714 slugging percentage against the Bears, while leading the team with three sacrifice flies during the weekend. The ISU newcomer started all four games at first base, recording 38 putouts over the weekend.
Jonny Coy (WSU) -Coy led the Shockers to two wins last week including a win over New Orleans and a road win at Dallas Baptist. In the four games last week, he went 6-for-16 (.375) with four runs, two doubles, five RBI and two walks. He had a hit in each game to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Against New Orleans, he went 2-for-3 with two runs, three RBI and a double and against Dallas Baptist, he went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a double.
Jacob Booden (BU) -Booden picked up his first win of the season by tossing 5.0 shutout innings in Bradley’s 6-2 win versus Indiana Sunday. The 6-foot-9 right-hander scattered five hits in his third start of the season and did not allow an earned run for the second time in a 5-inning performance to open the season. He retired the final seven batters he faced before turning a 5-0 lead over to his bullpen to start the sixth.
Jonas Dufek (CU) -Dufek threw a season high 7.0 innings on Sunday at Arkansas State, not allowing a run and giving up just three walks. Dufek, who leads the team with 23 strikeouts this season, fanned four batters and gave up three walks. He faced 27 batters, forcing 10 ground outs and six fly outs on the day, while lowering his overall ERA to 2.00, the lowest among all Bluejay starters. On the season, Dufek has thrown 18.0 innings, given up 14 hits while striking out 23. He has allowed just four earned runs while not giving up a triple or homerun yet.
Ryan Camp (ILS) - Camp earned his first victory of the season Mar. 4 versus Minnesota State at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla. Camp pitched five innings, giving up just one run on six hits, while striking out four without issuing a walk. The Mapleton, Ill., native limited opposing batters to a .286 average.
Blake Barber (MSU) -Barber ran his personal scoreless streak to 16 innings by allowing just two baserunners in seven scoreless innings against North Dakota. Barber did not allow a runner beyond first base, walked none and struck out six. The senior retired 15 hitters in a row from the first to the sixth innings, recording five 1-2-3 innings and facing four batters in the other two. Barber held UND to an .087 batting average to get the victory.
Cody Forsythe (SIU) -Forsythe threw eight scoreless innings in a 2-0 win at Memphis, helping the Salukis capture their first shutout since May 12, 2009. He scattered eight hits on the day and struck out five batters while only walking one. Forsythe got the Tigers, who came into the game averaging nearly nine runs per game and were coming off a 16-hit performance one day earlier, to strand nine runners on base. The sophomore left-hander threw 117 pitches in the game and 70.9 percent of those went for strikes, as he went on to be named to the All-Tournament Team. Through three starts this year, Forsythe has a 2-1 record, a 1.57 ERA and has 16 strikeouts against just three walks in 23 innings pitched. His lone loss this year came at No. 7 South Carolina, when he threw a complete game.
Grant Muncrief (WSU) - Muncrief pitched in relief in the fourth game of the week for the Shockers at UT Arlington on Sunday. He threw 3.2 shutout innings with four hits, zero walks and one strikeout. He has now not allowed a run in his 7.2 innings this season.