Baseball Weekly Notebook (Mar. 28)
Monday, March 28, 2011

With poor weather conditions to deal with, all but one league team played three or fewer games last week.  The Valley compiled a 17-7 (.708) overall record last week, including two wins over ranked opponents, as the Shockers split a four-game series at No. 24 Oregon.  To date, Wichita State has tallied five total wins over top-25 opponents this season.  The Valley was a combined 2-11 against ranked opponents all of last season.

Wichita State checks in at No. 28 in this week's Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 poll, while the Shockers are also receiving votes in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.

AGAINST THE FIELD
The MVC holds a winning record against 12 leagues in non-conference play (Atlantic-10, Big 12, Big East, Great West, Horizon, Metro Atlantic, Mountain West, Ohio Valley, Pac-10, Southland, SWAC and Summit) and at least a .500 mark against another four (ACC, Big Ten, Mid-American and Sun Belt). 

AGAINST THE 2010 NCAA FIELD
The Valley has won 16 games against 2010 NCAA Tournament teams, as five league teams have wins over last year's NCAA field – Creighton, Illinois State, Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Wichita State. 

The Shockers have five wins against the 2010 NCAA field, including two each over Oregon and Arizona and one over Oral Roberts.  The Bluejays have four wins against the 2010 NCAA field – all four versus New Mexico.  Illinois State has tallied three wins versus 2010 Tournament teams – as the Redbirds have beaten UW-Milwaukee twice and Miami (FL) once, while Missouri State and Southern Illinois notched two wins apiece over 2010 NCAA Tournament participants.  The Salukis have wins over Grambling State and Oral Roberts, while the Bears have also beaten Oral Roberts twice.

This week, Valley schools have a chance to pick up four more wins against 2010 NCAA Tournament teams, as Evansville and Missouri State both take on Saint Louis. 

TOP-25 VICTORIES
The MVC holds a 5-7 record against top-25 teams so far this season, with all five wins belonging to Wichita State (two wins over No. 11 Arizona, two wins at No. 24 Oregon and one win at No. 24 Tulane).  The Valley was a combined 2-11 against top-25 teams last season.  

AGAINST THE BIG DOGS
Against the six BCS conferences, the Valley holds a winning record over three (Big 12, Big East and Pac-10) and an even .500 record against another two (ACC and Big Ten). 

This week's Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Cody Fick of Evansville and Corey Maines of Illinois State.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cody Fick, Sr., 3B/RHP, Evansville
Senior Cody Fick led Evansville to a 2-1 week, as he hit .769 across three games and picked up a win on the mound over Big Ten opponent Indiana University. Fick went 10-for-13 at the plate with two home runs, five doubles, five runs scored, and 11 runs batted in, as he recorded a 1.615 slugging percentage and .750 on-base percentage on the week. Against UT-Martin, Fick belted home runs in his first two at-bats, tallying six RBI in the contest and scored four runs in the 18-6 win. In a doubleheader with Indiana, Fick led the Aces with six hits, two runs scored and five RBI, going 3-for-4 in both games. The Freeburg, Mo. native lined three doubles in game one, including a ground-rule double in the 10th inning that kept the Aces’ hopes alive in the one-run game and would have actually tied the score had the ball not hopped the fence as UE fell 6-5. In the nightcap, Fick helped his own cause with three hits, including a double and two RBI while throwing six complete innings on the mound, allowing three runs on eight scattered hits to earn his fourth straight win in UE’s 7-5 victory. Fick leads the UE pitching staff with a 4-0 record and 1.73 ERA on the season despite third base being his primary position.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Corey Maines, Sr., RHP, Illinois State
Corey Maines (4-0) recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts without issuing a walk over seven shutout innings, as the senior right-hander led Illinois State to a 6-2 win against Oakland, Mar. 25, at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. Maines retired the final 16 batters he faced, striking out nine of them. Maines gave up just two hits en route to his team-best fourth victory of the season. The Houston, Texas native saw his ERA drop to 2.17, which is a team-low among Redbird starters. Maines also leads ISU in innings pitched (37.1) and strikeouts (41), and opposing batters are hitting just .189 against Maines this season.

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

Brian Martin (BU) -
Martin continues to heat up at the top of the Bradley order and paced the Braves last week by batting .462 (6-13) with a double, a triple , a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.  With three runs scored and three runs batted in, he contributed to one-third of Bradley’s 18 runs in the three games last week.  He also added an outfield assist.

Jimmy Swift (CU) - Swift led the team from the plate, going five for seven and knocking in three runs.  Swift went a perfect three-for-three in the Monday, March 21 win against BYU, driving in two runs, scoring two runs and drawing a walk, his seventh on the season, which leads the team.  Swift was also perfect in the field last week, committing no errors in nine chances at shortstop for the Jays.  Swift leads the team in walks (7) and sacrifices (3) on the season while starting all 21 games at shortstop.  He holds a .329 batting average, third among the daily starters for the Jays, scoring 13 runs and knocking in 18 batters, tied for second on the team.  Swift has committed just six errors on the season, holding a .941 fielding percentage.  He leads the team with 65 assists on the season and has been a part of 17 double plays.

Matt Mirabal (ILS) - Mirabal hit .375 with a team-best three hits and three runs scored in ISU’s two games last week, including a win at Purdue, Mar. 22, and a home-victory over Oakland, Mar. 25. Mirabal also drove in a run and stole one base. The junior from Chicago is currently hitting .288 with a team-best 20 runs scored, with 23 hits (tied for second-most) and 16 RBI (third-most). Mirabal has also six stolen bases in seven attempts.

Koby Kraemer (INS) - Kraemer led Indiana State with a .500 batting average over their three games last week, going 7-for-14 at the plate. Over half of Kraemer’s seven hits went for extra bases, as the ISU third baseman tallied a pair of doubles and a pair of triples, en route to a team-leading .929 slugging percentage and five runs batted in. Kraemer also tied for the team-lead with six runs scored while playing errorless defense at the hot corner with six fielding assists.

Brent Seifert (MSU) - Seifert homered twice at Oral Roberts Friday and finished the two-game weekend series batting .375 (3-for-8) with two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored as the Bears swept ORU. Friday in Tulsa, Seifert homered in consecutive at bats in the fourth and fifth innings, helping the Bears climb back from a 3-0 deficit to win 10-5. Sunday, he walked and scored MSU’s fifth run in a five-run third that launched the Bears to a 6-5 win.

Wes Neece (SIU) - Neece had the most productive three games of his career last week to lead the Salukis to two wins in three games. He batted .429 over the week with five runs scored and five driven in. In a 7-4 victory over Dallas Baptist on Thursday, Neece proved the winning runs in the eighth inning with his two-run single that gave the Salukis a lead when they trailed by one run. He had a career-high three hits in the win and scored a career-high three runs. Neece drove in at least one run and scored at least one run in all three games.

Chris O'Brien (WSU) - O’Brien led the Shockers to a 4-2 week including two wins over Air Force and two road wins at No. 24 Oregon.  He went 8-for-23 (.348) with four runs, one double, one home run, eight RBI and seven walks.  He also had a perfect fielding percentage in 44 total chances as he caught every game this week including an 18-inning doubleheader and a 17-inning game.  On Tuesday against Air Force, he went 3-for-4 with four RBI and a home run.  In game two at Oregon, he went 2-for-3 with four RBI and two walks.  He had a hit in five of the six games.

Tory Doerr (BU) - In his first career start for the Braves, Doerr earned the victory in Wednesday’s 8-2 win at Southern Illinois Edwardsville by limiting the host Cougars to one run on four hits in his 6.0 innings of work.  He struck out three and did not walk a batter.  After allowing three hits in the first inning, Doerr settled in by cruising through his final 5.0 innings while retiring 15 of the final 17 batters he faced (one reaching on an error).

Chase Webb (CU) - Webb made two appearances last week and picked up his second win of the season as a Jay.  Webb pitched 3.2 innings on the week in the two showings, giving up four hits and just one earned run.  Web came in for scoreless relief to get the win on Monday, throwing 1.1 innings with one strike out and throwing just 15 pitches.  In Tuesday’s game, the right hander threw 2.1 innings, allowing just one earned run and walking one batter.  On the season, Webb holds a 2.63 ERA with a 2-0 record in nine appearances in relief.  In 13.2 innings, he has 11 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .286 batting average.  Webb has allowed four earned runs on 16 hits and has given up just three extra base hits (two doubles and one triple).

Kurt Kudrecki (INS) - Kudrecki limited Illinois – Springfield to just three bases runners over six innings on the mound on Tuesday, picking up his first career victory with a shutout performance. Kudrecki gave up a double and walked a batter to begin the game, but worked out of the early jam to keep UIS off the board. After hitting a batter to lead off the second, Kudrecki went on to retire the next 12 batters that came to plate with three strikeouts to earn the win.

Aaron LaBrie (WSU) - LaBrie made three appearances out of the bullpen this week.  He threw 5.2 shutout innings and allowed just two hits with one walk and one strikeout.  On Saturday at No. 24 Oregon, he threw 4.1 shutout innings during extra innings to help the Shockers to the 7-6 win.