Creighton earned at leaast a share of the MVC regular-season championship with its 3-1 victory over visiting Missouri State Friday night, and can take sole possession of the title with another win in the series finale tomorrow. Wichita State completed the doubleheader sweep of Bradley, finishing with a 14-7 league record. Illinois State took down Evansville, 7-1, and sits and 12-8 in league play, while Southern Illinois improved to 10-10 in MVC action with a 5-2 decision at Indiana State.
CREIGHTON 3, MISSOURI STATE 1
CU (38-13, 14-6 MVC); MSU (31-20, 11-8 MVC)
OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team picked up their first MVC Regular Season Championship since the 2005 season in front of 8,737 fans on Friday, defeating Missouri State 3-1. The Jays won the series and can take sole possession of the title with a win in the finale tomorrow. Creighton rode the arm of Ty Blach, who tied a career best with 8.0 innings of work, striking out eight while allowing just four hits.
Ty Blach and Blake Barber of Missouri State baffled the opponent's bats through the first third of the ball game, with each pitcher facing the minimum number of batters through three frames. Creighton's only base runner in the first three innings was Trever Adams, who singled to center field to lead off the frame. A quick spin by Barber fooled Adams, resulting in Barber's fourth pick off of the season. Blach's only baserunner in the first three frames was a walk in the second inning, erased by Scott Thornburg's sixth baserunner caught stealing this season.
The Jays got on the board with single tallies in the fourth and fifth innings. With one out in the fourth, Nick Judkins singled through the right side and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jimmy Swift picked up his 39th RBI of the season when he drove a single into center field that scored Judkins for Creighton's first run of the night.
The fifth inning started when Barber hit Alex Staehely on the wrist, just the second time in the game the Bluejays put the leadoff batter on. A sacrifice bunt by Anthony Bemboom and a double to the right center gap by Scott Thornburg plated Creighton's second runner of the day, which ended up being the winning run.
Blach continued his "no-no" into the sixth inning, giving up his first hit of the day to the number nine hitter in the Bears lineup, a single back up the middle. He had six strikeouts and just one walked batter in the first 5.2 innings of work.
Creighton picked up another run in the bottom of the seventh when Adams hit his 14th homerun of the season, a shot that landed just over the left field fence, inside the Creighton bullpen. It is Adams' first RBI in seven games, the longest stretch of his career.
The Bears did put together a rally in the top of the ninth, stranding runners on first and second to end the game. A leadoff walk by closer Kurt Spomer to Brent Seifert was followed by a ground ball out and a strike out. Another walk put runners on the first two bases before Spomer forced a ground out to Staehely to secure the win.
Blach picked up his 10th win of the season, improving to 10-1 overall in his 16 starts. The south paw finished with eight strikeouts, one earned run, one walk and surrendered just four hits. Spomer came in and picked up his 10th save of the season, striking out one in his 1.0 innings of work.
The Bluejays finished the game with eight hits, led by Judkins and Adams with two a piece.
ILLINOIS STATE 7, EVANSVILLE 1
ILS (34-16, 12-8 MVC); UE (28-22, 7-12 MVC)
NORMAL, Ill. - Pitching dominated the first six innings of Illinois State's game Friday against Evansville, but six late runs by the Redbirds (34-16, 12-8 MVC) propelled them to a win in the second game of their weekend series against the Purple Aces (28-22, 7-12) by a score of 7-1 at Duffy Bass Field.
A two-run home run by Brett Kay and a three-run triple by Chad Hinshaw helped the Redbirds score six runs in the final two innings to pick up the victory. ISU reliever Justin Hauer was credited with the win (4-1) in relief of starter Dan Savas, who allowed just one run on three hits while striking out four batters in six innings of work. Hauer allowed just one hit in a scoreless seventh inning and Jake Wielebnicki and Kenny Long each tossed a scoreless inning after that to close out the game. Evansville starter Cole Isom (5-6) suffered the loss, after allowing four runs on five hits in seven innings on the mound.
After four scoreless innings by both squads, Evansville put the first tally on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Shawn Kuester led off the inning with a double to right-center field and later advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Trentt Copeland. Eric Stamets followed and hit a deep fly to right field, which was deep enough to score Kuester on the sacrifice fly.
The Redbirds answered in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own to knot the score at 1-1. Brock Stewart led off the inning and appeared to go down on strikes, but a wild pitch on the third strike allowed him to advance to first base. Zach Amrein then reached base on a fielding error by Copeland that allowed Stewart to move all the way to third base. Stewart then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Mirabal to even things up heading into the sixth inning.
ISU later broke the game open with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a three-run lead. Stewart doubled to left-center field to lead off the inning and advanced to third base on a single by Amrein. Stewart then scored and Amrein moved to second base on another sacrifice bunt by Mirabal to make the score 2-1 in favor of ISU. Kay followed and launched a two-run home run over the left field wall to plate Amrein and extend the Redbirds' lead to 4-1 after seven innings of play. The home run was the first of Kay's career.
Illinois State tacked on three more runs for good measure in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away. Ryan Court singled up the middle to start things off and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bryan Huff. Amrein then fouled out for the second out of the inning, before Mirabal and Kay loaded the bases on back-to-back walks. Hinshaw followed and cleared the bases on a two-out triple off the left field wall to score all three runs and give the `Birds a six-run lead at 7-1.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 5, INDIANA STATE 2
SIU (21-32, 10-10 MVC); INS (26-25, 8-12 MVC)
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Southern Illinois received strong pitching from Cameron Maldonado and Brian Bajer's three-run double in the fifth-inning lifted the Salukis past Indiana State, 5-2, Friday night at Bob Warn Field.
The win secures the Salukis with the No. 5 seed at next week's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Omaha, Neb. SIU's victory sets up Saturday's rubber game that begins at 12 p.m.
The Salukis (21-32, 10-10 MVC) didn't have a hit until the fourth inning when they scored five runs and they all came with two outs. Three walks from ISU starter Sean Manaea helped the Dawgs out in the inning that produced all of their runs in the game.
Sycamore right-fielder Robby Ort hit a two-run homer in the first inning off of Maldonado, but Maldonado gave up just three hits after that. He exited after seven innings with a 5-2 lead.
Maldonado (4-7) picked up his first win since throwing 8.1 innings and giving up no earned runs at Evansville on April 8. He gave up just five hits in his seven innings Friday and had two strikeouts with two walks.
Saluki freshman reliever Matt Murphy threw two hitless innings to close out the game and record the first save of his career.
Manaea drew the loss for the Sycamores (26-25, 8-12) to drop his record down to 5-4 on the year. He went 3.2 innings, allowing three runs off of five hits and he had four strikeouts to go along with the three costly walks in SIU's big fourth inning.
Bajer finished the game going 1-for-4, but his one two-out double with the bases loaded was the clutch hit that SIU was missing in Thursday's 4-1 loss.
Third baseman Blake Pinnon was 2-for-3 on the day with a walk, one run scored and one driven in on an infield single in that fourth inning.
Southern Illinois finished with six hits in the game to Indiana State's five.
WICHITA STATE 5, BRADLEY 1 (Game 1)
WICHITA STATE 1, BRADLEY 0 (Game 2)
WSU (36-24, 14-7 MVC); BU (22-30, 4-17 MVC)
PEORIA, Ill. - Wichita State used complete games from Brian Flynn and Josh Smith to sweep a doubleheader from Bradley by scores of 5-1 and 1-0.
Game 1 Recap
Wichita State used a complete game from Brian Flynn to defeat Bradley 5-1 in game one of a doubleheader.
Flynn gave up just one unearned run on five hits with two walks and a career-high 10 strikeouts.
Tyler Grimes and Walker Davidson each went 2-for-4, while Chris O'Brien and Kevin Hall each drove in two runs.
Chris O'Brien extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a two-run home run in the first inning to give WSU an early 2-0 lead.
The Shockers struck again in the second inning with two outs and nobody on. Don Lambert singled up the middle, Walker Davidson singled to right field and Tyler Grimes was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kevin Hall then hit a double just inside the third base bag to drive in two and give the Shocks a 4-0 lead.
Walker Davidson led off the fourth inning with a double to left field and scored on a single to right-center from Grimes to put the Shocks in front 5-0.
Bradley got on the board in the fourth. With one out, Rob Elliott bunted and reached first on a single and advanced to second on a Shocker throwing error. He came around to score on a single from Mike Tauchman to cut the lead to 5-1.
Game 2 Recap
The Shockers used a complete game shutout from Josh Smith to take a 1-0 win over Bradley in the final game of the series. With the win, the Shockers secure at least the No. 2 seed in next week's MVC Tournament.
Smith gave up just five hits with one walk and tied his career-high with seven strikeouts.
WSU collected just two hits in the game, both in the first inning.
Kevin Hall singled to right field with one out in the first and moved to third on a single to left-center by Chris O'Brien. With the single, O'Brien extended his hitting streak to 24 games. Hall then scored on a sacrifice fly from Preston Springer to give the Shocks a 1-0 lead.
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