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Sunday, April 01, 2007 | Baseball
Sunday Baseball Roundup
A walk-off double by Ryan Curry of Bradley handed No. 10 Wichita State its first conference loss Sunday in a 6-5 fall in Peoria, while Creighton won two at home against UNI and both the Shockers and the Bluejays are 5-1 to sit atop league standings. Southern Illinois avoided a conference sweep at UE with a win on Sunday while Illinois State swept the Missouri State Bears in an 11-7 win on Sunday.
With its No. 10 ranking in Baseball America, Wichita State becomes the highest-ranked team Bradley has beaten in its five seasons playing home games at O’Brien Field.
Freshman right-hander Brad Altbach (4-2) combined with junior starter Chris Wright for the third strong outing of the weekend for the Bradley pitching staff. Wright pitched into the seventh, scattering seven hits and striking out four before giving way to Altbach. Although the freshman allowed the tying run to score in the seventh, Altbach retired nine of the 11 hitters he faced and struck out three in his 3.0 innings of relief.
After the Shockers went down in order in the first, Bradley centerfielder Brad Jones led off the home half of the first with a single through the left side of the infield then stole second. Paul Rice struck out and Dan Brewer flew out to right field advancing Jones to third, before Curry drew a walk to put runners at the corners with two outs. After those first two outs had dropped Bradley to 0-for-18 in the series with runners in scoring position, catcher Ryan Eigsti ended the streak with a little help from a stiff wind. Eigsti lifted a high fly ball to straight away centerfield and the gusting wind carried the drive over the wall for his first home run of the season and a 3-0 Bradley lead.
The Shockers tried to come right back in the top of the second when Matt Brown led off with a double down the right field line and Danny Jackson followed with a walk, but Wright pitched out of the jam by getting Conor Gillaspie to fly out to left and Tyler Weber to ground into a double play. Wichita did get a run back in the third when Derek Schermerhorn brought home Tyler Hill with a triple off the left centerfield wall.
The Braves got that run back in the bottom of the third when Brewer lined his fifth home run of the year to straight-away left, a solo shot with two outs.
The Shockers put together a rally in the fourth, begininng with a soft ground ball with one out by Danny Jackson that died in the middle of the infield. Gillaspie followed with a double into the right field corner and Weber plated both runners with a soft liner into left field to pull WSU within 4-3. Wright halted the rally, though, by catching Tyler Hill looking and Dusty Coleman swinging.
Eigsti chased Wichita State starter Rob Musgrove in the fourth after legging out a soft ground ball to second. Peter Malinowski’s sacrifice bunt attempt was mishandled by the Shockers as relief pitcher Kyle Touchatt’s throw to second ended up in center field, putting runners at the corners. Colby Luttrell brought home Eigsti with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, bumping Bradley’s lead to 5-3.
Again, the Shockers came right back with a run in the fifth. Schermerhorn reached safely with one out when Brewer’s throw from shortstop pulled Mike McMillan’s foot off the bag at first. Schermerhorn swiped second and came home on another soft fly ball into left field by Brown.
The Braves put their leadoff man on again in the both the fifth and sixth innings, but failed to push across any insurance runs.
Wichita State made better use of its leadoff double by Andy Dirks to open the seventh to chase Wright. Altbach walked Schermerhorn on four pitches to put runners at first and second with no outs. Damon Sublett advanced the runners with a soft roller to second and Brown brought Dirks home with a ground out to first to tie the score, 5-5. Altbach limited the damage by fanning Jackson for the third out.
Rice just missed a go-ahead home run with one out in the seventh by drilling a line drive off the center field wall against Wichita State’s third hurler, Matt Smith, for his 11th double of the year. Brewer was grazed by the next pitch from Smith, who was promptly pulled for lefty Noah Booth. Booth again kept the Braves from taking advantage of their base runners by inducing ground outs from Curry and Eigsti.
The Braves kept up the weekend trend by getting a leadoff single from Jones to start the bottom of the ninth, the 15th time in 27 innings Bradley put its leadoff man on base against the Shockers. Second baseman Damon Sublett relieved Booth (2-1) on the mound and Rice greeted him with his second sacrifice bunt of the game. Sublett then walked Brewer intentionally to put runners at first and second with one out, setting up Curry’s game-ending hit, which was the first hit Sublett had allowed in 10 at-bats this season.
Illinois State 11, Missouri State 7
ISU reliever Tyler Cox (2-0) earned the win for the Redbirds in relief of starter Mike Hlavacek. Cox allowed two runs on five hits in the final four innings of the game to close out the sweep for ISU, its first over an MVC opponent since May 6-8, 2004, against Indiana State. Buddy Baumann (0-3) suffered the loss for Missouri State, after giving up five earned runs on three hits in just one-third of an inning of relief.
Missouri State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, the Redbirds answered back with a run in the bottom half of the frame when Collin Salzenstein scored from third base on fielder’s choice to cut the lead to one. ISU would then take the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run double by Matt Bolt.
The Bears then regained the lead at 5-3 with three runs in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Ben Carlson. Once again, ISU answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI double by Kevin Dubler to cut the lead to one at 5-4.
A run in the top of the sixth inning for Missouri State widened the lead to two runs at 6-4. After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams and a scoreless top half of the seventh for the Bears, Illinois State broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With runners of first and second and no out, Jesse Griswold laced the first pitch he saw into right-centerfield to bring in Ryan Anetsberger for the first run of the inning. Kyle O’Brien then walked to load the bases and Kyle Cherney singled up the middle to score two more runs and give ISU a 7-6 lead, knocking Baumann out of the game as Dubler and Griswold scored.
Still with no outs in the inning, Kevin Konsler walked to load the bases for the second time and a Pat Doyle wild pitch brought in the fourth run of the inning as O’Brien scored. Mike Stalowy followed and struck to record the first out of the inning. Salzenstein was up next and tripled to right field to score Konsler and Cherney and bring the score to 10-6. Salzenstein then scored on a Bolt sacrifice fly to bring the score to 11-6 and end the seven-run barrage for the Birds.
Missouri State added a run in the top of the eighth inning to cut the ISU lead to 11-7, but that would be as close as the Bears would get. Each of the first seven hitters in the Redbird lineup had at least one hit on the afternoon, with Anetsberger leading the way with a 4-for-4 performance. Bolt added three RBI to lead ISU in that category, while Salzenstein, Dubler and Cherney each chipped in with two apiece.
Southern Illinois 8, Evansville 5
With one out in the top of the 11th inning and the score tied 5-5 with runners on the corners, Cademartori delivered a gift double to right field to give SIU a 6-5 lead, as UE’s Jeff Zelenovich slipped while trying to track the ball in the outfield. Lairson then followed two batters later with a two-run double to the gap in right-center field to give the Salukis an 8-5 lead. SIU reliever Bryant George (1-0) then worked a perfect bottom of the 11th inning to cap a strong 2.2 innings of relief work to earn his first victory of the year.
The 11th inning rally by SIU capped a wild day of baseball in Evansville. The Purple Aces initially took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI infield single by senior outfielder Kern Watts. The Salukis would rally though for a run of their own in the third inning and two more in the fourth to grab a 3-1 lead.
The SIU lead would expand to 4-1 in the sixth inning following a triple by Lairson and an RBI single by Newburgh, Indiana native Scott Elmendorf. Evansville, which was 1-10 on the year when trailing after six innings, would rally though.
The Purple Aces scratched across a run in the seventh inning on a pinch-hit RBI single to right field by rookie Andy Pascoe to close the gap to 4-2. UE then exploded for three runs in the eighth inning against SIU closer Ian Reinhart to grab a 5-4 lead. Three-straight singles by Robbie Minor, Kirk Bacsu, and Jeff Zelenovich got UE within one run at 4-3. Then, rookie Jared Baehl delivered his second pinch-hit RBI single of the series to tie the game at 4-4. UE lead-off man Jim Viscomi followed with an RBI double down the left field line, but Baehl was cut down on the play after slipping around third base.
The lead would not hold though, as UE suffered its first loss in 19 games when leading after eight innings. An Evansville error and a bases loaded walk to Cademartori tied the game at 5-5 in the ninth. The score would remain tied until the 11th, when another UE error helped lead to two of SIU’s three runs.
George earned the victory by tossing 2.2 innings of no-hit, scoreless relief, including working out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth inning. Matt Brinkmann (1-2) suffered the loss for Evansville, as he gave up four runs (one earned) on five base hits in 4.0 innings of work. Offensively, Viscomi went 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI to lead UE and extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Lairson and Elmendorf paced SIU with three hits apiece as well.
With the victory, Southern Illinois improves to 21-8 overall and 4-2 in the MVC, while Evansville slips to 19-11 and 3-3 in the Valley.
The wins improved the Jays to 18-8 overall and 5-1 in the MVC, while UNI fell to 11-14 overall and 1-5 in league play. CU is now tied with Wichita State atop of the MVC standings.
CU first baseman Darin Ruf had eight total RBI’s on the day as he blasted two home runs, including a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh in game two to give him 24 total RBI’s on the season. Junior Ben Mancuso (4-0) then continued his stellar start to 2007 earning the win in game two, pitching a career-high seven innings allowing just four hits while striking out three.
Strong pitching was also the story late in game one, as senior Andy Masten helped the Jays secure their lead in the final 2.1 innings as he didn’t allow a single Panther hit, while fanning two to earn his team-leading fifth save of the season. Masten relieved Pat Venditte, who pitched just a third of an inning in relief of freshman Casey Schmidt was got credited for his first career win going 1.1 innings allowing just one hit.
Zak Moore got the start for CU in game one going five innings allowing four earned runs on six hits, recording two strikeouts, as the Jays saw an early 5-1 lead slip away with UNI scoring three runs in the top half of the fifth to tie it up at 5-5.
Brett Mieras though, would plate the winning-run in the bottom of the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch from UNI reliever Adam McDermott, who inherited Mieras from UNI starter Nick Kirk, to give the Bluejays a 6-5 lead. CU would then add a single run in the bottom of seventh and three in the bottom of the eighth to pull out the game one win.
Kirk (1-1) was saddled with the loss for UNI going five innings allowing six runs on six hits.
It would be a five-run bottom of the second that got the scoring started in game for the Jays. After UNI took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning on an RBI single by Travis Hendrix, Ryan Urzendowski, Robbie Knight, Chris Gradoville and Ruf all collected RBI singles give CU the early 5-1 advantage.
Leading 7-5 then in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and no one on, Gradoville single to center setting up Ruf for a two-run shot over the right field fence to give CU a 9-5 cushion. Andrew Small and Steve Winkelmann then added the last run as Small tripled to right before Winkelmann brought him home on an RBI single to right center.
In game two, CU once again jumped on UNI early taking a 3-0 lead after the first two innings, adding a single run in the bottom of the fifth and four in the bottom of the seventh to earn its sixth-straight victory. Ruf who had three RBI’s in game one, added a career-high five more to his total in game two as the Bluejays were opportunistic, using plenty of sacrifice hits and bases on balls to put up eight runs on just five hits.
Masten, who started his day earning a save in tossing 2.1 innings of no-hit baseball, finished it off in style in game two as his two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning proved to be the game-winning hit. Masten’s bomb to left field and a Gradoville RBI groundout in the first would be more than enough run support for Mancuso, who allowed UNI just four hits through the first seven innings.
With a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Michael Lam drew a full-count walk to lead off the frame before Knight advanced him to second on a 2-3 sacrifice bunt. That ended the day for UNI pitcher Taylor Sinclair , as he would be replaced by Bryan Westphal. Westphal then faced Ross Sinclair, who singled to right before advancing to second on a wild pitch. That would be followed by an intentional walk issued to Gradoville to set the stage for Ruf.
With just out and bases loaded with Bluejays, Ruf took a 1-2 pitch from Westphal and sent it deep over the fence in right for his second-career grand slam to give CU a 8-0 lead. It was the first grand slam for the Jays since Gradoville did it last season on Mar.3 at Tennessee Tech. It was a series that also Ruf hit his first grand slam, as Ruf two-homers on the day gave him three for the season.
UNI would add a run in the top of the ninth inning, but it would come too little too late, as Dan Stanley shut the door in the ninth allowing just two hits.
UNI starter Guido Fonseca took the loss going four innings allowing two earned runs on two hits.
Leading the way at the plate for the Jays on the day would be Ruf who finished 3-for-7 with two runs scored on top of his eight RBI’s, Gradoville who finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI’s, Chad Ogden who went 3-for-8 with a run scored and an RBI and Winkelmann who went 2-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Indiana State 8, Valparaiso 5
Valparaiso scored five runs in the game’s first two innings on six hits off of starter Josh Varno to grab an early 5-0 advantage.
After seeing just one inning of work, and falling behind by five runs, Varno was lifted for Adam Lindsay. Lindsay came in to stop the flood gates, pitching six innings and giving up four hits and no runs. With the victory, Lindsay improves to 1-3 on the year. Chad Dawson pitched the final two innings to earn his second save.
ISU scored three runs in the bottom of each of the third and fourth innings to grab a 6-5 lead.
In the third, Sean Osborne led off the inning by being hit by the pitch and Ryan Strausborger doubled down the left field line to put runners at second and third with no outs. Ryan Bond grounded out to drive in Osborne for the first run and Chris Schmidt singled to score Strausborger. With the bases loaded, Dave Brumagin walked to score Abercrombie to make the score 5-3.
Strausborger reached on a Valpo error with an out in the fourth inning, and scored on an RBI single by Bond. Abercrombie doubled to center field to score Bond for the inning’s second run and Schmidt drove in the third with a double to left center which scored Abercrombie to give ISU the 6-5 lead it would never lose.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Sycamores added a pair of insurance runs when Strausborger drilled a one-out single and moved to third, on a stolen base and throwing error by the catcher. He scored on a walk pitch to make the score 7-5. Schmidt then singled through he left side of the infield to plate Bond to give ISU an 8-5 advantage it would not lose.
Dawson mowed down the side in the top of the ninth to give the Sycamores the 8-5 victory.
Schmidt continued his tear at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBI’s in the game. Straugsborger was strong as well, collecting three hits in four at bats with a trio of runs scored. Bond and Abercrombie each plated a pair of runs in the victory.
Indiana State took 3-of-4 from Valparaiso on the weekend.