Shockers at No. 9 in Weekly Polls; Weekly Baseball Notebook
With just two weekends left in the conference race, No. 9 Wichita State holds a one-and-a-half game lead over Creighton, as both the Shockers and Bluejays sit at first and second in the league standings. WSU reached 40 wins for the 30th consecutive year while Missouri State ended its losing streak with a Sunday win at Evansville. This week's MVC Player of the Week is Matt Brown of Wichita State while Ben Mancuso of Creighton is this week's Pitcher of the Week.
Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week
Matt Brown, Wichita State
Junior, OF, Oklahoma City, Ok.
This week's Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week is Matt Brown of Wichita State.
Brown helped the Shockers to a 5-1 week by hitting .450. He went 9-for-20 with five runs, two doubles, a home run, six RBI and two sacrifice flies. He had multiple-hits in three of the games including going 2-for-4 with an RBI in game one against Northern Colorado and 2-for-3 with an RBI in game two against the Bears. In game two at Northern Iowa , Brown had the game winning double to drive in two with two outs in the eighth inning. On Sunday against the Panthers, he had a 3-for-4 day with an RBI and also threw out a runner at the plate in the fourth inning.
Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week
Ben Mancuso, Creighton
Junior, LHP, Omaha, Neb.
Ben Mancuso of Creighton is this week's MVC Pitcher of the Week.
In Creighton’s Sunday afternoon win over Southern Illinois, Mancuso pitched his seventh scoreless outing of the season, as he allowed just three hits and struck out five Saluki batters in eight innings of work.
The Omaha native improved his ERA to 1.90 in the effort, as he leads all Creighton starters with an 8-1 record in nine starts. Mancuso started his day by pitching a no-hitter through 4.2 innings before rain delayed the action for 65-minutes. Despite the delay and having to sit around, Mancuso returned to the mound where he was brillant in allowing just three hits in 3.1 more innings of work. The junior has yet to allow a run this season in the second (10 IP), third (8 IP) or fifth (7 IP) innings, as only 11 runners have crossed the plate against him in 52 innings of work this season.
Other Notable Players: Ryan Curry, Bradley; Robbie Knight, Creighton; Robbie Minor, Evansville; Kevin Dubler, Illinois State; Tanner Mattson, Missouri State; Brett Featherston, UNI.
Other Notable Pitchers: Brad Altbach, Bradley; Matt Brinkmann, Evansville; Jim Sajewich, Illinois State; Aaron Jenkins, UNI; Tim Clubb, Missouri State; Bryant George, Southern Illinois; Noah Booth, Wichita State.
BU...Kalmer Joins 1,000-Win Club
Bradley head coach Dewey Kalmer became the 36th coach in NCAA Division I baseball history and the 14th active coach to win 1,000 career games Saturday when the Braves rallied late for a 6-1 victory at Indiana State. Kalmer is in his 39th year as a collegiate head coach and will enter this weekend’s Valley series against Evansville with a 1001-881-5 career record, including an 811-739-4 mark in his 28th season at Bradley.
BU...Bradley Remains Redhot
Bradley completed its second straight Valley sweep this past weekend at Indiana State to run its winning streak to a season-best eight games, including seven in a row in The Valley. The Braves, who have won 12 of their last 13 overall, have not won as many seven straight league games since March 31-April 10, 1996 by taking the final two games of the Missouri State series, all four games of the Creighton seris and the first game of a doubleheader at Illinois State. The current streak began April 22 by taking the final game of the Southern Illinois series and has been extended by sweeping Illinois State and Indiana State.
BU...Altbach's Personal Streak
Bradley recent winning streak has been aided by the personal pitching streak of freshman Brad Altbach. The 6-foot-2 right-hander has closed out each of Bradley’s last five Valley games, going 1-0 with three saves in the four outings. Altbach’s fifth appearance may have been the most impressive of the group but did not count as a win or a save. After saving each of the first two weekend wins against Indiana State, Altbach inherited a bases-loaded, one-out scenario in the eighth inning Sunday and retired all five Sycamores he faced to end Bradley’s 8-2 win. For the season, Altbach is 6-2 with four saves and a 3.00 ERA.
CU...Don't Roost In The Jays Nest
Though the Bluejays have an official 19-3 record at home with their three contests at Rosenblatt Stadium included, the Jays have won 15-straight games on campus at the CU Sports Complex. If you went by that mark, the Bluejays would currently own the second-best home winning streak in the country with only Arizona State’s 16-straight home wins topping that mark. Creighton is 18-1 this season at the CU Sports Complex, as only a Tuesday afternoon loss to South Dakota State on Mar. 13 stands between them and perfection.
CU...Could He Do Anymore?
Senior Andy Masten continues to put up mind blowing stats in his first and only season as the Bluejays closer. In a total of 19.2 innings of work in the ninth inning, Masten has yet to allow a single run, as he has walked just one batter in his last 13 appearances. That spans 19.2 innings of duty, as the only walk in that time was the bases-loaded pass that plated the winning run by Wichita State on April 7.
CU...Venditte Continues To Turn Heads
Despite all the attention he got on April 6th with his front cover article in the New York Times, Pat Venditte hasn’t let the new found national fame get to his head. Since the article came out, Venditte has an ERA of 1.05 in nine appearances and 25.2 innings of work. The ambidextrous one has allowed just three runs in that time and struck out 22 batters as the opposition hit just .163 against him. Venditte currently has a team-best 65 strikeouts and 27 appearances. The Omaha native has a 2.39 ERA and 6-2 record with three saves, as hes allowed just 17 earned runs all season.
UE...History In The Making
With four games scheduled for this week, UE senior shortstop Robbie Minor has a good chance to make MVC history this week. Minor enters this week’s action just eight defensive assists shy of former Wichita State infielder Mike Lansing’s MVC career record of 771 assists. Minor has now dished out
763 career assists in 228 games at UE.
As long as Minor reaches his career average of 3.3 assists per game, he will surpass Lansing’s MVC career record in UE’s weekend series at Bradley.
Overall, Minor ranks sixth in NCAA history in career assists, and is just 20 assists shy of second place on the NCAA list.
UE...One Last Time
UE will play its final regular-season home game of the year on Wednesday, as the Purple Aces will host defending Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky at Braun Stadium. It will mark the final home game for UE seniors Kirk Bacsu, Ryan Barrett, Matt Brinkmann, Fred Jones, Troy Krider, Robbie Minor, Mark Murray, Ben Norton, Pat Tumilty, Kai Tuomi, Kasey Wahl, Kern Watts and Jeff Zelenovich.
Combined, this senior group has posted a 137-96 overall record at UE (.588 winning percentage). It ranks as the fifth-highest four-year victory total in school history.
UE...No Fun on Sundays
If college baseball took Sundays off, Evansville will be in contention for the MVC regular-season title. That is because UE has posted an 11-3 overall record on Fridays and Saturdays in the Valley, but just a 1-6 mark on Sundays. In fact, UE’s 11-3 mark on Fridays and Saturdays would put the Purple Aces in a first-place tie with Wichita State in the Valley standings.
ILS...Final Stand For Seniors
When Creighton comes to Normal next weekend, it will mark the final home series for eight Redbird seniors. Luke Baughman, Matt Bolt, Joe Burke, Nick Crist, Jesse Griswold, Mike Hlavacek, Kyle O’Brien and Brad Puntney will all take the field for their final times at Redbird Field, hoping to keep a Missouri Valley Conference tournament bid alive. Combined, the group has played in 930 games, collected 610 hits, driven in 411 runs, blasted 42 home runs and has worked 308.2 innings on the mound.
ILS...A Return To The Valley
After playing four non-conference games last weekend, the Redbirds return to Valley play next weekend at home against Creighton. That could bode well for the Birds, who have a 6-3 mark at home in MVC contests and have won two out their three home series. Starting with a series sweep of Missouri State, the Redbirds followed with a 2-1 series win over Indiana State and then dropped their home series to Evansville 2-1. Overall, ISU in 9-8 at Redbird Field in 2007.
ILS...Let's Play Two
When the Redbirds faced off for two games last Saturday against Saint Xavier, it marked the fourth time this season in which the Birds have had to play a doubleheader. The first three all came against Valley opponents, as the Birds won both games on March 31 against Missouri State, split two games with UNI on April 7 and split two with Indiana State on April 15. In all, ISU has posted a 5-3 record in doubleheaders and have won the first game in three of the four occasions.
Indiana State begins a busy week now that Final Exams have passed on campus. ISU will face Ball State on Tuesday night and then travels to Purdue on Wednesday before its three-game set at Missouri State this coming weekend. ISU has won all three of its games this season against members of the Big Ten heading into the battle with the Boilermakers this week.
INS...Hurts So Good
During the Bradley series, Indiana State batters were hit eight times by Bradley pitching. That total pushed the season number up to 76, which is a new Sycamore school record. It blows the previous record of 58 out of the water. That mark was set in 2005.
INS...Friday, I'm Not In Love
With its Friday night loss to Bradley, the Sycamores have now lost each of their last 12 Friday night games in MVC play. ISU last won a series opener in 2006 against Illinois State.
MSU..It's Finally Over
A losing streak that lasted 14 games and 29 days finally ended Sunday with an emphatic 13-2 win at Evansville. The longest such streak in school history ranked as the second-longest active streak in Division I at the time it ended, but the Bears can now hang their hats on a one-game winning streak.
MSU..Mattson's First is a Grand
Tanner Mattson slugged his first Missouri State home run in his 311st career at bat Friday, hammering a grand slam off Evansville’s Ben Norton.
MSU..Making the Hard Look Easy
Entering the weekend, Evansville pitching had allowed just one home run at home and eight total in 2007. After the Bears slugged four homers in three games, Missouri State now accounts for 80 percent of the long balls UE has allowed at Braun Stadium and one-third of the total round-trippers.
MSU...It Could Be Worse
Though the Bears’ 12-game losing streak may seem bad on the surface, things could be a lot worse. Coppin State University of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is 0-39 this season and has lost 40 games in a row overall.
UNI...Going the Distance
Junior Aaron Jenkins threw his second straight complete game on Friday, earning a 4-3 win over No. 10 Wichita State. Jenkins struck out eight in the outing, and he held WSU to three runs, two earned, on six hits. Wichita State hit just .176 against the lefty. In his last two starts, Jenkins holds a 1.00 ERA, 19 strike outs, nine walks, nine hits, and opponents are hitting .145. Jenkins has three careers complete games.
Panther fans can get a good idea how UNI will fare based on the performance of lead-off hitter Deric Manrique. Manrique has 18 multi-hit games on the season, and the Panthers are 15-3 in those outings. On the other hand, UNI is 4-19 in games where Manrique is held to one or no hits.
UNI...A Perfect 10
A bunt single in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday extended sophomore shortstop Brandon Douglas’ hitting streak to 10 games. It is the first 10-game hit streak of the season for the Panthers. Douglas had the longest hit streak of the season for UNI last season, collecting hits in 13 consecutive games.
SIU...Race Is On
Kevin Koski (273 career hits) and Cody Adams (10 wins in 2007) are on pace to break two school records this year. Koski needs 14 hits to become SIU’s all-time career hits leader and Adams needs three victories to set a new single-season record in pitching wins. Right now, Joe Schley (286, 1996-99) is SIU’s all-time career hits leader, and Bob Schroeck (12, 1979), Dick Langdon (12, 1971), John Susce (12, 1968) and Eugene Vincent (12, 1964) hold the school record for most pitching wins in a season. SIU has seven regular-season games left.
SIU...Salukis End CU's Win Streak
SIU ended Creighton’s 11-game winning streak when it beat the Jays, 4-3, in 11 innings Friday at Rosenblatt Stadium. Mark Kelly’s two-out single to shallow left center drove in Aaron Roberts for the game-winning run in the 11th. The Salukis remained undefeated in extra inning games (3-0), handing the red-hot Jays their first loss since April 8 (at Wichita State).
SIU breaks for final exams before returning to Missouri Valley Conference action to host Northern Iowa in its last home series of the regular-season. With a win against the Panthers, the Salukis will reach 30 wins in a season for the fifth time in six years under head coach Dan Callahan. SIU is 19-7 at Abe Martin Field this year. Prior to Saturday’s game SIU will bid farewell to seniors Dusty Baker, Kyle Catto, Jordan Garner, Shane Garner, Kevin Koski and Jordan Powell.
WSU...Road Wins Ranks
With two wins at Northern Iowa over the weekend, the Shockers now have 20 road wins which ranks first in the nation. Wichita State has completed its road schedule as far as regular-season games go, but will travel to Springfield, Mo. , for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
WSU...Double the Fun
Wichita State played its fifth doubleheader of the year on May 2 against Northern Colorado. With the doubleheader sweep, the Shockers improved to 10-0 in doubleheader games this season.
Wichita State won its 40th game of the season on Saturday at Northern Iowa . It is the 30th-straight year that the Shockers have won 40 or more games in a season.