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Friday, May 25, 2007 | Baseball
Missouri Valley Conference Blog
News from the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Tournament
May 26, 12:18 a.m. -- CREIGHTON WINS! First ever tournament championship for the Bluejays...after a rain delay and extra innings, the Bluejays are champs. Congrats as they carry the MVC banner into the NCAA Tournament. What a game...unbelievable...both teams played their hearts out...hats off the Wichita State...it was a battle both ways.
May 26, 12:52 p.m. -- We are getting ready to play here today...Creighton is playing for its first ever MVC Tournament Title. Starting pitchers are Aarons Shafer, WSU vs. Marc Lewis, CU. This is Creighton's seventh final appearance. CU is also ooking to win four straight MVC Tournament games for the first time in school history.
May 25, 8:41 pm -- Creighton now leads by 10 runs...score is 12-2 and the run rule is in effect through seven innings...change of pitcher being made for Bradley. We are in the top of the sixth.
May 25, 8:11 pm -- Creighton up 8-2 in the top of the fourth inning. CU's Robbie Knight wears a flap on his helmet to cover his cheekbone. he was hit in the face by Bu's Collin Brennan the last time they faced each other. Knight's 31 HBP led the nation.
May 25, 6:16 pm -- Wichita State eliminates Evansville from the tournament with a 12-1, 8-inning victory. The Shockers will play Creighton at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. The last game of Friday features Bradley and Creighton at 7:05 p.m. Bradley, with a victory tonight, would advance to the 7:05 p.m. championship game on Saturday. A Creighton win tonight eliminates BU from the tourney.
May 25, 6:02 pm -- The Shockers have exploded for 7 runs in the top of the eighth inning to make it 11-1. WSU radio color man Terry Elliot mentioned that this game was "flying right along" at the beginning of this half inning, which has lasted nearly 30 minutes. It's like talking to a pitcher about a no-hitter.
May 25, 5:40 pm -- CF Jim Viscomi nearly makes the defensive play of the tournament as he scales the centerfield wall after an all-out run in an attempt to rob Conor Gillaspie of an extra-base hit, but the ball dislodges from Viscomi's glove as he falls to the ground. Double, RBI, and the lead is 5-1 for WSU.
May 25, 5:36 pm -- All five runs in this game have been scored with two outs. WSU's Matt Brown leads off the Shocker 8th with a double to right.
May 25, 5:31 pm -- Zelenovich swings and misses on the first pitch to him and the bat slips from his hands and flies into the stands, narrowly missing the Evansville faithful. He does make contact, eventually, and grounds out to third to end the 7th. Shockers up, 4-1.
May 25, 5:28 pm -- Capra is still throwing exceptionally for the Shox, allowing just 1 run on three hits. RHP Andy Womack continues to work in WSU's bullpen. Kirk Bacsu smacks a one-out single into right to give the Aces their fourth hit.
May 25, 5:23 pm -- Big play in the game. Brinkmann retires the first two batters (sacrifice and strikeout) and after a conversation with coach Dave Seifert, the Aces opt to pitch to lefty Andy Dirks who lines a shot down the left-field line to knock in 2 runs to give the Shockers a 4-1 lead at the seventh-inning stretch. Dirks now has 3 RBI in this game.
May 25, 5:17 pm -- Back-to-back fielding miscues have set the table for the Shockers in the top of the 7th. Bascue reaches on a throwing error by 3B Andy Smith, and then as Josh Workman tries to bunt him over, Kai Tuomi fields it and slips on the grass allowing Workman to reach safely (Workman awarded a hit, and rightly so as Tuomi had fielded it cleanly). RHP Matt Brinkmann enters the game with two on and no outs here in the Shockers' 7th inning. Great pitching performance from Tuomi -- he leaves with his team trailing 2-1.
May 25, 5:12 pm -- Wichita State's outfield defense has been exceptional in this tournament, but the best play of at least 3 great plays by the Shocker outfielders came in the bottom of the sixth by LF Bret Bascue. Bascue goes full out to his left and he's fully extended, diving to his left and robs Kasey Wahl of an extra base hit and ends the inning. And, of course, Bascue leads off the Shocker 7th inning.
May 25, 4:34 pm -- Wichita State manufactures a run as Schermerhorn steals second with two outs and Conor Gillaspie drops a single into center field on a 3-2 pitch and we are knotted at 1-1 in the top of the fourth.
May 25, 4:29 pm -- Derek Schermerhorn breaks up the no-hitter in the top of the fourth with one out as he drops in a flare just over the outstretched arm of 2B Troy Krider. Tuomi had retired the first 10 batters.
May 25, 4:18 pm -- Mike Kennedy is the voice of the Shockers. His wife Debbie is celebrating her birthday today.
May 25, 4:15 pm -- Tuomi and Capra are dueling - Shockers have not had a baserunner through their first three at bats. The Aces got an RBI single from Jeff Zelenovich - his 13th RBI of the season.
May 25, 3:19 pm -- The quick little downpour at the top of the hour has pushed our start time back 15 minutes as we will begin the UE-WSU game at 3:45 p.m. Anthony Capra (6-0, 1.61 ERA) takes the mound for the Shockers. UE counters with game 1 starter Kai Tuomi (10-3, 2.85 ERA). Tuomi had an early exit in the opener of the tournament on Wednesday, throwing around 40 pitches.
May 25, 3:01 pm -- The 50 percent of thunderstorms became 100 percent as it rained pretty hard here for about 5 minutes. The tarp is back on the field, the teams are in the dugout, but it has stopped raining and the sun is peeking out behind the stadium.
May 25, 2:13 pm -- Game ends and the Braves advance to tonight's 7 pm to face No. 2 seed Creighton. The Bears are eliminated from the tournament after losing, 8-3, this afternoon. Our next game Friday will start at 3:30 - Wichita State vs. Evansville.
May 25, 1:54 pm -- Tanner Mattson breaks up the shutout with a homer to left field. Nearly all of the home runs in the tournament have been to left as the wind has been blowing out that direction. Now Nolan Keane goes yard to center, just clearing the Steak n Shake sign below the flag pole out there. It's 8-2.
May 25, 1:08 pm -- Bradley has 7 hits so far .. all for extra bases. The top 2 hitters in the lineup (Brewer/Rice) are 4-for-5 with 15 total bases.
May 25, 1:01 pm -- Braves continue to pound the ball as Dan Brewer goes yard for a two-run shot to make it 7-0 on BU's fourth homer of the afternoon. RHP Jake Shafer comes in from the pen to relieve Clubb for the Bears. The Braves entered the tournament with only 26 dingers in 49 regular-season games.
May 25, 12:44 pm -- We've played three innings and the Braves lead it 5-0, while getting 3 homers, 2 doubles and a triple. The Bears have one hit (a single) through their first three at-bats.
May 25, 12:41 pm -- Bradley has extended the lead to 5-0 as RHP Tim Clubb has entered the game and allowed doubles to two of the first three batters he has faced. Paul Rice hit his second homer of the game in this inning (against Doyle). The tournament record is 3 -- done by MSU's Brad Kennedy in 1996 and WSU's Drew Moffitt in 2004.
May 25, 12:22 pm -- Ryan Eigsti hits one out that clears the left-field fence before he leaves the batter's box to give the Braves a 3-0 lead. It's only his second homer of the year.
May 25, 12:10 pm -- Bradley strikes first with two runs in the bottom of the first. A leadoff triple down the right-field line, followed by a shot over the left-field fence by Paul Rice -- that has Clubb warming up in the bullpen, but the next three Braves are retired and Clubb stops warming in the pen.
May 24, 11:20 pm -- Creighton wins and advances to Friday's 7 p.m. game with a 2-0 gem. Bradley plays Missouri State at 12 noon Friday.
May 24, 10:59 pm -- Bradley's Chris Wright has an almost equally impressive line for the Braves. 8.0 innings, 5 hits, 1 ER, 6 K's; two excellent pitching performances in our final game tonight.
May 24, 10:55 pm -- Creighton's Zak Moore is having an excellent outing. He has matched his season best for innings (8.0), while his eight strikeouts are second only to the 10 he had against North Dakota State on March 17. The two hits allowed are the best for him since allowing only 2 hits in 5.1 innings against Bradley on April 14.
May 24, 10:47 pm -- Michael Lam comes up with a big two-out single (he's got 2 of Creighton's 5 hits tonight) and he knocks in the Bluejay's second run to make the score 2-0 Creighton after seven innings.
May 24, 10:24 pm -- Robbie Knight's walk in the third inning was his first since April 28 (14 games, 68 plate appearances) against Northern Colorado. He had been HBP seven times since then.
May 24, 10:23 pm -- The last time Bradley and Creighton played in the MVC Tournament (last year in Wichita), Bradley won 1-0.
May 24, 10:21 pm -- We've played 5 1/2 innings in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Creighton leads 1-0 after a rare misplay by Bradley resulted in a run scoring. In comparison, the final inning of the UE-MSU game took 25 minutes. Commissioner Doug Elgin is in the house.
May 24, 9:47 pm -- Both teams are displaying some serious leather. Creighton's Michael Lam made a great play an inning ago, and 3B Paul Rice saved a run after snaring a sharp grounder to his right and racing to the bag for the inning-ending force play. We've played 3 innings - no score.
May 24, 9:31 pm -- Two full innings, zero hits, one base runner, 20 minutes. The newspaper beat writers on deadlines are liking it. Both teams look crisp despite sitting around forever awaiting the start of their only game of the day.
May 24, 9:23 pm -- Kudos to the Wichita State fans -- I would guestimate that they comprise about 20 percent of the crowd for this game.
May 24, 9:20 pm -- In an aside, this is really an awesome stadium.
May 24, 8:55 pm -- Another oddity from the UE-MSU game ... Brinkmann pitched the eighth, went to LF when the game appeared to be in hand, then came in to pitch after Kuester gave up three-straight hits in the ninth. It was his first career collegiate appearance in anything other than pitcher, and although he entered the game in a save situation in the eighth he didn't get the save since. Confused?
May 24, 8:51 pm -- In the eighth inning of the previous game, a foul ball flew into the press box nearly smacked Bobby Parker (Bradley sports information director) and Kevin Kane (women's golf coach at Missouri State). Rob Anderson (Creighton SID) picked up the souvenir and awarded it to Kane.
May 24, 8:36 pm -- Brinkmann fans the final two batters and the Aces survive and advance with an 11-7 victory. The Aces play Wichita State tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. The Bears play at noon against the Creighton-Bradley loser. The Creighton-Bradley winner plays at 7 p.m. against the winner of the noon game. Confused?
May 24, 8:31 pm -- Wow. A game that looked to be over is not over. The Bears have homered three times and scored four in the ninth to make it an 11-7 game. A great diving play by Robbie Minor is the only out of the inning.
May 24, 8:14 pm -- A close game just became un-close as the Aces have erupted for five runs in the top of the ninth, and are still threatening with a runner on third and just one out. The last time the Aces scored five in the ninth was a 7-run ninth in last year's come-from-behind victory against Lehigh in the NCAA tournament.
May 24, 8:01 pm -- Tomorrow's game times have been adjusted because of the late start of our nightcap (the loser of that game plays the first game Friday). We are at 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. on Friday; weather permitting, of course.
May 24, 7:51 pm -- Norton has given up two hits in the bottom of the eighth, and the Bears are threatening with one out. He leaves with a 5-3 lead as Brinkmann comes in after Norton's 120-pitch night. Matt closes the door in eighth as we head to the ninth inning.
May 24, 7:38 pm -- UE's Ben Norton strikes out two more batters in the 7th to give him 8 for the game. He had a career high of 10 strikeouts (against CU and UNI), and Matt Brinkmann has been warming in the pen for the Aces, so it's possible that Norton is done. The league tournament record for K's is 15 (Bryan Oelkers of Wichita State fanned 15 Indiana State batters in 1982.)
May 24, 7:29 pm -- Missouri State's defense has been a little shaky in this game (3 errors) as Brayden Drake commits an error to let the leadoff man reach here in the 7th. Notably, he makes a great play to start a 5-4-3 DP on the very next pitch, and then CF Ben Woodbury makes a nice running catch of a ball off the bat of Pat Tumilty to end the inning.
May 24, 7:23 pm -- Norton has really settled down on the mound after a semi-rocky start as we head into the bottom of the sixth with the Aces up, 5-3. Another notable attendee in the house as Creighton's women's basketball coach Jim Flanery has made the trip to Springfield for the Bluejay games.
May 24, 6:38 pm -- Missouri State will be playing one player shy as Nolan Keane has been ejected from the game after colliding with Kirk Bacsu at home to end the third inning. The collegiate rule (runner can't force a collision at home in an attempt to dislodge a ball) cuts Keane's night short.
May 24, 6:26 pm -- Bears have taken a 3-1 lead into the top of the third, and the wind has shifted ... again. Right now it's blowing out to right after spending much of the day blowing out to left. Brayden Drake's homer was certainly aided by the direction of the wind as his solo shot just cleared the right-field fence.
May 24, 5:41 pm -- First pitch. Scott Carroll is on the mound for the Bears. Evansville counters with Ben Norton. Skies are clear as Jimmy Viscomi promptly leads off the ball game with a sharp single up the middle.
May 24, 4:46 pm -- Wichita State wins, 4-2, and eliminates Southern Illinois from the tournament.
May 24, 4:09 pm -- Wichita State rocks SIU's Jordan Powell in the top of the seventh for two runs to take a 4-1 lead, and CF Andy Dirks starts the bottom of the inning with one of the best defensive plays of the tournament - reaching high over his head while running away from the plate to snag what appeared to be a sure extra-base hit.
May 24, 3:25 pm -- Word has it we will resume at 3:45 pm
May 24, 3:12 pm -- Both teams are back in the stadium and have begun warmups to prepare to resume the game in about 20 minutes. The rain delay will have lasted approximately 3 hours on the nose.
May 24, 2:56 pm -- The rain has stopped. The tarp has been removed and the field is just about ready for teams to come and play some ball. Neither team has made their way back to the ballpark yet.
May 24, 2:12 pm -- Still raining. A decision on when the game will resume will be made at 3 p.m. Teams have been sent back to the hotel (it's 2 blocks south of here), but one would guess we won't have baseball until at least 3:30 or so.
May 24, 12:33 pm -- The much-predicted rain has forced the grounds crew to pull the tarp and we are in a rain delay. Shockers lead 2-1 after scoring a run in the top of the sixth inning.
May 24, 12:16 pm -- Wichita State tries to tack on a few runs in the top of the fifth but Aaron Roberts makes the play of the day with a great reaching stab to end the top of the inning and keep the score 1-0.
May 24, 12:02 pm -- Conor Gillespie jacks his sixth home run of the year - but first in a while (April 8) - to put the Shockers on the board first. Shox lead 1-0 as we head to the bottom of the fourth. Still no rain.
May 24, 12:01 pm -- Sublett Sub-zero'ed - Damon reached based all five times in last night's game, but his effort went for naught as he was stranded all five times on the basepaths as part of a tournament-record-tying 17 LOB's for the Shox.
May 24, 10:48 am -- Damon Sublett is not in the starting lineup for the Shockers after tweaking a hamstring last night. Josh Workman moves from DH to 2B for today's game. On the injury front from last night's game - Missouri State's Ross Detweiler had a broken fingernail and developed a blister in his short 3-inning 75-pitch outing last night.
May 24, 10:40 am -- Starting pitchers for today's 11 a.m. game are Rob Musgrave (8-2, 2.69 ERA) vs. Cody Adams (11-4, 3.10 ERA). Should be a good one.
May 24, 10:15 am -- The good news - it's not raining yet. The bad news - it's not raining, yet. Springfield forecast calls for heavy rains throughout the day, beginning at about 1 p.m.
May 23, 10:13 pm -- Missouri State holds on for a surprising 5-2 win against top-seeded Wichita State. (The Bears had gone 3-20 in their previous 23 games and had lost 16-straight games to Wichita State). Here's the schedule for Thursday's games -- the 11 am game is an elimination game between No. 5 Southern Illinois and No. 1 Wichita State. Our 3 pm game features No. 4 Evansville and No. 6 Missouri State; while the nightcap (7 pm) is No. 2 Creighton-No. 3 Bradley.
May 23, 9:57 pm -- After back-to-back walks to start the eighth, the Shockers strike out three-straight times against Clubb, and WSU has now left 16 runners on. 7 hits, 8 walks, 4 HBP and 2 early runs.
May 23, 9:48 pm -- Buddy Baumann finally allows a leadoff man on base and that spells the end of his night here in the bottom of the eighth as Tim Clubb comes in out of the pen for the Bears. Baumann - a freshman - was exceptional, holding the Shockers to no runs in 4+ innings of work.
May 23, 9:38 pm -- Shockers continue to leave guys on base -- a staggering 14 LOB through the first seven innings. Most of the latter innings, WSU has put a couple guys on base, but only after there were 2 outs.
May 23, 9:19 pm -- Long-time basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour (and current MVC TV analyst for men's basketball) is in the house.
May 23, 8:50 pm -- Looks like this could be the final inning for Banwart as there is a Shocker warming up in the bullpen, and another Bear has reached base to lead off an inning.
May 23, 8:20 pm -- And sure enough .. Detweiler is done for the night after laboring through three innings, throwing 75 pitches. Baumann takes over for the bottom of the fourth.
May 23, 8:15 pm -- The Shockers continue to leave people on base while forcing Detweiler to throw a lot of pitches - we go to the top of the fourth with WSU in good shape, up 2-1. Buddy Baumann is up in the bullpen for MSU and continues to throw.
May 23, 7:18 pm -- Detweiler is struggling with control early, he has been shaking his hand, and the trainer is out to the mound. Shockers have the bases loaded with one out on a single, hit batsman, and a walk. He has been struggling with the off-speed stuff, in particular.
May 23, 7:15 pm -- We are underway it what is being billed as one of the most intriguiging matchups of the day as MSU's ace LHP Ross Detweiler takes on Shocker ace RHP Travis Banwart. Lefties in the first two games have been chased early today.
May 23, 5:19 pm -- Bradley wins, 8-4, and will play Creighton at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Evansville plays at 3 p.m. against the winner of the Wichita State-Missouri State game. SIU is in the 11 a.m. game, and the Salukis play the loser of the WSU-MSU game.
May 23, 5:14 pm -- We've been pretty lucky with the weather today, but the wind has been swirling and feels a little cooler and wetter. If that makes sense.
May 23, 4:48 pm -- What a wild top of the seventh. The Aces made all three outs on the basepaths -- two were tagged out at third base after getting caught in rundowns (following sharp grounders to 3B), and Pat Tumilty was gunned down at home to end the inning.
May 23, 4:43 pm -- Aces keep chipping away. A run in the 4th, and one in the sixth, has made it 8-3 Braves. And the first three have reached - resulting in a run - in the top of the seventh to make it 8-4.
May 23, 4:23 pm -- Each school so far has spirited crowds supporting them, but the Shockers get the award for best contingent -- they are about 50 strong, and they're not playing for another 2 1/2 hours.
May 23, 3:55 pm -- Bradley has chased Tuomi, with two runs in the second and a six-run third to make it 8-1. Bradley used a six-run inning in last year's tournament to down the Aces in an opening-round game. Tuomi went 2.1 innings, nine hits, eight earned runs -- very atypical for him.
May 23, 3:07 pm -- Evansville threatens in the top of the first but a great defensive play results in a double play (9-2) with Robbie Minor getting gunned down at the plate by Colby Luttrell, after a short fly ball to right.
May 23, 2:35 pm -- Our 3 o'clock game will feature Bradley and Evansville. The Braves are throwing Michael Christl (Jr., RHP, 5-6, 5.31 ERA), while the Aces are countering with Kai Tuomi (Sr., LHP, 10-2, 2.12 ERA). Clouds above but rain doesn't appear to be on the horizon.
May 23, 1:36 pm -- Creighton moves on with an 8-5 victory. SIU will face the loser of the Missouri State-Wichita State game on Thursday at 11 a.m. Creighton plays at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
May 23, 1:20 pm -- Venditte is ridiculous good. 4.2 innings, 3 strikeouts, 14 batters faced, 14 batters retired.
May 23, 1:06 pm -- Creighton's bullpen has been exceptional. Pat Venditte - who throws right and throws left - has retired 11-straight batters and the Bluejays have taken a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh after trailing 5-0. Venditte is 4-0 with a save and a 0.26 ERA in 34 innings in CU's last 23 games, entering today's action.
May 23, 12:55 pm -- SIU's AD Mario Moccia has spent time in the booth with SIU play-by-play man Mike Reis. Mario, by the way, is a Hall of Fame collegiate player - at New Mexico State. Here are his numbers -- 1988 at New Mexico State (.434 BA, 19 HR, 90 RBI, 20 doubles) (Career numbers (1988-89) -- 34 homers; 159 RBI; .405 BA; 299 total bases; .767 Slugging; .495 OBP
May 23, 12:21 pm -- No mud in Joyville. SIU's Shawn Joy has walked a season-high five batters, he has also slipped twice while trying to field balls to the mound. He still has a 5-3 lead, though, while allowing just 4 hits. Salukis bailed out by a 1-2-3 double-play in the bottom of the fourth.
May 23, 11:53 am -- SIU is hopped up as the Salukis jump to a 5-0 lead on eight hits through their first three at-bats. Creighton had just two hits in its first two at-bats but one was a bomb off the bat by Chad Ogden (pictured at left).
May 23, 11:11 am -- Southern Illinois has jumped to an early first-inning lead - Creighton has hurt by an error by P Marc Lewis and a wind-blown single that troubled RF Ross Sinclair. Lewis rebounds, though, to strike out the final two batters as SIU scored twice on three hits to enter the bottom half of the first with a 2-0 lead.
May 23, 10:16 am -- The weather is great today (so far, of course). The wind is blowing out to right field, and high winds are expected to last all day.
Dawgs are due? The Salukis haven't won an MVC regular-season or tournament title since 1990. That year, SIU was 49-14 overall and 14-6 in league play while winning the league tournament championship. SIU has been to tournament title games as recent as 2003 and 2004.
Evansville has reached its fourth-straight league championship (the Aces won it all last year). UE has never beaten Bradley (0-2) in the league tournament and went 1-2 against the Braves during the regular season this year.
Bradley's Dewey Kalmer recorded victory 1,000 in his career on May 5 in Bradley's 6-1 win at Indiana State. Dewey is 1,004-884-5 in 38 years as a head coach, which includes 814 wins in 28 seasons in Peoria. After a five-year hiatus from the tourney, Bradley is making its third-straight trip to the MVC tourney and is a No. 3 seed -- the highest seed for Bradley since being a No. 3 seed in 1993.
The second-seeded Bluejays are 3-0 in opening-round MVC Tournament games under coach Ed Servais, outscoring foes 34-19 in those three contests.
Missouri State has had impressive win streaks in each of the last two seasons to close out the year. In 2005, MSU won its final 11 games, and last year the Bears won 10 in a row in May before losing to Evansville in the tournament final.
Wichita State's Aaron Shafer (sophomore pitcher) made his comeback against Illinois State last Saturday and pitched a scoreless ninth, while striking out the side. He hadn't pitched since April 21.
Wichita State has more MVC tournament titles than any other program -- 15. The defending tournament champion is Evansville as the Aces won their one and only tournament championship last year in Wichita.
The field of six for the tournament is set, but teams will vie for position this weekend, with the regular season ending on Saturday, May 19. As host, Missouri State is guaranteed a spot in the six-team double-elimination tournament, which begins with games Wednesday.
For just the second time in league history, the conference baseball tournament will be at Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. -- Hammons Field opened in 2004 and is also home to the Springfield Cardinals (AA). The tournament, in fact, has been hosted at Wichita State nearly every season since 1979 (all but six times).