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Saturday, April 04, 2009 | Baseball
Saturday Valley Baseball Action
In Saturday Valley baseball action, Wichita State evened the score with Illinois State, taking the second game of the series over the Redbirds. The Shockers scored in all but two innings, taking down Illinois State, 10-5. Missouri State improved to a perfect 5-0 in MVC play, the first time since 2001, after rattling eight runs in the final three innings to beat the Salukis, 9-3. Evansville used a trio of pitchers who combined to allow just seven hits en route to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Creighton Bluejays, while Indiana State took both games in a Saturday doubleheader at UNI, winning by scores of 13-4 and 5-1.
In non-conference action, Bradley swept both contests in a doubleheader with North Dakota, winning the first game on a Grant Escue walk-off double, 4-3, and taking the afternoon game, 7-2.
Wichita State 10, Illinois State 5
WICHITA, Kan. -- The Shockers (16-11, 2-1) scored in all but two innings against the Redbirds (13-8, 4-2) as their bats roared to life, tying the series at a game a piece on Saturday afternoon, 10-5.
Junior Clint McKeever drilled his first career triple on Saturday as the first baseman enjoyed a 3-for-5 day to lead the Shockers’ offensive attack. Bringing back his power swing from the night before, junior centerfielder Ryan Jones jacked his second two-run homer of the series.
Freshman third baseman Chris O’Brien added a round tripper of his own as the Shockers outhit the Redbirds 14-8 on another windy day at Eck Stadium. All but two of the hitters in the starting lineup connected for a hit.
The Shocker bats complemented quality arms on the mound. Freshman lefty Charlie Lowell (4-1) allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits in his five innings on the hill. Lowell struck out six and walked three en route to picking up his fourth victory of the season.
Lefty Ryan Copeland (2-3) took the loss for the Redbirds. Although he never surrendered a walk in his seven innings of work, the junior allowed eight runs, seven earned, on 12 hits.
Junior left fielder Bret Bascue followed up his team-leading 2-for-3 performance on Friday to put the Shockers on the board first on Saturday afternoon. McKeever led off the inning with an infield single and used a Redbird error to land on second. Bascue plated him with a double down the right field line, and scored himself when O’Brien drilled a single to right to give Lowell a 2-0 lead to work with in the top of the third.
The Redbirds quickly tried to diminish that cushion when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but Lowell worked through what seemed to be the beginnings of a long Redbird rally. A single and a Shocker error helped to build the threat, but aside from an RBI groundout by shortstop Collin Salzastein, Lowell was able to shut the lineup down and maintain the lead, 2-1.
Responding immediately to the Redbirds’ run, WSU concocted a mix of small ball and power hitting in the bottom of the third to stretch the lead. Sophomore designated hitter Taylor Brown and junior second baseman Will Baez each singled to lead off the inning. A well-executed sacrifice bunt moved the pair over before a passed ball brought Brown across. Jones connected on his second homerun in as many days to knock in Baez and give the Shocks a 5-1 lead.
Brown got things going again in his next at bat when he led off the Shocker fifth with a double. A textbook sacrifice bunt by Baez sent Brown to third, giving him the opportunity to score the sixth run of the afternoon on a throwing error.
After five solid innings, Lowell’s day came to an end when a single and back-to-back hit batsmen loaded the bases without an out in the top of the sixth. With one pitch, Lowell’s relief, sophomore right-hander Justin Kemp, coaxed a groundball double play to stifle the Redbirds’ hope for a big inning. Although the double-play groundout scored a run, it was the only one Illinois State plated in the inning.
O’Brien helped welcome Kemp’s arrival in the Shocks’ following at bat by blasting a solo shot to left field. His third homer of the season pushed the Shocker lead back to five, 7-2. McKeever’s triple in the next inning resulted in another run to seemingly push the game out of reach.
The Redbirds, however, had a different idea. First baseman Evan Kohli’s RBI single drove in second baseman Mike Stalowy after he led off the eighth with a double. The third hit of the inning would score Kohli and a sacrifice fly would tally another run to narrow the gap, 8-5.
Unfazed, WSU went back to work at the plate. With starter Ryan Copeland’s day finished after the seventh, the Shockers went through a pair of relievers in the eighth. After an Illinois State error extended the inning, sophomore right fielder Mitch Caster doubled and Baez singled to highlight a two-run effort in the Shocks final at bat of the day.
McKeever made his fifth appearance on the hill in the ninth to close out the game, allowing no runs and two hits.
The Shockers and Redbirds are scheduled to wrap up the series Sunday afternoon. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.
MSU’s Ben Carlson one-hopped a double off the wall with one out in the seventh to bring Tyler Ryun home and put the Bears ahead for good at 2-1, though that did not look like the case when SIU came to bat in the bottom of the inning.
The Salukis answered the MSU run by putting runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh. Buddy Baumann struck out Wade Dutton for the first out and Brayden Drake made a diving over-the-shoulder catch to save a run from scoring before a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tom Cerven ended the frame with MSU still leading 2-1.
The defensive stand energized the offense as Chris Playter and Travis McComack opened the MSU eighth with back-to-back singles. Kevin Medrano’s one-out single with the bases loaded brought in the first of MSU’s seven runs in the frame, the big blow coming from Dallas Hord’s three-run triple into the right field corner. Trevor Rogers also had an RBI single and Carlson and Ryun were both hit by pitches with the bases loaded.
Baumann improved to 6-0 after his seven-inning start. The southpaw struck out eight, walked seven and allowed seven hits but was charged with just an unearned run.
For the second game in a row, all nine MSU starters had at least one hit in the game. Hord went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Medrano, Rogers, Playter and McComack had two hits each.
Missouri State improved to 15-12 overall and 5-0 in the MVC for the first time since 2001. SIU is now 12-18 and 3-5 in conference play.
The Bears go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday.
John Foley (3-1), J.R. Carbonell and Tom Heithoff all took the mound on Saturday, with Foley earning his third victory of the season. Foley scattered five hits over six innings, striking out one batter while allowing three runs and one walk. With a 4-1 lead, Carbonell entered the game in the seventh after the first three batters in the inning reached base and allowed only two runs to score in the inning to keep the Aces in front 4-3. Carbonell stayed in the game until the ninth, pitching two and one-third of an inning, allowing two hits and striking out four batters. Heithoff entered with one out in the ninth and struck out the two batters that he faced to pick up his fourth save of the season.
Evansville jumped out early, plating a single run in the bottom of the first inning. After doubling down the left field line, shortstop Andy Smith took advantage of a Creighton miscue to cross the plate. With third baseman Cody Fick at the plate, Fick swung and missed on a pitch from Creighton starter Jeremy Hauer. The ball got away from catcher Carson Vitale, who believed Fick had foul tipped the ball, and rolled all the way to the backstop. Vitale did not immediately chase the ball which allowed Smith to hustle in and score from second base to put the Purple Aces up 1-0.
Creighton tied the game in the top of the third inning, but Evansville responded in a timely manner again. Center fielder Jim Viscomi led off the inning, reaching base on an error by the Bluejay’s third baseman Jimmy Swift. Viscomi would advance to second on a balk by Hauer and to third base on a groundout by Andy Smith. Viscomi would score on the next at-bat, when Vitale could not handle a throw home from Swift on a fielder’s choice grounder from Fick. Fick advanced to second base when the ball got away from Vitale and would touch home when first baseman Andy Pascoe singled to center field.
Evansville would plate the eventual winning run in the next frame, when Viscomi singled home right fielder Nate Smith to put UE in front 4-1. Creighton would tack on two runs in the seventh but Carbonell shut the door to end the Bluejay rally and keep the Aces in front.
Nate Smith led all batters on Saturday with three hits in four at-bats. Pascoe and left fielder Alex Acheson both tallied two hits on the day, with Pascoe and Viscomi picking up the team’s only RBIs.
With the victory, Evansville improves to 11-15 overall and 3-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton falls to 13-15 on the season and 6-2 in the MVC. The Purple Aces will look to win the series on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m. The game can be heard live on 91.5 F.M.-WUEV.
ISU starter Jake Petricka (3-1) battled on the mound, as he allowed just one earned run and two total while scattering 10 hits over 5.2 innings of work. Petricka also struck out four Panther hitters while walking just two. Relievers Scott Harlan and Matt Shelton combined to throw the final 3.1 innings for the Sycamores in the win. UNI starter Derek Ott (1-3) suffered the loss, after giving up five runs on eight hits in five innings of work on the mound.
The Sycamores jumped out to an early lead in game one, with three runs on five hits in the top of the first inning. Ryan Strausborger led off the game with an infield single and then stole second base in front of Nick Ciolli, who then singled up the middle to bring in the first run of the game. Brady Shoemaker then ripped a triple into the right field corner to score Ciolli and he later scored from third base when Tyler Graham reached base on an error by UNI third baseman Grant Grgurich.
Northern Iowa answered back in the bottom of the first inning with a run on two hits to cut the lead to 3-1. Deric Manrique led off the game with a double to left center field and then advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Manrique then scored on a RBI ground out by Levi Ferguson to put the Panthers on the scoreboard. UNI also tacked on a run in the bottom of the second inning to cut the ISU lead to one at 3-2 headed into the third inning.
That one-run lead would become a three-run advantage in the top of the fourth inning, when ISU pushed two more runs across the plate on a two-run double into the left center field gap off the bat of Graham. The Sycamores scored two more runs in the top of the seventh inning to widen their lead to 7-2. Kyle Burnam scored on a throwing error by UNI shortstop Cory Ege and Joe Meggs later scored on a RBI single into right field off the bat of Ben Ferrell.
The Sycamores picked up three more insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning to make the score 10-2. Those runs came in handy for ISU, as the Panthers picked up two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Grgurich, to cut the lead to 10-4.
Just for good measure, the Sycamores tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth inning to extend their lead to 13-2. Matt Shelton then came in for the bottom of the ninth and shut the Panthers down in order to secure the win in game one for ISU.
Strausborger finished the game with a season high 4-for-6 effort with three runs scored for ISU, while Ciolli finished 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI.
In game two, ISU starter Joe Rodriguez (3-1) was stellar on the mound as he allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out six in 8.1 innings of work. Rodriguez pitched eight shutout innings and got the first out of the ninth inning, before getting into trouble and allowing a run to the Panthers. UNI starter Carlos Pinedo (1-4) suffered the loss, after allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings of work.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the third inning, when the Sycamores took a 2-0 lead on a big two-out hit. Ryan Strausborger led off the inning with an infield single, stole second and then advanced to third on a ground out by Nick Ciolli. Following a strikeout by Brady Shoemaker, Tyler Graham walked ahead of Luke Fieser. Graham then stole second before Fieser ripped a single into left field which plated both runners for the first two runs of the game.
The Sycamores then tacked on a run in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 3-0. Brady Shoemaker scored on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Kyle Burnam to extend the ISU lead to three runs headed into the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the ninth inning, ISU added two more insurance runs to make the score 5-0. Back-to-back one out doubles by Ciolli and Shoemaker manufactured the first run of the frame and Shoemaker later came around to score on a Burnam RBI single up the middle.
The Panthers managed to score a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Shelton came in once again and closed out the game for the Sycamores and secured the series sweep. The sweep was ISU’s first over a Valley opponent since last season, when the Sycamores swept the Redbirds in the regular-season finale at Sycamore Field, and first on the road against a Valley opponent since 2005.
Fieser finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI for ISU, while Shoemaker finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI. Strausborger also finished with two hits in the game, giving him six on the day and eight in the three-game series.
The Sycamores return to action on Tuesday, when they travel to Oxford, Ohio, to face off against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST at McKie Field at Hayden Park.