By: John Lockwood
Oh, the Midwest in March. As the teams of the Missouri Valley Conference entered their second-to-last weekend series before conference play, they received a less-than-warm welcome from a frigid cold front sweeping across the region. As a result, many teams saw their series cut-short (Creighton didn’t even play a game), leaving them to gear up for their mid-week games and—hopefully—warmer temperatures. The notable exception was Wichita State who traveled to #24 Oregon for a four game series. Wichita split the opening double-header, dropping the first game 2-1, yet scored two runs in the top of the ninth to win game two by a score of 6-4. Saturday night, Wichita played the longest game in Shockers history, winning a grueling 17-inning ordeal 6-5. However, the Shockers dropped the series finale 6-1 to ultimately split the series at 2 games apiece.
In the only game they played this weekend, Illinois State received a lights-out performance from its Friday night starter, Senior RHP Corey Maines. Maines went seven shut-out innings, surrendering only two hits, while walking none and striking out a career-high eleven. ISU won by a score of 6-2. Meanwhile, in Missouri State’s 10-5 win over Oral Roberts, Jr. 1B Brent Seifert went 3-5 with a pair of homeruns and 3 RBI. While Evansville had to pull a mid-game switch to another city to finish game 1 of what would be a 2-game set against Indiana, 3B/P Cody Fick had an unbelievable series, knocking in 5 runs on 4 doubles at the plate and tossing six innings while only giving up three runs to pick up the win for Evansville in game 2.
CBD Missouri Valley Conference Players of the Week:
Evansville – 3B/P Cody Fick 6-8, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R
Illinois State – RHP Corey Maines, W, 7 IP, 2 H, 11 K
Wichita State at #24 Oregon
Looking to improve their 3-2 record against ranked opponents this season, Wichita State (15-7) traveled to Eugene, OR to take on #24 Oregon (13-7). The series began with a split of Friday’s double-header. Game 1 witnessed a pitchers’ duel between the respective number ones of each pitching staff. Ducks Junior LHP Tyler Anderson went seven innings, surrendering only one run on seven hits, walking one and striking out 7, while Wichita’s Senior RHP Tim Kelley went six innings, giving up two runs (only one earned) on 6 hits, but walking 4 to only 3 strikeouts. Kellen Moen picked up the two-inning save for his fourth of the season. In the second game of Friday’s double-header, the Ducks jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, only to give up four runs to the Shockers in the top of the 5th. In the top of the ninth, catcher Chris O’Brien singled to left field to drive in the two go-ahead runs.
Game 3 took the form of a 17-inning marathon (and the longest game in Wichita State history), ultimately won by Wichita 6-5. Shocker LHP Brian Flynn lasted only 4 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks. Ducks starter Christian Jones did not fare much better, lasting only 4.1 innings, and giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on seven hits and four walks. Wichita State carried a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when freshman reliever Zach Beringer conceded a 2-run single to Ducks third-basemen J.J Altobelli. Still with the bases-loaded, Gene Stephenson called on freshman LHP Aaron LeBrie who got the batter to hit a sharp groundball to third basemen Tyler Coughenour who dove to tag third base—just beating the runner for the last out of the inning. What followed can only be described as an operose effort by both bullpens. The Oregon trio of Gold, Moen and McGough combined for 10 innings of scoreless relief—with McGough giving a particularly gutsy performance (having taken the loss the previous night) going 4.2 innings before surrendering the go ahead run in the form of a 2-out RBI single to Shocker second-baseman Walker Davidson. LeBrie and Freshman RHP Foster Vielock combined for 7.1 innings of scoreless relief, surrendering only two hits.
In Sunday’s finale, Oregon put up five runs in the sixth inning, on route to a 6-1 win and a split of the series at 2-games all. Wichita LHP Charlie Lowell (4-3) was tagged with the loss, responsible for all five sixth-inning runs. Oregon reliever Alex Keudell (3-2) got the win, tossing three and a third perfect innings.
The Shockers will travel to Honolulu to take on Hawaii (11-13) in a 4-game series set to start Thursday.
Wichita State – LHP Aaron LeBrie 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K
Oregon – LHP Tyler Anderson (4-0) 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, BB, 7 K
Dallas Baptist at Southern Illinois: Series Split 1-1
SIU (6-10) split its weekend series with Dallas Baptist (14-9) this weekend before inclement weather forced a cancellation of Saturday’s rubber game. Thursday’s game saw a come from behind win by the Salukis. After surrendering the lead in the top of the 8th, SIU scored four, 2-out runs on back-to-back singles from 1B Wes Neece and LF Jordan Sivertsen to win the game 7-4. Freshman Taylor Dray (1-0) picked up his first career win in relief. Game 2 saw the tables turned on SIU, as it was the Patriots who came from behind to tie up the game 3-a-piece on a 2-run homerun by SS Joel Hutter in the top of the eighth. After freshman 3B Donny Duschinsky gave SIU a 5-3 lead with a 2-run double in the bottom of the same inning, the SIU bullpen was unable to keep the Patriots off the board. After SIU freshman righty Peter Slavonic threw a wild-pitch to allow the tying run to score, Dallas Baptist third-basemen Kenny Hatcher hit an infield single to third, knocking in the winning run and giving the Patriots a 6-5 lead. Closer Chris Haney picked up his seventh save of the season, striking-out the side in the bottom of the 9th.
Saturday’s game was cancelled due to rain. SIU plays at Murray State Tuesday, March 29th, at 3:00pm.
Dallas Baptist – C/2B Tyler Robbins 7-10, 2B, 2R, 2 BB
SIU – 1B Wes Neece 4-10, 3 RBI, 4 R
Illinois State 6 – Oakland 2
Illinois State (15-6) was only able to play the first game of a 3-game set against visiting Oakland University (3-10) before the remaining games were cancelled due to inclement weather. Despite freezing temperatures, Senior RHP Corey Maines (4-0) set a career high with 11 strike-outs, going seven shutout innings and allowing only two hits. LF Tyler McNeely went 2-4 with 2 RBI, and 1B Zach Amrein drove in a pair on a two-out double in the seventh.
Illinois State travels to Champaign on Wednesday, 6:05 pm for a mid-week match-up against in-state rival Illinois.
RHP Corey Maines (4-0) 7.0 IP, 2 H, 11 K
LF Tyler McNeely – 2-4, 2 RBI
Evansville at Indiana: Series Split 1-1
After some reworking of schedules, a mid-game switch to a different city, a visit from the Bloomington Fire Department and some cooperation with the weather, Evansville (11-8) was able to play two of three against Indiana (14-8).
Game 1 was started on Saturday afternoon in Evansville, stopped in the top of the 5th with the score knotted at 1, then resumed Sunday afternoon in Bloomington. The game ended up going to 10 innings with Indiana coming out on top 6-5. After Evansville RHP Cole Isom surrendered the lead in the top of the 8th, the Purple Aces tied the game at 3 on a 2-out RBI double to left field by third baseman Cody Fick. Fick was then knocked-in by first baseman Ryan Osterle, who was thrown out at second trying to stretch his single into a double. In the top of the 9th, Purple Aces coach Wes Carroll elected to stick with his reliever Isom who, after a walk and a balk, gave up a 2-out double to Indiana freshman Dustin Demuth allowing the Hoosiers to tie the game at 5-all. In the top of the tenth, Hoosier second baseman Micah Johnson worked a one-out walk, put himself into scoring position by stealing second and scored on a 2-out single by RF Wes Wilson—who like Osterle two-innings before was thrown-out at second going for the extra bag. Evansville tried to muster one last come-back, with Fick doubling (his third of the day) CF Greg Wallace to third, by Hoosier reliever Ryan Halstead was able to get Osterle to ground out to short to end the game.
Game 2 was started promptly afterwards, with the Purple Aces holding on for a 7-5 win. Cody Fick took the mound for Evansville going six innings and giving up three runs on eight hits. Evansville put up five in the second inning and had a 7-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh when the Hoosiers managed to put four runs across to bring the score to 7-5. However, Jake Naumann and Adam Culiver were able to stem the flow and get the Purple Aces the W.
Evansville will host the University of Southern Indiana in a mid-week match-up Tuesday, 6:00pm CST.
Indiana – 2B Micah Johnson, 6-8, 2 2B, 6 SB, 6 R
Evansville – 3B/P Cody Fick 6-8, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R; W (4-0) 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K
Bradley vs. Purdue: Bradley-Purdue split series 1-1
Bradley (14-7) played its home opener against Purdue (15-8) this weekend in Peoria, Ill., splitting the series 1-1. Thanks to DH Brad Kimball’s 2-run double and second baseman Jerrod Eigsti’s 2-run single, the Braves were able to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh en route to a 9-4 win. Game 2 left little to be desired by the Braves however, as the Boilermakers scored in each of the first 5 innings to win 12-1. Purdue CF Tyler Spillner went 4-4, knocking two doubles and scoring 3 runs. Second basemen Eric Charles and first baseman Ryan Bridges each contributed 3 RBI to the effort. Purdue starter Brad Schreiber didn’t need much help from his offense however: he threw 6 scoreless innings, surrendering only three hits, while walking none and striking out seven.
Bradley will host Western Illinois for a 3-game set next weekend at O’Brien Field.
Purdue – CF Tyler Spillner, 4-4, 3 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB
RHP Brad Schreiber, 6 IP, 3 H, 7K
Missouri State vs. Oral Roberts: Bears take series 2-0
In their first game this weekend, Missouri State (13-9) was able to capitalize on 5 errors by Oral Roberts (8-9), and a five-run fifth to beat ORU 10-5 in Tulsa, OK. Bears first baseman Brent Seifert had a career game, belting two home-runs and knocking-in 3 RBIs, while Bears starter Nick Petree (2-0) went 7 innings, surrendering 4 runs on 6 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 6. In Game 2, the Bears were able to hold on long enough to win 6-5. MSU jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a two-run homer from Junior outfielder Derek Mattea and a three-run double from DH Brock Chaffin. Oral Roberts DH Chris Elder brought the Golden Eagles to within one on a ground out to first, but junior reliever Dan Kickham (1-1) struck out T.J. Bennett to end the inning. Kickham shutout ORU in the ninth for his third save of the season.
MSU hosts Kansas (10-13, 2-4 Big 12) on Wednesday, 3/30 6:30pm CST.
MSU – 1B Brent Seifert 3-8, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Indiana State 6 – Illinois 7
Like the rest of the teams playing in Central Illinois, Indiana State (11-10) was only able to fit in one game this weekend before their series against the University of Illinois (7-10) was cancelled due to frigid temperatures. The Illini were able to survive a scare by Indiana State—who took a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh only to surrender one run in the eighth and two in the ninth—edging out the Sycamores 7-6. After a walk to start off the inning, Illini C Adam Davis reached first on a dropped strike-three. Senior Matt Dittman followed with an RBI single, and two batters later, Davis scored the walk-off run on a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Pat Sheehan.
Indiana State (11-10) plays Eastern Illinois at home, Wednesday, at 6:00pm.
Illinois (7-10) plays in-state rival Illinois State in Champagne on Wednesday, at 6:05pm.
ISU: Jr. 1B Jon Hedges 3-4, 2B, RBI; Jr. CF Lucas Hileman 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
UI: Sr. 1B M. Dittman, 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI
The entire Creighton-North Dakota, scheduled to be played in Omaha, was cancelled due to the weather. The games were non-conference and will not be made up. Creighton (16-5) is still scheduled to play North Dakota State (2-15) at home on Monday 3/28 at 3:05pm.