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Missouri Valley Conference Weekend Preview (April 1st-3rd)

By: John Lockwood
The Missouri Valley Conference enters its last weekend of non-conference play, with many teams looking to finalize their lineups and pitching rotations before their conference series begin next week. Creighton holds the best record in the MVC at 17-5, with Wichita State in second at 17-8, and the Redbirds of Illinois State tied with Bradley for third at 15-7.

Wichita State finishes their west coast swing with four games against WAC-foe Hawaii (11-13) this weekend. The Shockers are hoping that the tropical climate and warm weather of Honolulu will help heat up their bats after hitting just .223 against #24 Oregon last weekend. The Shockers pitching staff will have to contend with Cape Cod stand-out (and league MVP) Kolten Wong, who is hitting .374 with four doubles, three HRs, and 15 RBI. Look for Game 2 to be an exciting match-up as Josh Smith looks for win number 4 against Hawaii’s Matt Sisto who—despite a 1-3 record—has already put up excellent performances against #8 Texas and #14 Cal St. Fullerton this season, as evidenced by a 2.27 ERA. Hawaii is looking for a win coming off a four game sweep at the hands of Fullerton last week.

Illinois State takes on Chicago State this weekend for a four-game set at Duffy Bass Field, then travels to Northern Illinois for a final tune-up before starting conference-play next weekend against Creighton. Meanwhile on Monday, Creighton survived a scare from North Dakota State (2-16), relying on a Trever Adams 2-run homer to left in the bottom of the eighth to come from behind and beat the Bisons, 3-2. The Jays take on Portland in a 3-game set in Omaha this weekend.

Evansville (12-8) dropped a mid-week game to Atlantic-10 champs Saint Louis (17-8), 6-5. Purple Aces third-basemen and MVC Player of the Week Cody Fick continues to be on-fire, going 2-4 with a solo homerun in the loss. The Bilikens stay within the MVC this weekend as they travel to Missouri State (14-9)—who is coming off a mid-week shut-out win against Kansas (10-14), 6-0. The Bears play at SLU at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday before returning home to Hammons field to host the Billikens Sunday at 1 p.m.

Elsewhere in the final week of MVC non-conference play, Southern Illinois (6-17) travels to Georgia to take on Kennesaw State, Bradley hosts Western Illinois and Indiana State (11-10) plays DII Rockhurst at home.

Probables:

Wichita State vs. Hawaii

Friday: So. LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 4.40 ERA) vs. RHP Christian Jones (2-1, 3.49)
Saturday: Jr. LHP Charlie Lowell (4-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. LHP Jarrett Arakawa (1-2, 3.94)

Prediction: Wichita State 2-0

Wichita State Preview

Chicago State vs. Illinois State

Friday: TBD vs. Sr. RHP Corey Maines (4-0, 2.13 ERA)
Saturday (Game 1): TBD vs. Jr. RHP Brad Sorkin (3-1, 3.95 ERA)
Saturday (Game 2): TBD vs. Jr. RHP Ryan Camp (2-0, 2.30 ERA)
Sunday: TBD vs. Fr. RHP Dan Savas (2-1, 4.22 ERA)

Prediction: Illinois State 4-0

Portland vs. Creighton

Friday: So. RHP Chris Johnson (1-1, 4.76 ERA) vs. So. LHP Ty Blach (4-0, 2.16 ERA)
Saturday: Jr. RHP Owen Jones (2-2, 3.99 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Jonas Dufek (3-0, 1.98 ERA)
Sunday: Jr. RHP Kyle Kraus (2-1, 4.78 ERA) vs. Sr. LHP Greg Hellhake (2-1, 4.64 ERA)

Prediction: Creighton 2-1

 

Saint Louis vs. Missouri State

Friday: Zack Smith (4-2, 3.48 ERA) vs. So. RHP Grant Gordon (3-2, 3.93 ERA)
Saturday: Alex Alemann (2-1, 3.06 ERA) vs. So. RHP Pierce Johnson (2-2, 10.48 ERA)
Sunday: Brett Vanover (3-0, 1.07 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Nick Petree (2-0, 3.10 ERA)

Prediction: St. Louis 2-1

Missouri State preview

IPFW vs. Evansville

Friday: Sr. LHP Nick Optiz (1-3, 5.04 ERA) vs. So. RHP Kyle Lloyd (1-2, 6.37 ERA)
Saturday: Sr. RHP Matt Ransbotom (1-1, 5.31 ERA) vs. Fr. LHP Cole Isom (3-2, 4.11 ERA)
Sunday: Sr. RHP Samuel Walker (1-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Cody Fick (4-0, 1.73 ERA)

Prediction: Evansville 2-1

Western Illinois vs. Bradley

Friday: Jr. RHP Ryan Wachholder (0-4, 7.84 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Joe Bircher (3-2, 3.40 ERA)
Saturday: Jr. RHP Dan Russell (3-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. So. RHP John Nasshan (2-2, 4.46 ERA)
Sunday: Jr. RHP Zach Sterling (1-2, 2.96 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Jacob Booden (3-0, 2.83 ERA)

Prediction: Bradley 3-0

Southern Illinois vs. Kennesaw State

Friday: Jr. RHP Cameron Maldonado (1-4, 7.82 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Josh Carr (3-1, 2.68 ERA)
Saturday: So. LHP Cody Fosythe (2-3, 2.76 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Bryan Blough (1-2, 4.06 ERA)
Sunday: Sr. RHP Andrew Bever (1-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Zak Griffith (5-1, 3.86 ERA)

Prediction: Kennesaw State 2-1

Rockhurst vs. Indiana State

Thursday (Game 1): RHP Colin Rea (4-1, 4.08 ERA) vs. Sr. LHP Ben Baker (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
Thursday (Game 2): RHP Jason Van Skike (2-1, 3.16 ERA) vs. So. RHP Mark Sappington (3-1, 4.05 ERA)
Friday: Sean Manaea (2-2, 4.85 ERA) vs. Sr. LHP Jeremy Pope (0-3, 4.32 ERA)

Prediction: Indiana State 3-0

  • Anonymous

    Correction to the Wichita St vs Hawaii Fri pitching matchup. S/b Connor Little (2-1, 3.49) for Hawaii. Christian Jones plays for the Oregon Ducks.

    • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

      John is new to the site and didn’t recognize that the preview runs on Friday!rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae