#7 Indiana State 7 #3 Illinois State 6
OMAHA, Neb. – An eighth-inning sacrifice fly from sophomore Robby Ort gave the Indiana State baseball team a late one-run lead and senior Blake Drake picked up his 10th save of the season in the ninth, leading the Sycamores past the Illinois State Redbirds in an elimination game from the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The win keeps Indiana State (28-27) alive in the tournament, as the Sycamores advance to face the Shockers of Wichita State at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. Illinois State exits the tournament after their second loss to the Sycamores, finishing the year at 36-18.
Both ISU and ILS picked up runs in the first inning on Thursday morning, with the Sycamores finishing the inning with a 2-1 lead. The Redbirds took the lead on a sacrifice fly by senior Ryan Court, but Indiana State answered right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.
#1 Creighton 5 – #5 Southern Illinois 0
OMAHA, Neb. – Greg Hellhake pitched a dominating two-hit shutout against Southern Illinois, retiring the final 16 batters he faced to help the Creighton baseball team stay alive in the State Farm MVC Tournament Thursday afternoon. The fifth-year senior left-hander allowed just two base hits in hurling the first shutout in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history, as the Bluejays defeated the Salukis 5-0 in an elimination contest.
Hellhake, making his 46th career start, hurled his first career complete game when his team needed it most. The left-hander had not thrown more than 6.2 innings in a game this year and had never thrown more than seven innings in a game, before throwing his 94-pitch gem to improve to 4-4 on the season. The complete game helped preserve the Bluejay bullpen, as Creighton will now return to the diamond in a rematch against Missouri State tonight at 7:30 pm. MSU topped Creighton 10-3 in the fifth game played on Wednesday at the tournament.
Creighton put runners on base in three of the first four innings, but did so with two outs each time, and failed to capitalize on its early chances. The Bluejays stranded two in the first inning following a hit batter and walk, left two on in the third after two-out singles from Nick Judkins and Jimmy Swift, and left one more on base in the fourth before pushing a run across in the fifth.
#6 Indiana State 7 – #2 Wichita State 6
OMAHA, Neb. – The Indiana State baseball team will live to fight another day in the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, as the sixth-seeded Sycamores defeated the #2 Wichita State Shockers, 7-6, on Thursday night from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The Sycamores (29-27) and Shockers (38-25) will take the field again at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, with the winner advancing to the championship game against either #1 Creighton or #4 Missouri State.
On Wednesday when Wichita State came away with a 7-3 victory it was Indiana State that gave up several unearned runs. On Thursday, the errors swung the other way. The Sycamores took advantage in the top of the second inning, scoring three unearned runs. Sophomore Jeremy Lucas and junior Jon Hedges led off the inning with back-to-back singles, but remained on first and second with two outs. Freshman Tyler Wampler came up with two down and grounded a pitch to sophomore Walker Davidson at second base that the Shocker second baseman fielded, but his throw went wide of first base, allowing Lucas to hustle home from second.
#1 Creighton 6 – #4 Missouri State 5
OMAHA, Neb. – Creighton baseball kept its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title hopes alive with a pair of victories on Thursday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. After the Bluejays defeated Southern Illinois 5-0 in an elimination game on Thursday afternoon, the top-seeded hosts bounced back to post a 6-5 come-from-behind win over fourth-seeded Missouri State Thursday night to remain in title contention. The win puts the Bluejays in a rematch with the Bears at 4 pm on Friday, following Wichita State and Indiana State’s 12:30 pm elimination game.
The one-run game in front of 3,213 fans, took 2:56 to play and featured five errors, four by the Bears, two wild pitches, two hit batters, a passed ball and two runners reaching base on strikeouts. The teams combined for 19 hits and 19 runners left on base in the ball game.
The Bears took an early 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of runs on a two-out double by Brent Seifert in the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Conway started the game with a single for the Bears and moved into scoring position on his 69th career stolen base, tying MSU’s career-record for steals. With two outs, Brock Chaffin worked a walk and came around to score along with Conway on Seifert’s doubled over the head of Trever Adams in right field.