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Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Day 1 Recap

INS_baseballHere is your Day 1 Recap from the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

Game 1: Indiana State 4 Creighton 3

NORMAL, Ill. – In game one of the 2013 MVC Baseball Championship, No. 6 Indiana State took down No. 3 Creighton, 4-3 from Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. The Sycamores will face the winner of the Wichita State/Southern Illinois contest, while the Bluejays will take on the non-winner of the Shockers/Salukis game.

Junior Sean Manaea was set to start the game for Indiana State, but was lifted from the game after feeling tightness in his left shoulder when throwing warmup pitches in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Josh Negele (3-1) went on the start the game for the Sycamores, tossing a career-high 5.1 innings while allowing seven hits and one run with four strikeouts.

Indiana State took the lead in the second inning, as Creighton starter Tommy Strunc walked four batters in the frame. Sophomore Landon Curry picked up a RBI in the inning, grounding out with the bases loaded to plate junior Mike Fitzgerald from third. Strunc (7-3) was pulled with two outs in the second inning, as Creighton (30-17) and Indiana State both had to turn to their bullpens early in the game.

The Sycamores added another run in the third inning as sophomore Connor McClain (single) and Fitzgerald (double) both reached with one out before redshirt sophomore Jacob Hayes grounded out to second for a 2-0 ISU lead.

Negele pitched into the sixth inning on Tuesday, before Creighton tallied three consecutive singles with one out. The Bluejays touched the scoreboard on a sacrifice fly by Alex Staehely.

The Sycamore bullpen was able to work around trouble in each of the final four innings, as the Bluejays left two runners on base in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Indiana State tacked on two key insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning, as redshirt senior Koby Kraemer and Fitzgerald both hit solo home runs to left field to push ISU’s lead to 4-1 over CU. Those runs loomed large as the Bluejays rallied in the bottom of the ninth, plating two runs on a two-out single to left-center by Mike Gerber. Redshirt sophomore Greg Kuhlman earned his second save of the season in the ninth, as Staehely grounded out to Kraemer at third base to end the game.

Curry (2-for-5, RBI) and Fitzgerald (2-for-3, RBI) both tallied multi-hit games for Indiana State with both Fitzgerald and Kraemer hitting their third home run of the season. The Sycamores have hit 12 home runs during the 2013 season, six in their first 44 games and six in their last four games since last Thursday against Bradley.

Game 2: Southern Illinois 5 Wichita State 1

NORMAL, Ill. – In game two of the MVC Baseball Championship, No. 7 Creighton upset second-seeded Wichita State, 5-1, behind Cody Forsythe’s complete game. The Salukis will face No. 6 Indiana State on Wednesday at 4 p.m., while the Shockers look to bounce back against No. 3 Creighton at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Forsythe registered the seventh compelte game of his career and the first by a Saluki this season. After he allowed a run off two hits in the second inning, Forsythe did not allow another runner past first base until the ninth.

He struck out seven batters Tuesday to run his season mark to 4-5. Forsythe was already over 100 pitches after eight innings, but in what could potentially be his final collegiate start, there was no doubt he would go out for the ninth.

Southern Illinois took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth with a three-run, one-out rally. Brock Harding tied the game at 1-1 with a single to left field. Austin Montgomery scored from second base on the play, sliding in safely on a play at the plate. Ryan Rosthenhausler then scored Cody Daily and Harding on a single through the left side of the infield to give SIU its first lead of the game.

The Salukis had a group effort from the offense as five starters recorded multiple hits in the game. Southern seemed on the verge of breaking it open for much of the game but stranded 12 runners and hit into three double plays.

The Dawgs finally added some insurance in the top of the ninth when pinch hitter Derek Trovillion started off the inning with a single. After Matt Jones’ sacrifice bunt and Austin Montgomery’s intentional walk, Ryan Casillas and Daily followed a double then a single to extend the lead to 5-1.

Wichita State starter Cale Elam lasted four-plus innings and surrendered three runs off eight hits. He departed after Jones led off the fifth with a single.

Game 3: Missouri State 2 Evansville 1

NORMAL, Ill. – Two costly Evansville errors in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed Missouri State to erase a one-run deficit and earn a 2-1 victory over the Purple Aces. The No. 4 Bears will face the winner of the Illinois State/Bradley matchup on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., while fifth-seeded will take on the non-winner in the Illinois State contest at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow morning.

Travis McComack’s sacrifice fly brought in Luke Voit with the game-winner after a pair of costly UE errors kept the Bears’ big inning alive.

After being held scoreless on just three hits by Evansville starting pitcher Kyle Lloyd over the first eight innings, Missouri State got big contributions from a pair of freshmen to start its late comeback. Tate Matheny coaxed a lead-off walk from Lloyd, before Spencer Johnson delivered a base hit into shallow left-center field. Matheny boldly went from first to third, sliding into the bag just ahead of the tag of Jonathan Ramon to give MSU runners at the corners with nobody out.

Next, the first of two critical errors on Ramon opened the door for the Bears’ third victory in four games against the Purple Aces this season. Voit, who had singled in two of his three previous trips to the plate, bounced a hot shot that careened off the UE freshman’s glove, allowing Matheny to cross the plate with the tying run. Keenen Maddox followed with another bouncer to third that got through Ramon and into left field to load the bases, still with no outs being registered in the inning. Facing Conor Smith, Lloyd induced a third consecutive grounder to Ramon, who this time fired home cleanly to force Johnson for the first out in the frame.

But McComack came through, lofting Lloyd’s 131st pitch of the game into left for the game-ending sacrifice.

MSU’s late rally spoiled another standout performance by Lloyd against a Bears team he had beaten in each of his previous three outings in the series. The All-MVC right-hander coasted through the first eight innings, giving up just two Voit singles and a McComack base hit in the fifth to keep MSU off the board.

Evansville, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, wasted little time in taking command, as Kevin Kaczmarski doubled off MSU starter Nick Petree to start the game, then came home on Jason Hockemeyer’s two-out single up the middle. Petree nearly escaped the inning without incurring any damage, striking out Chris Pearson and getting Jake Mahon on a fly ball to left. But Hockemeyer lined a full-count offering up the middle, and Kaczmarski scored easily ahead of Matheny’s throw to the plate for the lone UE tally of the contest.

Petree would hold the Aces from that point, working around potential UE threats in the fifth and sixth innings before giving way to his bullpen with one out in the seventh. Lefty reliever Matt Hall would put the clamps down on the Evansville offense with two hitless innings, allowing just a lead-off walk in the ninth after retiring the first five hitters he faced. Senior Grant Gordon squashed a UE scoring chance in the final frame, getting Shain Showers on a bouncer to first and Andy Lasher on a liner to left to leave a second potential run in scoring position.

Gordon would earn the victory in his 82nd career appearance after Petree scattered eight hits over his 6 1/3 innings. The MSU starter struck out four to up his 2013 total to 111 punchouts, moving the right-hander past Ross Detwiler on the Bears’ single-season strikeout list for the second year in a row.

Voit’s 2-for-4 night paced the Bears, who totaled just four hits to go along with four walks against Lloyd.

Kaczmarski finished with a pair of hits for UE, which left eight men on base in the loss. Lloyd (7-4) allowed both MSU runs (one earned) while striking out five in the complete-game effort.

Game 4: Illinois State 11 Bradley 1

NORMAL, Ill. – Chad Hinshaw went 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run, and Chris Razo allowed just one run while striking out five in 7.0 innings of a run-ruled, eight-inning, 11-1 Illinois State victory against Bradley in the opening day of the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship, Tuesday at Duffy Bass Field.

Bradley starter John Nasshan (2-8) suffered the loss, and Razo improved to 8-1 with the win. Five Redbirds had two or more hits, while Paul Solka led the Braves offensively with a 2-for-3 effort and one RBI. ISU improved to 37-18, and Bradley fell to 17-31.

Playing in their first-ever home Valley Tournament game, Illinois State took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Eric Aguilera singled-home Brett Kay, and Zac Johnson scored on a wild pitch. Nasshan was taken out of the game with bases loaded and two outs, but Cameron Roegner forced the Redbirds to leave the bases loaded. Bradley responded in the top of the second with one run on a single by Solka that allowed Josh Camalick to score, pulling the Braves within 2-1.

After a scoreless third inning, Illinois State extended its lead with a Mike Hollenbeck two-out, two-RBI single to right center field that drove in Aguilera and Kyle Stanton. The Redbirds solidified their advantage with a five-run sixth frame. Sean Beesley started the scoring output with an RBI-single, followed by a two-RBI single by Kay. Then, Hinshaw doubled to left center to drive in two more runs, increasing ISU’s lead to 9-1.

Illinois State closed out the game with two final runs in the eighth inning. Aguilera walked with the bases loaded and Stanton singled-home the Kay to secure the run-ruled victory.

The Redbirds will face No. 4 Missouri State tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM, while the Braves will take on No. 5 Evansville in an elimination game at 12:30 PM on Wednesday.