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Missouri Valley Conference Recap and Season Awards

MVC.jpgWith a swinging strikeout of Southern Illinois’ outfielder Nick Johnson, Illinois State closer Jeremy Rhoades capped off an unlikely comeback and secured what, just a few months earlier, seemed like an improbable regular season title for his school. For the first time Illinois State’s history, they are regular season Missouri Valley Conference champions. However, just a few months prior, this season seemed like a “rebuilding year” for the team from Normal, IL. Before April 3rd, the Redbirds were just 12-14 overall and came off an embarrassing 20-2 loss to in-state rival Eastern Illinois. However, after April 3rd, the Redbirds embarked on what will be remembered as perhaps the greatest in-season turn-around in school history: the Redbirds went 24-4 through the end of the season, including a school-record 12-game winning streak. The Redbirds compiled a league-best 2.76 ERA in conference games, tallying 12 complete games (which was three more than the rest of the conference combined) including 10 shutouts (the previous Illinois State record was 4). Continue reading Missouri Valley Conference Recap and Season Awards