May 27, 2007

MVC: Final Thoughts From This Week...This Game

Somewhere in the distant heavens, where spirits leave the body to join their Creator, the heroes of baseball past met with the hearts and souls of those who know the beauty and drama of college sports, and watched over the skies of Springfield, as Creighton and Wichita State battled it out in a matchup for the ages. And when it was done, they rose to their feet with those who were sitting in the stands in appreciation, for what was seen tonight in Hammons Field was everything that is great and wonderful about college baseball.

Continue reading "MVC: Final Thoughts From This Week...This Game" »

MVC: All-Tournament Team Announced

Here's the following players that made this year's 2007 Missouri Valley All-Tournament Team, led of course by your 2007 Champion Creighton Bluejays...

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MVC: Jays Celebrate Game of The Year

Right now, I'm sitting back in the press box, and my knees are buckling. The adrenaline is just pouring still at the moment.

Before I can even go on, that was the greatest baseball game a fan could ever wish to see (unless they were a Shockers fan). That's the game of the year regardless of any sport.

Creighton, in a true test of fortitude, wins it 10-9 in 12 innings, and the jubilant Jays were more than happy to talk about this one.

Continue reading "MVC: Jays Celebrate Game of The Year" »



In the most dramatic baseball game one will ever see in his life, Andrew Small wins it for Creighton with a double to left center that neither Tyler Hill nor Andy Dirks could snag. Brandon Knox comes home with the biggest run in CU history, and the Bluejays dogpile at home, celebrating their very first MVC Tournament title.

It's also the first year CU has won the MVC Baseball AND Basketball Tournaments.

But still, you HATE seeing WSU lose this one. This was the greatest game of the year in college baseball, bar none. I'd put it up for any baseball award you can THROW at it.

There will obviously be a lot more from Springfield, as we'll have post-game coverage, and hopefully some great interviews. Once again, in the most dramatic of fashions one could ever imagine, Creighton is the 2007 Missouri Valley Champion.

MVC: 1-2-3 Inning, Creighton's Turn

Creighton's Casey Schmidt wastes very little time setting Wichita down in order, so Roemmich is batting now in the bottom of the 12th with this game still tied at 9-9.

Wichita has Jared Simon facing the Bluejay order...

UPDATE: Roemmich walks, Brandon Knox to PR for him at first. 0 outs, and Ogden is up.

Eric, FSN has this game tape's in the 2nd on there right now, so if you hurry home, you'll see the rest.


A blast to center field that would've won the game, and the tournament for Creighton was DENIED by Andy Dirks, who made a leaping catch while colliding into the wall in center field. Amazingly, he hangs on to it, and we head to the 12th tied at 9-9.

This one takes the cake. Words are useless to describe how awesome this game has been.

MVC: WOW! Creighton Ties It Again!!!!


Creighton stages a dramatic two out rally in the bottom of the 11th, as a Ross Sinclair double down the left field line scored Chad Ogden, and Chris Gradoville followed with a double of his own to score Robbie Knight from third and Sinclair from second, tying the game at 9-9.

Now, Creighton's got the winning run in Gradoville at second, and Darin Ruf can win the game for the Bluejays.

I dare ANYONE to top this game this week...ANYONE. To say this game is incredible is an insult! I am in awe!

MVC: Now Wichita's Three Outs Away

First, Creighton was three outs away from the tournament title, but Wichita scored the tying run to send it to extras. Now, the Shockers are three outs away from their 16th tournament crown. Matt Brown drove Andy Dirks home on a fielder's choice to short, so the lead for Wichita State is now 9-6 as we head to the bottom of the 11th.

This is gut-check time for both teams. Creighton's got to dig deep and find one more rally in them, while Wichita must find it in them to shut the door on this tournament, capping off a fantastic run through the loser's bracket.

Noah Krol bunted safely in the top of the 11th. He'll now face the bottom of the Creighton order in order to win the biggest game of his season.

MVC: Shocks Grab First Lead of Game

The roars haven't been this loud for the entire tournament.

Wichita State, coming off an amazing comeback to tie it in the 9th, has just grabbed the lead. Tyler Weber led off with a single that just made it over the glove of Bluejays 2B Michael Lam. Cody Lassley replaced him at first as a pinch runner, and he'd advance to second on Noah Krol's bunt that was booted by Scott Reese, leaving both runners safe at first and second.

Andy Dirks then came up, and when WSU needed him the most, he's come through. Dirks hit a shot to the gap in right center for a stand-up double, scoring Lassley and Krol, and the Shocker fans are going insane over on the first base side. Creighton's players are in disbelief, as Wichita State now leads 8-6 with nobody out.

MVC: Scoreboard Goes Blank, On to 11th

The media from the MVC locales are calling this the tourney that won't end.

Myself, I'm calling it the tourney finale of the year.

Creighton got the winning run as far as second base, but TJ Roemmich grounded to the second baseman, and we head to the 11th inning tied at 6-6.

Just for a quick recap...

Wichita State......0..0..0.....0..0..1.....0..4..1.....0

MVC: Shockers Go In Order In 10th

Creighton might've felt down for losing a 6-1 lead, but that's changed to a feeling of determination, and you could see it in every move they made defensively.

Reese started the inning by walking Tyler Hill. Josh Workman struck out, and then Danny Jackson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, as fist pumps from every kid in a Creighton jersey could be seen.

Creighton sends up the 2-3-4 batters against WSU's RHP Jared Simon.

MVC: Title Game Goes to Extra Innings

Creighton goes down in order in the bottom of the ninth, meaning that the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament will be decided in extra innings.


This game has had it all. Great pitching early, great hitting late, and a comeback for the ages. I don't care how exhausted you can get, or if you've never seen these two teams play...THIS is a game worth getting excited about.

Wichita sends the 5-6-7 hitters to face Reese. Every pitch and swing counts now....a conference tournament crown is at stake here in Springfield, and the crowd has never been noisier. I'm speechless...what a game!

MVC: We're Tied in the Ninth!

The 90 minute rain delay was worth every minute....WHAT A GAME!

Andy Dirks led off the Wichita ninth with a shot to left center that a leaping Andrew Small couldn't snag, resulting in a double. He would advance to third on a grounder by Derek Schermerhorn, and would score on a deep fly to left field by Matt Brown.

We are KNOTTED UP at 6 as Creighton bats in the bottom of the ninth. Will we have extra innings. or will Creighton win it right here, right now?

Have I mentioned how much I am loving this game? This is college baseball at its best tonight!

May 26, 2007

MVC: Reese Saves Jays, We Have a GAME.

Scott Reese did his job for Creighton, retiring all three batters he faced. However, Danny Jackson's fly out to the warning track in center brought home Tyler Hill, and we've got a 6-5 game after 7 1/2 innings.

Creighton needs insurance right now. Wichita's outs were all fly balls in the eighth, and they aren't missing many balls now. It'll be the 5-6-7 hitters for CU going up against Noah Booth, whose job it is to shut the Jays down to give his team a shot in the ninth.

So here we go...will CU get insurance? Will Wichita tie it up? With Creighton just three outs away from its first ever MVC Tournament title, it'll be one wild finish here in Springfield!!!

MVC: Shockers Refusing to Fold

You would think, after losing the first game, coming back and fighting your way to today, winning a pitcher's duel in a dramatic ninth, and going through a grand total of 4 1/2 hours of rain delays this week would take a severe emotional toll on the Wichita State Shockers.

It hasn't. This is one gritty team that just doesn't give up easy.

The Shockers have found their bats in the top of the eighth. Derek Schermerhorn singled, and advanced to second on a single to left by Matt Brown. They would both score on a double by Conor Gillaspie that bounced off the wall in the left center power alley. Tyler Hill then singled to right to score Gillaspie, and Josh Workman just doubled off the left field wall, putting runners on second and third.

So how do you like this? Scott Reese comes into the game to pitch, as Andy Masten has been severely battered in this inning. Creighton started the inning up five, but Wichita has cut it to 6-4, and the tying run is on second with nobody out.

You just gotta love baseball in the Valley. Man, you gotta love this!

MVC: Close Game Turns to Bluejay Bash

Creighton has found their bats in the bottom of the sixth, and this one has become ugly.

After Chad Gradoville popped out to right. Darin Ruf singled, and then scored on a double down the left field line by Steve Winkelmann, making it a 3-1 game. A wild pitch moved Winkelmann to third, and three more balls by WSU's Kyle Touchatt put Masten on first and sent Gene Stephenson out to hand him a free ticket to the showers. LHP Noah Booth came into the game, having a 6-1 record and 0.98 ERA.

He doesn't have that 0.98 ERA anymore.

Chad Ogden absolutely punished a fastball delivery, sending it WAY over the bullpen fence in left field, and the blue-clad fans behind the third base dugout broke into hysterics as the Bluejays leaped out of the dugout to mob him, as well as Winkelmann and Masten, at home plate. It's a 6-1 Creighton lead as we head to the seventh.

MVC: Shocks Cut Lead in Half

For a second, I thought I seriously jinxed Creighton's Pat Venditte. However, a huge crisis ended with minor damage for the Bluejays, as Wichita State became the first team in 43.2 innings and 17 appearances to score a run on the switch pitcher.

There was some controversy though...

Continue reading "MVC: Shocks Cut Lead in Half" »

MVC: Venditte In Total Control

He's making it look easy.

Pat Venditte strikes out Tyler Weber, moves his glove to another hand, and then strikes out Dusty Coleman. Wichita has gotten no further than second base, and we are halfway home in 1:02 with Creighton on top, 2-0.

Memo to College Baseball Fans Everywhere: If Venditte is pitching at a regional near you, get over there and watch this kid in action. You won't see anything like it, and it is a treat to watch this guy pitch (Well, a treat for everyone except the Shocker fans). He's 12 outs away from a tournament title, his first win as a starter, and my vote for tournament MVP (which he has if WSU doesn't come back).

MVC: Creighton Bats Warm First

I'm getting a kick out of this game so far. The fans may be small in number, but they are doing some SERIOUS trash talking, and it's a riot to listen to from up here.

Creighton has become the team of singles, as base hits from Andrew Small and Robbie Knight put runners at the corners with one out. Ross Sinclair then laced a single to left to score Small and give the Jays the first run of the game. Gene Stephenson had a short leash on Hutson, and he pulled him in favor of RHP Kyle Touchatt. The switch didn't fare any better, as Darin Ruf hit a bouncing ball up the middle to score Knight, giving the Jays a two-run cushion for Pat Venditte to work with.

The trash talking continues, and it's great. The Shocker fans outnumber Creighton's by about 20-1, but the Bluejay boosters are holding their own in a verbal battle of wits in the stands.

2-0 Creighton as we head to the fourth.

MVC: Cold Night, Cold Bats

The rains earlier have definitely cooled things off by 10 degrees. Today's first game started with a temperature of 75, and it's 65 outside right now.

Wichita won the first game 2-1 this afternoon, and it looks like it might be another pitcher's duel tonight. After two innings, both teams only have one hit, and there really hasn't been a lot of good contact made tonight. Both teams are hitting a lot of slow grounders and shallow pop-ups.

Will the bats heat up? I hope they do for someone. We've got to crown a champion tonight, and a 0-0 game in extra innings can really be a frustrating game for all.

MVC: Historic First For Venditte

As the nation's only switch pitcher, Pat Venditte makes history with every first he does. Tonight, he's set the Shockers down in order in the first; a great start to his first career start.

Hutson, though, answered right back with a 1-2-3 inning for Wichita. Ross Sinclair hit a long fly that, if it had some wind aid, would've cleared the fence. Instead, Shocker LF Tyler Hill caught it at the warning track.

0-0 after a seven minute first inning.

MVC: Finally, the Title Game!

After a 90 minute rain delay, we are set for baseball here in Springfield, as Gene Stephenson and his #1 Wichita State Shockers look to claim their 16th MVC Tournament title. Standing in their way are Ed Servais and his #2 Creighton Bluejays, winners of 24 of their last 27 games.

Continue reading "MVC: Finally, the Title Game!" »

MVC: 8:40 Start Time

That's the word from the grounds crew here at Hammons Field, confirmed by Erica Stelling, who is keeping us sane right now. I think we're all a little restless up here in the press box.

Erica said the tarp would be pulled at 7:45. It was pulled at 7:44. Not bad.

However, the delay has caused the press box to thin out. Even reporters from the Wichita Eagle have decided to head back home to Kansas. I guess Mother Nature really does hamper journalistic endeavours sometimes.

They're still trying to sweep the water away from the field here, but the teams have made it here to the game. They've been staying at the University Plaza Hotel, located just a block away from the stadium.

Continue reading "MVC: 8:40 Start Time" »

MVC: Rain Delay Continues

It's still raining in Springfield, and we'll have a delayed start to the MVC Championship Game.

I just spoke with Erica Stelling, who told me that they were hoping to pull the tarp by 7:45. So far, according to the NOAA Weather Radar, Stelling might be right on target with the tarp pull.

We don't know the lineups just yet, but we do know the starters. Wichita is throwing LHP Max Hutson (1-2, 4.03), while Creighton counters with the nation's only switch pitcher, that is LHP/RHP Pat Venditte, who is 8-2 with a 1.87 ERA.

When the game starts, we will have you covered. For now, it's raining in Springfield.

MVC: It's Raining...Again

We're down to the championsihp game between Wichita State and Creighton, which is scheduled for 7:05 pm tonight. However, the tarp is on the field with the beginning of showers in the Springfield/Greene County area.

And apparently, it's just the beginning, as a line of thunderstorms from SW Missouri is making their way up here, meaning that the game is probably going to start at a later time.

We'll have it for you though, as coverage of the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament Championship continues from Hammons Field. Stay tuned to Touching the Bases for the latest.

MVC: Shockers Win, We'll Play One More!

There will be an actual Missouri Valley Championship Game, as Wichita State has finally given Creighton its first loss of the tournament in a dramatic 2-1 win by inches.

Inches, you say?

Yes, and here's how the top of the ninth went down.

Continue reading "MVC: Shockers Win, We'll Play One More!" »

MVC: Three Outs From Game Two

In a must-win game for Wichita State, the Shockers worked around a Michael Lam single to get out of the eighth, and they'll have a chance now to get some insurance before taking Creighton on in the ninth.

Should the Shockers hold on, we'll be back tonight for the MVC Championship Game. Should Creighton make a run and pull out a win, the Bluejays will be Missouri Valley Tournament Champs.

On a lighter note, they say Creighton pitcher Scott Reese is 6'6''. He looks a LOT taller in person. This guy towers over every one of his teammates...he looks like he's 6'8'', 6'9''..somewhere in the Randy Johnson range.

I pity any poor bird that tries to fly in this guy's zone.

MVC: Ruf Cuts Lead in Half

Let the dogfight begin here in Springfield.

Darin Ruf led off the top of the seventh inning with a blast to left. No doubt it had the distance, but the question was if it could stay fair. It did, by about a foot, and Creighton finally got on the scoreboard, now trailing Wichita 2-1 as we hit the seventh inning stretch.

LHP Noah Booth (6-1, 0.98 ERA) is warming up in the Shockers bullpen out in left field. Meanwhile, down in the bullpen just off of foul ground in right field, LHP Scott Reese (3-0, 4.36 ERA) is warming up for the Bluejays.

The chant of "Let's Go, Shockers!" is beginning to waft through the stands here at Hammons Field, as Wichita bats here in the last of the seventh, clinging to the slimmest of leads.

MVC: Weber Lights One Up

After a combined 13 straight batters retired by both pitchers here, Tyler Weber launched a Marc Lewis offering into the grassy knoll in left center field, electrifying the Shocker fans and getting the flags back out on the third base side. Gene Stephenson high fived, then pointed to Weber as he trotted home, making it 2-0 Wichita State.

Pitch Count has taken Aaron Shafer out of the game. No doubt Stephenson wants to use him some more today if Wichita can hold on, so the Shockers now have sent RHP Andy Womack (3-1, 2.29 ERA) to the mound. He'll face the top of the Creighton order in the sixth, as WSU tries to force a second game.

MVC: 1-2-3, 1-2-3

Halfway home in 59 minutes. This game is moving pretty fast!

Both pitchers are starting to get into a serious groove right now. Check out these stat lines...

CU - Mark Lewis - 4.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 0 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 K's, 62 pitches
WSU - Aaron Shafer - 5.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 2 K's, 56 pitches (retired last 7 batters in a row).

We've got another great pitcher's duel here at Hammons Field.

1-0 Shockers as the bottom of the Wichita order faces Lewis.

MVC: 1-2-3, 1-2-3

Halfway home in 59 minutes. This game is moving pretty fast!

Both pitchers are starting to get into a serious groove right now. Check out these stat lines...

CU - Mark Lewis - 4.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 0 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 K's, 62 pitches
WSU - Aaron Shafer - 5.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 2 K's, 56 pitches (retired last 7 batters in a row).

We've got another great pitcher's duel here at Hammons Field.

1-0 Shockers as the bottom of the Wichita order faces Lewis.

MVC: Wichita Dodges Huge Threat

Remember how I said Wichita needed to get those timely hits to score runs?

Well, Creighton needs a dose of the same stuff.

Wichita P Aaron Shafer retired the first eight batters he faced, but with two outs in the top of the third, the Flying Hawaiian, aka Creighton 2B Michael Lam, hit a sharp ball down the third base line that Conor Gillaspie was lucky to get any part of his glove on. Robbie Knight then singled to right center, advancing Lam to third. Ross Sinclair walked on four straight pitches to load the bases, but Chris Gradoville hit a bouncer to Gillaspie, who stepped on third to snuff out the Bluejay threat.

I think a count will be needed today for runners left on base. So far, Creighton has left three, Wichita has left two.

MVC: Creighton Avoids Danger

The Shockers are using a patient offensive attack right now, and it's getting runners on base. However, the timely hitting needed to score runs wasn't there in the bottom of the second. A Bret Bascue single and Josh Walkman walk had runners on first and second with just one out. However, Creighton's Marc Lewis struck out Tyler Weber, and Dusty Coleman grounded to short to end the inning.

Timely hitting means so much in games like this...Shocks gotta deliver, especially against a team like Creighton.

Bottom of the Creighton order facing Shafer in the top of the third. 1-0 WSU.

MVC: Winky Breaks A Window

Throughout this week in college baseball, I've read of broken bat tips, broken records, and as of this morning, broken win streaks courtesy of Memphis. Now, you can add a broken window to the list of things that shatter in the night.

Continue reading "MVC: Winky Breaks A Window" »

MVC: Shox Beat The Tag

After Aaron Shafer got Creighton to go 1-2-3, the Shockers answered in the bottom half with a one-out double to left by Derek Schermerhorn. Matt Brown then hit a sizzling Sunday hop that bounced off of Creighton 2B Michael Lam and into right field. Brown made it to first, while Schermerhorn, never slowing down, rounded third and just beat the tag home, giving Wichita the early 1-0 lead after one inning of play.

More fans are filing in...looks like a walk-in crowd is helping this one out. Most are still decked in bright yellow, and we've even got a couple of big yellow WSU flags. Nice school spirit, especially for the MVC title day (we don't know if this is the title game yet.

MVC: WSU - Creighton...The Beginning or The End?

We're about 10 minutes from the first pitch of a matchup between Gene Stephenson's #1 Wichita State Shockers and Ed Servais's #2 Creighton Bluejays. Creighton needs just one win to win their first ever Missouri Valley Tournament in baseball, while Wichita needs two wins tonight to claim their 16th tournament title.

Continue reading "MVC: WSU - Creighton...The Beginning or The End?" »

MVC: No Chick-Fil-A Cows Here

Unlike the other tournaments down south, there is no Chick-Fil-A dancing cow here in Springfield. I hate that; as I do love me some lemonade going, and add buffalo sauce to one of their sandwiches...that's good eats.

But then again, who could blame the cow for being afraid? The first drive-thru hamburger restaurant in the world was right here in Springfield, as Red's Giant Hamburgs (yes, Hamburgs) opened up on US Route 66 in 1947.

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MVC: Tourney Director Sets the Standard

A funny thing happened when I first arrived at Hammons Field on Wednesday. No one could find my credential anywhere. The parking lot attendants kept sending me in circles, and confusion reigned supreme.

Standing outside of the stadium, in the ticket line (where the last Cardinal employee sent me), I was being told that no one had any clue as to anything, when all of the sudden, I get a tap on the shoulder from a smiling lady dressed in Valley apparel.

Continue reading "MVC: Tourney Director Sets the Standard" »

May 25, 2007

MVC: Friday's Wrap-Up

We've finished up early tonight! (cheers from the media)

We know now it'll be Creighton and Wichita State tomorrow afternoon here in Springfield. The question now is if we'll play one game or two tomorrow at Hammons Field.

Continue reading "MVC: Friday's Wrap-Up" »

MVC: Fear The Bird: Creighton Delivers Mercy Killing

We all knew Creighton was good, but no one expected a blowout like this one.


Ben Mancuso didn't have to work too hard to get this win (10-2). Collin Brennan takes the loss (3-6).

Creighton (43-13) will take on Wichita State tomorrow to decide the MVC Champion. Wichita must beat the Jays twice to claim the title. Bradley's season ends at 32-21.

We'll have a final wrap-up from Springfield, as only two teams are left after tonight's action.

MVC: Creighton Making It Uglier

Jack Bauer must be in the Creighton dugout, because the Jays are putting Bradley through baseball's version of a torture chamber.

Chad Ogden sent a missile that sailed over Bank of America sign in deep left, scoring three more runs in the process, and it's now a 17-2 game at the stretch. Only three more outs for Bradley to go through, unless they score five in the bottom of the seventh.

I've pretty much run out of words to describe this one. Creighton has put on a baseball display that has even been endorsed by Fred McGriff (and Tom Emanski is not happy about it, either). There's some Wichita State fans that are praying that the Jays are using up all their offensive prowess tonight.

I would hate to be in the same regional with this Creighton team right now. This will be their 24th win in their last 26 games, a streak in which opposing starters are 0-23 with an ERA of over six runs.


MVC: Have Mercy, Creighton

A miracle actually happened in the fifth, as Creighton was held scoreless. However, that trend ended in a hurry. Two singles by Steve Winklemann and Chad Ogden were followed by two straight walks to TJ Roemmich and Michael Lam. Winklemann scored on Lam's bases loaded walk, and with no outs and the bases loaded, Creighton's lead became 12-2 as we're in the top of the sixth.

Bradley replaced pitchers, bringing in Eitan Barbalat to stop the massive bleeding. At this point, one wonders if there is any blood left to bleed out of the Braves. This is just brutal baseball right now.

Turns out, there is more blood to go around. Robbie Knight singled to right to score Ogden and keep the bases loaded, making it a 13-2 game. Ross Sinclair grounded to second, but he beat the fielder's choice to first, and Roemmich scored, making it 14-2. Finally, the bleeding stopped on a double play grounder by Chris Gradoville.

Thank goodness for the 10-run rule. If this score holds, Bradley's suffering will last only 1 1/2 more innings.

MVC: The Runs Keep Coming

For a church school, Creighton loves to give their opponents hell.

Bradley still hasn't been able to throw a zero up on the Creighton side of the scoreboard, as the Jays added yet another run on a sac fly by Steve Winklemann that easily scored Chris Gradoville from third. Chad Ogden just singled for the Jays, loading up the bases with just one out in the top of the fourth.

Bradley's pen is obviously depleted after playing three full games, as there is no action in the left field pen despite this slaughter of a game.

Just as I finished typing that, TJ Roemmich doubled down the left field line (a popular choice of hit all week), scoring two more, and it's 11-2 Jays, still one out, and runners on second and third.

Memo to NCAA officials: Creighton is MUCH better than the RPI rating of 43 you've given them.

MVC: All Creighton, All the Time

Creighton is simply owning Bradley right now after 2 1/2 innings of play.

Bradley's Collin Brennan got the first two batters in order, but then followed with consecutive walks to TJ Roemmich and Michael Lam. Robbie Knight then doubled right down the left field line, scoring both Roemmich and Lam, and it's 8-1 Jays.

With the 10-run rule in full effect, we might have another shortened game on hand here in Springfield. Creighton looks like world beaters at the moment, while nothing Bradley can do seems to stop the CU machine.

MVC: A Comedy of Errors

To beat a good team, you've got to keep the mistakes to a minimum, and Bradley has definitely NOT done that in the top of the second. After TJ Roemmich was walked, Bradley committed THREE STRAIGHT THROWING ERRORS, and against a team like Creighton, that will lead to severe damage.

The Jays scored their first two runs of the inning when Ross Sinclair's infield single to third was aided by a wild throw that went past first base. They scored two more on a fielder's choice grounder by Chris Gradoville and a deep fly to right by Darin Ruf, and before Bradley could breathe, Ben Mancuso trots out to the mound with a 6-1 lead under his belt.

Bradley's going to have to really work to get back in this one. No mercy from the Creighton side.

MVC: Bradley Answers, Cuts CU Lead

No shutout tonight for Creighton, as Bradley responded to Creighton's 2-spot. Dan Brewer led off with a single to left, and Brewer advanced to third on Rice's single to right. Ryan Curry grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but it did score Brewer from first, and the Bluejay lead is now 2-1 after one full inning of play.

Although CU has the lead, I'll give Bradley the momentum right now. The Braves needed to score something in the first, and not let Mancuso get in an early groove. Creighton needs Mancuso to slam the door shut on Bradley, so as long as BU keeps scrapping for hits and runs, they're in this game.

MVC: Jays Waste No Time

A well-rested Creighton team is a dangerous one, and they've wasted no time jumping on Bradley starter Collin Brennan. Ross Sinclair singled up the middle to start the rally, and then, after a Darin Ruf walk, Andrew Small singled to right to score Sinclair. Steve Winklemann followed with a single to the exact same spot in right to score Ruf, and Creighton puts up a 2-spot in the top of the first.

Bradley's got "#1 PLAY HUNG" back out on the dirt in front of their dugout. It'll be interesting to see what happens in their half of the first. This is what the Braves wanted: a rematch with Creighton, and with the MVC Pitcher of the Year on the mound, it should be a terrific emotional battle.

MVC: Getting Set for Bradley-Creighton II

Last night, Zak Moore and the Creighton Bluejays shut down Bradley in a 2-0 pitcher's duel here at Hammons Field. This morning, Bradley came out, wanting desperately to get a rematch with Creighton, and they rolled to an easy 8-3 win over Missouri State. Now, we're just minutes away from the marquis rematch of the night: #3 Bradley and #2 Creighton.

Continue reading "MVC: Getting Set for Bradley-Creighton II" »

MVC: 10-Runned: Shockers Win in 8

The wireless is finally back on after a long delay, so here's what's happened.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for this area, but the real flooding just happened right here in Hammons Field by Wichita State. The Shockers unloaded in the eighth to take a 12-1 lead, which became a final after eight innings thanks in part to the 10-run rule in MVC play. It is the 1,600th career win for Shocker Coach Gene Stephenson.

Wichita State.....0..0..0..1..1..0..2..8.......12..11..2

What a bloodbath in that last inning. Here's how it all went down...

Continue reading "MVC: 10-Runned: Shockers Win in 8" »

MVC: Wichita Pulling Away

This one is starting to fall out of Evansville's grip, as Conor Gillaspie blasted a shot that would've gone out the park had it been hit anywhere else but dead center. Instead, the ball, and Aces CF Jim Viscomi, hit the 400 mark and fell to the ground. By the time Viscomi had gotten on his feet, Matt Brown was rounding third and racing home. Brown beat the tag at the plate, and the Shockers now lead 5-1 on Gillaspie's double.

Evansville's put up a great fight, and you can't count them out completely just yet. It's just been Wichita's talent that has pulled them through, making clutch hits and spectacular catches all game long.

MVC: Dirks Carrying Wichita

Andy Dirks has really stepped it up tonight for the Shockers.

In a critical situation, with runners on second and third and two outs, Dirks singled past the third baseman and into left field, bringing home two HUGE runs in Josh Workman and Bret Bascue, and extending Wichita State's lead over Evansville to 4-1.

Evansville's fans, to their credit, never stop cheering for their team. They are loud and boisterous, but that hit really deflated them, as they know their Aces have a lot of work cut out for them.

The Wichita State fans are singing away during the seventh inning stretch, sensing a championship series birth is ahead of them tomorrow afternoon. Anthony Capra heads back to the mound in the bottom of the seventh, hoping to keep his new three-run cushion in tact.

MVC: Great Catches...and Cup Holders

Wichita State robbed Evansville of a potentially big inning with an incredible diving catch by Bret Bascue in left field on a deep fly by Kasey Wahl. The Shocker outfield has been absolutely sensational today.

2-1 Shockers as they bat in the top of the seventh.

Meanwhile, I have to ask this. Hammons Field is an impressive facility, but they really went over the top with the press bathrooms, which feature actual cup holders in each stall. That's right, cup holders. Now, I enjoy a frosty cold beverage as much as the next person, but I'm not so sure if I'd take it to the bathroom with me. Obviously, there's quite a few people out there who disagree with me!

MVC: Error Proves Costly

With Josh Workman on first, having been hit by a pitch, and just one out, Tyler Weber hit a routine grounder to shortstop that should've resulted in a double play to end the inning. However, Robbie Minor booted the ball, all runners were safe, and Andy Dirks made the Aces pay with a single to left field, scoring Workman.

The need to play error-free baseball in the postseason can't be emphasized enough, especially for a team like Evansville. While Wichita is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, the Aces likely need to win the whole thing to get to a NCAA Regional.

The bottom of the Evansville order is up in the bottom of the fifth, with Wichita now leading it 2-1.

MVC: Shocks Tie It Up

Wichita State had gone hitless for the first three innings, but the hits came through for them in the top of the fourth. Derek Schermerhorn got the first hit of the game for the Shocks when he delivered a one-out single to right field. He would steal second on a very close play, and score on a single by Conor Gillaspie that just made it over the glove of Evansville 2B Troy Krider.

Tuomi managed to hold the Shocks to just a run, but the fans along the first base side have gotten into this game, and that can't be good news for the Aces.

1-1 as Evansville bats in the bottom of the fourth. They'll send the 4-5-6 hitters to face Capra.

MVC: Shocks Tie It Up

Wichita State had gone hitless for the first three innings, but the hits came through for them in the top of the fourth. Derek Schermerhorn got the first hit of the game for the Shocks when he delivered a one-out single to right field. He would steal second on a very close play, and score on a single by Conor Gillaspie that just made it over the glove of Evansville 2B Troy Krider.

Tuomi managed to hold the Shocks to just a run, but the fans along the first base side have gotten into this game, and that can't be good news for the Aces.

1-1 as Evansville bats in the bottom of the fourth. They'll send the 4-5-6 hitters to face Capra.

MVC: Aces Jump Ahead

Evansville drew first blood in the bottom of the second, when Pat Tumilty scored from third on a bloop single to center field by Aces RF Jeff Zelenovich, bringing the UE fans to their feet as they did a musical chairs dance around the first two rows of Section L at Hammons Field.

Wichita is having trouble against Tuomi so far. Unlike the first game against Bradley, Tuomi has spotted his pitches nicely, and the Shocks are in need of a big play to rally the troops, in the dugout and in the stands.

So far, though, Kai Tuomi is having his way. He sets WSU down in order in the top of the third, and the Aces head to their half of the inning, up 1-0.

MVC: Pitcher's Duel Early

Sorry for the delay here, but I just concluded an interview with the tournament director for a story that will be appearing later on tonight.

We're scoreless...and hitless, after 1 1/2 innings of play though between the Shockers and Purple Aces. Evansville is going with LHP Kai Tuomi (10-3, 2.85 ERA), who's shown to be pretty fresh in his second tournament start. After all, he wasn't around long for the Bradley game on Wednesday. Wichita is also going with a southpaw, as they've sent Anthony Kapra (6-0, 1.61 ERA) to the mound to shut down the Aces.

The Evansville fans are on the third base side (they're the home team this game), and they are as loud and boisterous as ever. In fact, their energy has stirred some spirit from the Wichita side, who doesn't like being drowned out by a smaller contingent.

MVC: And It's Raining Again

The rain is coming down in sheets right now, and I'm just glad I made it back from Walgreen's in time! With aspirin now in the system, I hope I'll be feeling a little bit better.

As for Bradley's post-game, I asked the players what "#1 PLAY HUNG" meant.

"It means to play loose," said Paul Rice, who had two homers today. "We have two sayings that we like to use. One is 'Be Awesome', and the other is 'Play Hung'."

"It gives us motivation," said pitcher Brad Altback.

I guess it did, because Bradley dominated the Missouri State Bears, and a rematch with Creighton will be the nightcap.

Expect a slight delay in the WSU-Evansville game, which is scheduled next at 3:30 CDT. Credit goes to both teams for helping put the tarp on the infield as the rains came pouring down.

MVC: Braves Advance, Host MSU Is Out

The outcome was never in doubt...

MO State.....0..0..0..0..0..0..0..2..1........3..8..2

WP - Brad Altbach (7-2)
LP - Pat Doyle (1-4)

Bradley improves to 32-20 and gets a rematch tonight with Creighton, while Missouri State ends their season at 23-34.

More to come from Springfield, as Missouri State becomes the second team to be eliminated from the MVC Tournament.

MVC: Bears go back-to-back

As a breeze has finally drifted into the stadium (YES!), the Bears of Missouri State have finally done something positive in the top of the eighth, as Tanner Mattson launched a solo shot into the left field bullpen (obviously THE place to hit it today), and Nolan Keane followed with a shot over the Steak N Shake sign in right center, cutting the Bradley lead to 8-2.

BU is relaxed now, as they know that, unless a severe catastrophe goes down in the ninth, they'll get their rematch with Creighton. Meanwhile, I'm still amazed that Bradley has yet to hit a single today. How many times have you heard of a team getting eight hits, four of them homers, and not one of them being a single?

MVC: End Can't Come Soon Enough

The press box is quiet, sleepy, and anxious for this one to end.

Missouri State's Jake Shafer has pitched well, holding Bradley scoreless in the last two innings. However, the Bears have done absolutely nothing on offense, and the Braves are still up a touchdown as we hit the stretch.

The MSU fans are leaving, making this stadium very very empty. So empty, in fact, that no one was singing during the 7th inning stretch. Something's wrong with that!

Yours truly has a massive headache right now (I feel a cold coming on) after BU finishes this one off, I'm taking a stroll down to Walgreen's to get some relief.

7-0 Braves, and it could be more, as Ryan Curry just doubled down the left field line. Eight hits for the Braves, and still all of them have been for extra bases today.

MVC: Welcome to the BU Home Run Derby

With Bradley scoring four of their five runs courtesy of the long ball, Dan Brewer decided to join the Bradley Long Ball Club. Brewer sent a Tim Clubb fastball directly into the bullpen in left for a two-run shot, and the Braves have upped their lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

Missouri State has sent Clubb to the showers, and now RHP Jake Shafer (1-5, 6.91 ERA) is the new pitcher.

There are still no outs in the inning, and how about this for a stat? Bradley has seven hits in the game so far...and ALL of them have gone for extra bases. Four homers, two doubles and a triple for the Braves right now.

This leads to two questions for this game: Can Bradley get a single? And can Missouri State hold the Braves scoreless for an inning?

We'll find out as we continue here from Hammons Field.

MVC: Missouri State Misery

How bad is it for Missouri State right now?

With one out in the top of he fourth, Nolan Keane singled to left for the second hit of the day for MSU. Bradley pitcher Brad Altbach then walked Ben Carlson and hit Josh Mazzola, loading the bases with just one out, and giving the Bears a chance to get into this game.

However, MSU failed to capitilize. Chris Taylor struck out swinging, and Brayden Drake fouled out to the catcher on the very first pitch.

Everything is going Bradley's way...Creighton better hope this isn't an all-day sort of streak.

MVC: Missouri State Misery

How bad is it for Missouri State right now?

With one out in the top of he fourth, Nolan Keane singled to left for the second hit of the day for MSU. Bradley pitcher Brad Altbach then walked Ben Carlson and hit Josh Mazzola, loading the bases with just one out, and giving the Bears a chance to get into this game.

However, MSU failed to capitilize. Chris Taylor struck out swinging, and Brayden Drake fouled out to the catcher on the very first pitch.

Everything is going Bradley's way...Creighton better hope this isn't an all-day sort of streak.

MVC: Twice as Nice for Bradley's Rice

And there's your rhyme for the day.

Paul Rice led off the bottom of the third with his second home run of the day. This time, the ball was sent deep into left center and over the Bud Light sign, where one lucky cameraman has a souvenir. With the Bradley lead at 4-0, MSU Coach Keith Guttin decided enough was enough for Doyle, and RHP Tim Clubb came into the game to replace the battered Doyle.

However, Bradley's offensive barrage continued. Ryan Curry doubled down the left field line, advanced to third on a fielder's choice, and scored on a double by Pete Malinowski that bounced off the left field wall. The Braves now lead 5-0 after three innings, and I have a feeling that it could get even uglier. It was clear from the first pitch that Bradley came in fired up and MSU came in with a feeling like they want the season to end.

Maybe the Bears will prove me wrong. So far though, it's all BU.

MVC: Power Burst from Bradley

In a tournament that hasn't seen many home runs (except for MSU hitting three in the ninth inning last night), Bradley is taking out their offensive frustrations here early on. Ryan Eigsti hit a bullet train shot that left the yard in about two seconds, and like Rice's homer in the first, it landed somewhere over the left field bullpen.

Bradley is feeling it today. They are excited to be playing, and they refuse to go down quietly tonight. Something tells me they REALLY want another crack at Creighton tonight. MSU still is showing NO emotion.

3-0 Bradley as we head to the third.


That's what written in big letters on the dirt in front of the BU dugout.

I don't know what that means, and believe me, I will be asking at the post-game presser (if we have one), but BU started off red hot. Dan Brewer opened the bottom half of the first with a triple down the right field line, and Paul Rice followed with a tape measure shot over the bullpen in left.

The BU dugout is vocal; they are fired up big time. MSU lacks that intensity right now, so this could get ugly.

2-0 Braves after one.

MVC: Getting Ready for MSU-Bradley

The teams are starting to file back into their dugouts, and we're about 10 minutes from the first pitch between the Bradley Braves and the Missouri State Bears, as one team will call it a season at the end of this game.

Here's a quick look at today's starters...

Continue reading "MVC: Getting Ready for MSU-Bradley" »

MVC: Judgment Day Here in Springfield

Five teams enter today's action, but at least two will leave today, and if Creighton has anything to say about it, three will go by night's end, as it is judgment day here in Springfield. It's win-or-go home for everyone here today except the Bluejays, so expect some tight games here at Hammons Field.

Our first showdown is between the #3 Bradley Braves and the #6 Missouri State Bears. Right now, the teams are warming up, but with the early start, the crowd today should be much smaller for the Bears.

It won't be over for the winner either, as they'll have to return back to the stadium for the nightcap against Creighton, with Wichita State and Evansville facing off in between games.

The teams are warming up on the field right now, and we don't even know who'll be starting today, so we'll get back to you with that information, as well as game updates, as's coverage of the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament continues.

MVC: Day Two Wrap-Up

We're done with two days of exciting action here in Springfield, and with five teams left, tomorrow is definitely Judgment Day. We'll be down to two, or three teams left, as it'll be a test of wills in every game.

Quite a lot happened today at Hammons Field, so let's give a quick recap...

Continue reading "MVC: Day Two Wrap-Up" »

MVC: Tomorrow's Schedule

Here's the schedule of tomorrow's games.

Game 1: Missouri State (1-1) vs. Bradley (1-1) - Noon
Game 2: Wichita State (1-1) vs. Evansville (1-1) - 3:30 pm
Game 3: Creighton (2-0) vs. Game 1 Winner - 7:00

Should the Game 1 Winner beat Creighton, Saturday looks like this...

Game 1: Creighton vs. Wichita State/Evansville Winner - 1:05 pm
Game 2: MVC Title Game: Friday's Game 3 Winner vs. Saturday's Game 1 Winner - 7:05 pm

Should Creighton win tomorrow night, they'll be in the MVC Title Game, and Saturday will look like this...

Game 1: Creighton vs. Wichita State/Evansville Winner - 1:05 pm
Game 2 (if necessary): Creighton vs. Wichita State/Evansville Winner - 7:05 pm

I'll be back with a final wrap-up, as soon as I can get back to my hotel room!

MVC: Creighton Shuts Out Braves in 1:56

Now that was efficient baseball!

Creighton wasted little time on the mound, completely shutting Bradley down in every offensive aspect known to man, and although Bradley's Chris Wright pitched a heck of a game, it wasn't good enough to beat Zak Moore tonight. The Bluejays win the game 2-0, and they do it in one hour and 56 minutes.

Moore throws 8 innings, walks one, strikes out eight and gives up only two hits tonight. Andy Masten set the Braves down in order, and Creighton will have an easy route to the title game.

WP - Zak Moore (5-1)
LP - Chris Wright (4-2)

More to come from Springfield, as we'll wrap this game, as well as day two's action.

MVC: Great News For Bradley

Creighton's up 2-0 as we head to the ninth, and Bradley is three outs away from having to bounce back for a noon showdown with Missouri State, but the best news of the night for the Braves was just announced.

Continue reading "MVC: Great News For Bradley" »

May 24, 2007

MVC: Creighton Extends Lead

Just like the fifth, CU started with a Steve Winklemann walk. And, just like the fifth, it was Michael Lam's at-bat that led to a Creighton run.

This time, Winklemann advanced to second on a sac bunt by Chad Ogden, and then advanced to third when Wright's pickoff attempt found its way into center field. Lam singled right up the gut to center, and Winklemann brought the tiny Bluejay crowd to its feet, as Creighton now holds a 2-0 lead as we head to the eighth.

Most of the time in college baseball, a two-run lead is never safe. However, the way this game has gone, two runs is a blowout of a lead.

MVC: Stretching in Springfield

Zak Moore has completely handcuffed Bradley so far tonight. In what has been the best pitching performance of the entire tournament, Moore has walked one, struck out seven, and has held the Braves hitless for the last three innings, and we go to the stretch with Creighton on top, 1-0.

I knew that Creighton had good pitching, but this has been impressive. Venditte was fantastic in the first game, and now Moore is one-upping the Braves tonight.

Even though he stands to be the losing pitcher, you have to give a hand to Bradley's Chris Wright as well. He's only allowed one run on four hits, and that run was unearned. Most nights, he'd be in a winning position. Tonight though, his teammates have run into a Bluejay buzzsaw.

MVC: Creighton Draws First Blood

Well, it only took five innings, but we have something other than a zero in the run column.

Creighton's TJ Roemmich singled to put Chad Ogden in scoring position, and when Michael Lam grounded to third, Bradley's Paul Rice threw wild to first base, and Ogden scored, giving Creighton the 1-0 lead that it carries to the sixth.

The crowd is small for tonight's late night game, and neither the Bluejay or Brave fans have matched the intensity that Evansville's fans brought tonight. Then again, there hasn't been much to cheer about so far in the game.

MVC: Halfway Home in 55 Minutes

Somewhere in Jacksonville, Glenn Tanner is hating me right now. But hey, we did have a three hour rain delay in the first game!

Bradley......0 0 0 0 0
Creighton...0 0 0 0

The above pretty much tells you what's happened in the first 4 1/2 innings. This has been the pitcher's duel that we've all been waiting for here in Springfield, and it's definitely a 180 from the 10-run ninth we had in the second game!

Both teams have two hits in the game, and Creighton has one error, as a single by Paul Rice bounced out and over the glove of Creighton CF Robbie Knight.

I'm in full agreement with Eric's terrific weather right now. We have all the windows open in the press box, and a cool breeze is blowing in. We're not cold by any means, but it's just right inside the press box here at Hammons Field.

Steve Winklemann just walked to start the bottom half of the fifth for Creighton. Will the first run of the game happen this inning?

MVC: Full of Goose Eggs

We've completed three innings in just 38 minutes here. How? Well, the scoreboard reads the following..

Bradley........0 0 0
Creighton.....0 0 0

Both teams have just one hit.

Creighton had runners on first and second with two outs, but a fantastic stop on a hot grounder by Ross Sinclair was made by Bradley 3B Paul Rice, who then dove to the base to beat a flying Michael Lam.

It's been the model of efficiency so far here in the nightcap.

MVC: Creighton v. Bradley Underway

Man, when the MVC wants to move fast, they move FAST!

By the time the post-game press conference was done, the lineups were being announced, the national anthem was being played, and we were set for baseball here in Springfield.

So far, it's been 1 1/2 innings of perfect baseball, as neither team has mustered a hit, and we're knotted at 0-0.

Continue reading "MVC: Creighton v. Bradley Underway" »

MVC: Key To UE Win: Ejection

Sometimes in basketball, it takes a technical foul to fire up a team. Today, it was baseball, but when MSU's Nolan Keane collided head first into Evansville's Kirk Bacsu, it not only cost Keane any chance to play the rest of the game, it cost Missouri State THE game.

Continue reading "MVC: Key To UE Win: Ejection" »

MVC: Aces Trump Bears in Wild Ninth

I ventured down to check out the loudest fans of the tournament in the bottom of the ninth. As I approached the first base line, Troy Krider had just singled to left, scoring Andy Pascoe and making it an 11-3 ballgame. The Aces fans were doing a Chinese fire drill around the seats, and t looked to be a quick ninth for the Aces.

Boy, I was wrong.

Continue reading "MVC: Aces Trump Bears in Wild Ninth" »

MVC: Evansville Nailing the Coffin

No upset here tonight for Missouri State.

Evansville has blown this game WIDE open. With one out, Jim Viscomi walked, and advanced to third on a single to right by Robbie Minor. Kasey Wahl walked to load the bases, and Pat Tumilty doubled down the left field line, scoring Viscomi and Minor. Kirk Bacsu singled to center to score Wahl and Tumilty, and the Aces have chased Scott Carroll out of the game.

Missouri State sent LHP Chris Mackey to the mound to try and prevent further damage, but it didn't work. Pinch hitter Andy Pascoe just tripled down the right field line, over RF Shane Elenz's head, and it's now 10-3 Aces.

It'll take a sheer miracle to comeback from this one, and I'm going to go visit with the UE fans for the last three outs. More to come from Springfield, but this game is coming up all Aces.

MVC: Bears Waste Golden Chance

MSU had a chance, as singles by Shane Elenz (who came in after Nolan Keane's ejection) and Josh Mazzola put the go-ahead run at the plate with just one out. However, the Bears could do nothing with it. Matt Lawson flied out to shallow right field, and Brayden Drake grounded out to shortstop, ending the Bears' chances of making this a very tight game.

Evansville is three outs away from staving off elimination. We head to the ninth, Aces up 5-3.

MVC: Getting More Sleep

It's approaching 8:00 pm here in Springfield, meaning that the nightcap between Bradley and Creighton won't start until after 9:00 here tonight. With the end of that game likely to go past midnight, the Missouri Valley Conference has announced that game times tomorrow have changed to the following...

Game 1 - Noon
Game 2 - 3:30 pm
Game 3 - 7:00 pm

HUGE props to the MVC, who has made players (and media) their top priority.

MVC: Bears Running Out of Time

Missouri State had a field day on Evansville pitcher Ben Norton in the first two innings, as they scored three runs on six hits against him. Since then, the Bears have mustered just three hits, and haven't come close to scoring, as Evansville holds a 5-3 lead through 7 1/2 innings of play.

Continue reading "MVC: Bears Running Out of Time" »

MVC: Ace Baserunning

You've got to give credit to the outstanding baserunning by Evansville tonight. With Jeff Zelenovich on third with one out, Andy Smith hit a grounder to third, but Zelenovich beat the throw home, sending another huge groan from the MSU fans, while the small contingent of purple and orange are going crazy. Seriously, great spirit tonight from the Evansville faithful.

MSU looks helpless; despite the fact they're only down two. The Bears have eight hits for the night, but only two of those (both singles) have come in the last three innings. Norton has settled down and found a groove, and the hometown fans are sensing trouble in the air for Missouri State.

Maybe the Bears can muster a rally in the sixth. They'll have the 5-6-7 batters facing Norton, down 5-3.

MVC: Here Come The Aces

Think Nolan Keane colliding into the umpire got Evansville fired up?

Kirk Bacsu, who Keane ran into at home plate, started with an infield single, and he advanced to second on a throwing error by 3B Brayden Drake. Kern Watts followed with a single to score Bacsu, and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Jeff Zelenovich. Troy Krider was hit by a pitch, and Andy Smith advanced both runners into scoring position with a grounder to second. Then came Aces star Jim Viscomi, who doubled down the left field line, scoring Watts and Krider, and changing the momentum of the game completely around.

The Missouri State fans are a little stunned, as Evansville's fans are making a LOT of noise right now. They may be small, but they're as loud a group as we've heard all tournament, and they have something to shout about, with their Aces now leading 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth.

MVC: Collison Almost Causes Brawl

With two outs and Nolan Keane on second for Missouri State, Matt Lawson singled to right field. Keane raced home, but the relay throw from Aces RF Jeff Zelenovich was on the money, and with Kirk Bascu holding the ball, Keane ran head on into him. Bascu held out, ending the inning, but a MVC rule states that a runner isn't allowed to collide with the catcher, so players from the Aces side, as well as Bascu, jumped up in protest.

Players from both sides came to support their fellow player, and the umpires had to huddle for a few minutes before making a decision: Keane has been ejected from the game for colliding with Bascu.

This might be the spark Evansville needs, as they trail Missouri State 3-1 as we head to the fourth.

MVC: Sound the Sirens

For every home run hit here at Hammons Field, a siren goes off to celebrate the occasion. It hasn't gone off too much here over the last two days, but Missouri State's Brayden Drake launched a rocket to the power alley in right center that bounced off of the huge Hiland Dairy sign above the fence. The MSU fans are rocking again, as it appears that baseball's version of Cinderella is wearing a bear suit this week.

Evansville has time to come back, but Norton has got to settle down and work the corners. He's throwing way too many pitches right down the center of the plate, and Missouri State is feasting off of it at the moment.

3-1 Missouri State after two innings.

MVC: Bears Surge to Early Lead

The top of the first brought groans from the maroon-clad MSU fans, and mumbles of "The Bears are back to normal." were being muttered in the press box. Evansville's Jim Viscomi singled, advanced to third on an error by MSU shortstop Tanner Mattson, and scored on a great baserunning play, as Kasey Wahl ran a third of the way towards second, as he noticed that MSU 1B Josh Mazzola had run towards home, ready for a relay throw. The move distracted RF Nolan Keane, who had just caught a shallow fly ball, and as he scrambled to deal with Wahl, Viscomi tagged safely from third to make it 1-0 Aces.

However, Missouri State answered back in the bottom half. After Mattson took a pitch to the head, the Bears got singles from Keane and Chris Taylor (who hit his off the first base bag), scoring Mattson. Keane would score on a sac fly to deep right center from Mazzola, and just like that, Missouri State grabbed a 2-1 lead; a lead that Evansville will try to come back from as we start the second.

MVC: Aces vs. Bears - The Battle Begins

A huge round of applause from the Missouri State fans as the Bears have taken the field, ready to make Evansville the next upset victim of their surprising run. For Evansville, it's do-or-die, as they need this win, but for the Bears, a win sets them up for an excellent chance to get to the MVC Tournament Championship.

Continue reading "MVC: Aces vs. Bears - The Battle Begins" »

MVC: A Kinder, Gentler Gene

For the first time all week, Gene Stephenson had a smile on his face. What's even more amazing is that even he couldn't believe he was smiling, despite Wichita State's 4-2 victory against Southern Illinois today.

Continue reading "MVC: A Kinder, Gentler Gene" »

MVC: Shockers Move On, SIU Goes Home

The first pitch of this game was at 11:06, and the last pitch came at 4:46 pm, but a three hour rain delay couldn't stop Wichita State from staying alive in the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament. The Shockers played great defense, and their pitching was deadly today, as they eliminate the Southern Illinois Salukis 4-2 here at Hammons Field.

The Shocker fans are whooping it up over on the first base side, relieved that their team fought hard today. Southern Illinois ends their season at 34-22, and for the first time in history, have gone 0-2 in the MVC tourney in back-to-back years.

WP - Rob Musgrave (9-2)
LP - Cody Adams (11-5)

More to come from Springfield. The conference is hoping to get Missouri State-Evansville going in 45 minutes, but we'll see what happens. What we know for sure is that Wichita State keeps playing, and the Salukis are done.

MVC: 1st Base Bag Very Good to Salukis

How's this for a lucky break?

With one out and a runner on second, Kevin Koski hit a bouncing grounder. It bounced well for SIU, as it actually hit the first base bag, skied up and over Shocker 1B Derek Schermerhorn's head and down the right field line. It turned out to be a triple for Koski, as Michael Finigan scored to make it a 4-2 game.

However, SIU could do no more. Kyle Touchett struck out Aaron Roberts, and Adam Hills grounded out to short to end the inning.

It took a bounce off the first base bag to do it, but the Salukis have trimmed Wichita's lead to two as we start the eighth.

MVC: Shockers Build Lead, Schedule Changes

Wichita State has come out sharp after the rain delay. While Kyle Touchatt pitched a shutout inning on the Salukis, the Shockers started hot in the top of the seventh against new SIU pitcher Jordan Powell. Tyler Hill hit a bouncing single up the middle to open the inning, and advanced to third on a Tyler Weber grounder that was booted by Saluki 2B Scott Elmendorf. Dusty Coleman scored Hill on a grounder to third that resulted only in Weber being thrown out at second. Andy Dirks then singled to left, moving Coleman to second, and he would score on another single to left by Matt Brown.

At this point, SIU Coach Dan Callahan had seen enough, and he yanked Powell ou, replacing him with RHP Ian Reinhart. Reinhart managed to get the final out, but the damage had been done, and the fans dressed in yellow and black couldn't be happier about it.

SIU needs to make a rally, and fast, as Wichita State now leads 4-1 at the seventh inning stretch.

Also, a schedule change. Missouri State and Evansville will be the next game, with Creighton and Bradley as the nightcap. This was done to ensure that the big MSU fan base wouldn't have to show up so late.

MVC: After Three Hours, PLAY BALL!

After a three hour (and five minute) rain delay, we are back to playing baseball here in Springfield!!!!!

The new Shocker pitcher is RHP Kyle Touchett. He'll face the heart of the Saluki order as we get set to start the bottom of the sixth inning, with Wichita State up 2-1 on Southern Illinois.

What a rain delay...I hope no one else goes through a delay like this one.

MVC: Uh Oh...Tarp is Back On Again

More updates from Springfield...

The delay has reached 2 1/2 hours, and to the dismay of all the writers, the tarp is back on the field here in Springfield.


This is going to be one LOOOONNNNNNNG night!

The teams have both been relocated to the University Plaza Hotel (one block away), and are awaiting word to get back on the bus and get back to playing ball. Take that back, we're ALL waiting on that word, especially now that the Cardinals game is over (St. Louis wins 3-1) and everyone has to find something new to do.

I took a trip down to the concourse, but fans were scarce. Even they've gone back to the hotel to wait out the weather.

More to come, I promise. Really, something's going to happen. I hope.

MVC: Still Delayed, but Tarp Pulled

Giving a quick update here at the Missouri Valley Tournament...

We're still under a rain delay here in the first game, with Wichita State holding a 2-1 lead over Southern Illinois in the middle of the sixth inning. The delay started at 12:38 CDT, and now, we've gone two hours under delay here in Springfield.

The rain stopped a few minutes ago, and the tarp was pulled, so we're hoping baseball starts really quickly. Right now, this game has a projected finishing time of 4:00. That'll mean the second game will start at 5, and the third at 9, meaning that, if we keep on schedule, we'll finish up at midnight here at Hammons Field.

Right now, all of us in the press box have been talking about the latest RPI rankings, and how much they baffle us. What's surprising is that two teams that finished fifth in conference play (Ole Miss and Texas A&M) are ranked in the Top 15 RPI-wise. Larry Templeton, an explanation please?

No sign of the teams (or fans) just yet, but we expect both to find their way back momentarily. We'll have more from Springfield, as we're hoping to get started pretty soon.

MVC: Mascots 101

With the rain coming down in torrents in Springfield, I figured it was time to get a deeper look at the mascots of the teams playing, since they are some of the most unique in college athletics.

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MVC: Rain, Rain Go Away

We're under a rain delay as we've reached the middle of the sixth here at Hammons Field. The grounds crew is rolling out the tarps, and the fans are seeking refuge under the giant concourse.

Meanwhile, the Shox regained the lead, as Derek Schermerhorn was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He advanced to third on a sizzling grounder by Matt Brown that got past the glove of SS Tyler Lairson, and scored on a fielder's choice by Conor Gillaspie. The Shocks needed to answer the SIU run in the bottom of the fourth, and though it's only a 2-1 game, Stephenson has to be happy with the way his team responded.

Tarp is on the field, so we'll be here for awhile. 2-1 Wichita in the middle of the sixth.

MVC: SIU Ties It Up

Two plays not only summed up the fifth inning; they have set the story for this game. The first play was the fantastic catch by SIU RF Aaron Roberts that robbed Wichita of two runs. The second was a loop single by Roberts that was misplayed by Shocker RF Matt Brown, allowing Kevin Koski to score all the way from first base to tie the game at one apiece.

We're still playing as we head to the sixth, but oh man, the rain is definitely approaching.

MVC: Catch of the Day

It looked like Wichita State was going to break things open in the top of the fifth, as they had Tyler Hill on third base, Tyler Weber on second base, and Andy Dirks sent a bomb to right center that had two-run double written all over it. However, SIU's Aaron Roberts, sprinting towards the ball, made a leaping, one-handed catch that robbed Dirks of his first hit of the tournament, and Wichita State of a three run lead.

Instead, Musgrave will trot back on the mound for the Shockers, clinging to a 1-0 lead. This might be the last inning played for awhile though, as rain clouds are rolling into the Springfield area.

MVC: Gillaspie Break Scoreless Game

It's been a long time coming, given how the first day went in this tournament, but we have our first run of the day. It happened in the top of the fourth, as WSU 3B Conor Gillaspie sent a high fly ball to left center that, with the help of a brisk wind blowing out, bounced off the top of the wall and over the Cox Health sign, bringing a roar from the mass of fans in gold along the first base line, and giving the Shox a 1-0 lead.

It's the first home run for Gillaspie since April 8, 2007 (vs. Creighton). He's got six on the year for the Shockers this season, which ties him for third best on the team.

SIU hopes to answer in the bottom of the fourth, as Rob Musgrave attempts to hold on to his one-run cushion.

MVC: All Eyes on Gene

With one out in the bottom of the third, SIU sent Kevin Koski from first in an attempt to steal on a 3-2 pitch. Koski beat the throw with ease, but the umpire never made a call at home as to whether the pitch was a ball or strike, so Saluki RF Aaron Roberts was still at the plate waiting. The umpire then ruled the last pitch a ball, sending Roberts to first and sending Gene Stephenson out of the dugout.

The moment Stephenson stepped out, the entire press box jumped out of their chairs and on their feet, watching every move. The WSU Coach didn't explode; he merely chatted with the umpire briefly before heading back. However, any move Stephenson makes is big news with the media. I've never covered a game where everyone in the press box rose to their feet on the move of one coach. Because of that drama, I'm guessing everyone except the SIU beat writer sitting next to me is rooting for the Shockers right now.

It's still scoreless though after three, as SIU threatened in the bottom half of the third, putting runners at the corners. However, Rob Musgrave got cleanup hitter Mark Kelly to ground out to short, ending the Saluki threat.

Defense...a new twist to this tournament.

MVC: Moving Along Quickly

Wichita's Rob Musgrave and SIU's Cody Adams are moving along very efficiently, and after two innings of play, we're still scoreless here in Springfield. Both teams have only mustered one hit, and only one player has reached scoring position. That happened in the top of the second, when WSU 2B Josh Workman singled, and then stole second with two outs. The Shockers couldn't get him home, though, as Tyler Hill grounded out to third to snuff out the threat.

I really like the control of both pitchers right now. Adams isn't throwing anything fast, but he's really working the corners and forcing a lot of ground balls from the Shockers, as they are having trouble getting the meat of the bat on the ball. Meanwhile, Musgrave's breaking stuff is terrific, and the Salukis are swinging wildly so far in their attempts to get a piece of it.

Wichita's fans are in full force behind the first base dugout. The Shockers have a nice-sized contingent traveling with them this week. The Salukis can't say the same, as their fan base can best be described as a smattering.

Shockers still batting in the top of the third, 0-0.

MVC: Shockers and Salukis Ready to Go

We're set to go here at Hammons Field, as Wichita State and Southern Illinois try to escape elimination this morning in the first game of today's session. The lineups have been announced, the national anthem has been played, and both teams are huddled by their dugouts, ready to get started.

Continue reading "MVC: Shockers and Salukis Ready to Go" »

MVC: Warming Up for Day Two

It's a cool, cloudy morning at Hammons Field here in Springfield, Missouri, as we begin the second day of action. Today, at least one team goes home, and if Missouri State has anything to say about it, two might be exiting the tournament by the time we wrap things up tonight.

Continue reading "MVC: Warming Up for Day Two" »

MVC: Wrapping Up Day One

The first day of the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament has come to a close, and here are some highlights (and lowlights) from today's action at Hammons Field in Springfield.

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MVC: Stephenson GOES OFF During Presser

Everyone knew that Gene Stephenson was not a happy man following Missouri State's upset of Wichita State, but we didn't know just how mad he really was. The post-game press conference told the story, as the Shocker coach went off in front of a somewhat stunned media.

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May 23, 2007

MVC: Upset, thy name is Missouri State

You want to talk about upsets tonight? How about a team who finished dead last in their conference, only to qualify for their conference tournament because they're hosting it, going out and shutting down the top seed.

Missouri State did just that tonight. Wichita State could not muster anything in the ninth, and with fans still on their feet cheering and screaming, the Bears have stunned just about everyone in the Missouri Valley tonight, beating the Wichita State Shockers 5-2.

The Bears are still on the field, and lots of hugs and high fives are going out. Meanwhile, the Wichita State team is huddled inside their dugout, and no doubt Gene Stephenson is giving them a piece of his mind.

Missouri State (23-32) will face Evansville tomorrow night in the nightcap, while Wichita State has to bounce back in a hurry, as they play Southern Illinois in an elimination game at 11:00 tomorrow morning.

WP - Buddy Braumann (1-3)
LP - Travis Banwart (9-5)

More to come, including a wrap-up of today's action, as we continue here from Springfield.

MVC: Bears Three Outs Away

What a surprise we have here tonight in Springfield.

It looked for a second that Wichita State would make a rally, as Derek Schermerhorn was walked, Buddy Braumann was replaced by Tim Clubb, and Damon Sublett was walked immediately after to put the tying run at the plate with no outs. However, Clubb answered in style, striking out the next three batters and sending the crowd into bedlam, as Missouri State heads to the ninth with a 5-2 lead on the Shockers.

It seems as if WSU is trying TOO hard. The last two batters of the inning, Tyler Weber and Matt Brown, were swinging for the skies, trying to tie the game on one swing. That's not the way Wichita State plays, or wins, games. Everything's just going right for the hometown team, and right now Southern Illinois is shaking their heads at the thought of taking on the Shox this early.

Can Wichita pull off a comeback, or do the Bears send ripples throughout the Midwest with this upset?

MVC: Braumann Gets Out of Jam

Wichita State tried to spark a two out rally in the bottom of the seventh, but Andy Dirks whiffed hard on a fastball from MSU's Buddy Braumann, and we head to the eighth inning with Missouri State leading 5-2 over the Shockers.

Missouri State's crowd is getting louder and louder with every out. They sense what everyone else is sensing right now: something is different about this Bears ballclub. They're playing mistake-free baseball right now, and it's got everyone in a state of shock (some more pleased than others).

Wichita has made a pitching change, going with RHP Andy Womack (3-1, 2.55 ERA). He'll try to hold the Bears at bay, while his teammates try to stage a comeback. MSU is just six outs away from a huge morale-boosting upset.

MVC: Bears Rolling, Wichita Stunned

We have a standing ovation going on right now from the thousands of Missouri State fans who are rocking Hammons Field at the moment. The Bears have given their fans plenty to cheer about, as Tanner Mattson hit a bases loaded single to center off of WSU pitcher Noah Booth, and after 5 1/2, it's the #6 seed Bears with a 5-2 lead on the Shockers.

The question now is if Wichita can come back. Braumann is in a groove for the Bears right now, and the Shox have to get runners on base, or else we could have a huge upset on our hands in Springfield.

We'll see what happens, as the top of the Wichita order is set to face Detwiler and the Bears.

MVC: Upset Alert? Missouri State Takes Lead

Travis Banwart has been avoiding jams for most of the game, but he couldn't get out of this pickle, and Gene Stephenson has sent him to the showers, as Missouri State has just taken a 3-2 lead over the #1 seed Shockers.

Josh Mazzola and Matt Lawson singled to open the inning, and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Brayden Drake. Kyle Paul then stepped up and looped a single into center field, scoring Mazzola from third and setting off a wild celebration amongst the hometown faithful, while the large contingent of Shocker fans sit in silence.

No one predicted this one. Missouri State, a team that's 22-32 on the year, a team that got swept with ease by the Shockers earlier in the season, has the lead, and with runners at the corners and only one out, could extend their margin. The Shockers have replaced Banwart with LHP Noah Booth (6-1, 1.02 ERA).

Gotta love postseason baseball!

MVC: Missouri State Ties It Up

This was going to be the marquis matchup of the night. Halfway home, it's lived up to its billing.

Missouri State played their own version of smallball in the top of the fifth, as Ben Carlson walked, and Ben Woodbury advanced him to second on a bunt, but Woodbury beat the throw to first, sending the maroon clad Bear fans into hysteria. Tanner Mattson laid down a perfect sac bunt down the third base line to advance both runners, and Nolan Keane's grounder to second scored Carlson to knot this game up at 2-2.

Freshman Buddy Braumann has found a groove, as he's yet to allow a hit, and it's become a real pitcher's duel as we head to the bottom of the fifth. The Shocks need to start hitting, especially with the momentum on MSU's side.

MVC: Crisis Averted for Banwart

I give credit to Missouri State so far. They've played scrappy, and they're making WSU pitcher Travis Banwart work the count for all its worth. The Bears got a single from Josh Mazzola to start the top of the fourth and were able to advance him to third base, but couldn't get him home, as Banwart struck out Kyle Paul on a 2-2 fastball.

With the game being this close, the fans are really getting into it, which has been fun to watch. The MSU fans are either clapping or heaping piles of grief on the poor home plate umpire (who so far has called a good game), while the Shocker fans are waving signs, banging tambourines, and waving gold rally rags with every good Shocker play. It's a very good atmosphere to close out the day's proceedings here at Hammons Field.

Shox up to bat in the bottom of the fourth. They've been outhit 5-4, but they're leading Missouri State 2-1.

MVC: Bears on the Board

Missouri State answered the Shox in the top of the third, as Kyle Paul tripled off of the center wall, and scored easily on a single by Ben Carlson. Not bad for the 8-9 guys in the lineup!

It's finally cooling outside here in Springfield, which has got to help out the players. It's been hot most of the day, and there was cold Budweiser Select in the media hospitality room. As good as that sounded though, I opted for the Nestle Premium Drinking Water, which has been just as refreshing (Plus, no way am I drinking on the job!).

I'll take one for when I get back to the hotel though. After all, who am I to pass up on free beer?

2-1 Shockers as they bat in the bottom of the third.

MVC: Shocker Smallball

Missouri Valley teams are used to playing smallball, and Wichita executed it for a run in the bottom of the second. After Ross Detwiler walked Dusty Coleman on a 3-2 pitch, Blake Hurlbutt laid a sacrifice bunt to advance Coleman to second, and Andy Dirks pushed him to third on a fielder's choice grounder to short. Derek Schermerhorn then doubled down the left field line, scoring Coleman.

Missouri State got out of the inning thanks in part to a play at the plate. Damon Sublett singled to right, but Bears RF Nolan Keane threw a perfect relay home, giving Kyle Paul plenty of time to tag Schermerhorn at home.

2-0 Shockers as we head to the third.

MVC: Detwiler struggles, Shox Draw First Blood

Ross Detwiler is going to be a rich man in a couple of months, as some prospects have ranked him as high as the #2 overall pick in this year's MLB Draft. But tonight, Detwiler's had trouble controlling his curve and his offspeed pitches, and Wichita State took advantage of it in the first.

Continue reading "MVC: Detwiler struggles, Shox Draw First Blood" »

MVC: Getting Set for the Main Event

We are 20 minutes away from the game that everyone's been waiting for: Gene Stephenson's top-ranked Wichita State Shockers, regular season champions of the Missouri Valley, take on Keith Guttin's sixth-seeded and homestanding Missouri State Bears. It's the team favorite against the crowd favorite, and it should make for one fun night of baseball here at Hammons Field.

Continue reading "MVC: Getting Set for the Main Event" »

MVC: Bradley Relishing Hot Streak

Bradley has been a streaky team all year, but right now, they're on a winning streak, and for Braves Coach Dewey Kalmer, things couldn't be going better for his team, as they thumped Evansville 8-4 in our second game here at Hammons Field in Springfield.

Continue reading "MVC: Bradley Relishing Hot Streak" »

MVC: Bradley Wins With Ease, 8-4

Evansville could never overcome the six runs that Bradley scored in the third inning, and the Braves cruised to a relatively easy 8-4 win over the Purple Aces here at Hammons Field.

Bradley moves to 31-19 on the season, and they'll take on Creighton tomorrow afternoon in the second game of a three-game session. Evansville falls to 34-22, and as this is a six-team tournament, the Aces will try to stave off elimination against the winner of the Missouri State-Wichita State game, which will start tonight at 7pm.

WP - Michael Christl (6-6)
LP - Kai Tuomi (10-3)

We'll be back with more as coverage of the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament continues here at

MVC: Another One-Run Inning for the Aces

You've got to give credit to Evansville. The Purple Aces took a beating in the first three innings and have refused to give up, fighting back slowly but surely. However, they wasted a huge opportunity in the top of the seventh.

Continue reading "MVC: Another One-Run Inning for the Aces" »

MVC: Evansville Slowly Chipping Away

Take away that six-run inning Bradley had in the third, and this would be a ballgame. Evansville is trying to claw back, but it's been a slow process for the Purple Aces. They started off well in the top of the sixth, though, as Kern Watts opened the inning with a triple that bounced off the center field wall. He would score on Jeff Zelenovich's single to right, and the Bradley lead was cut to 8-3.

However, Evansville could do nothing more afterwards, as Troy Krider struck out, and Andy Smith grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Purple Aces have got to get a serious rally going, because these one run innings won't be enough to win.

MVC: Evansville Gets One Back

They've got a long ways to go, and a short time to get there, but Evansville picked up a run in the top of the fourth thanks to a shot to left center by 3B Andy Smith, cutting the Bradley lead to 8-2.

Meanwhile, the FAA has reported that their radar has spotted the ball hit by Paul Malinowski in the second. It's currently at an altitude of 1,100 feet, and is traveling northeast at 35 miles per hour, headed towards Rolla, Missouri. We'll let you know when the ball has finally landed.

MVC: Red-Hot Braves Explode in Third

What was supposed to be a close game between the #3 and #4 seeds has turned into a rout, as the Bradley Braves are making this game look like batting practice here in Springfield, much to the dismay of the Evansville fans who've traveled quite a ways to be here today.

Continue reading "MVC: Red-Hot Braves Explode in Third" »

MVC: In-and-Out Wireless...Braves Jump Ahead

I apologize for not much coming from here, as we're having wireless troubles here in Springfield.

Anyways, Bradley drew first blood in the bottom of the second, as Peter Malinowski hit a two-run missile to left field that still hasn't come down yet, bringing the first tomahawk chops of the game. Evansville would answer in the top of the third, as Pat Tumilty singled to right to score a flying Jim Viscomi from second base, making it a 2-1 game. Bradley, though, would get that run back on one pitch, as SS Dan Brewer took the first pitch of the inning from Kai Tuomi and laced it over the wall in left center to give the Braves a 3-1 lead.

It's still 3-1 Bradley, as Paul Rice sits on second and Ryan Curry on first with no outs. Kai Tuomi's having a lot of trouble here in the bottom of the third...much like the wireless situation at Hammons Field.

MVC: Defense Starts Game Two

In the first game, we had an offensive explosion to start things off, as seven combined runs were scored in the first two innings. However, it's been all defense so far in this one, including a terrific play by Bradley RF Colby Luttrell.

Continue reading "MVC: Defense Starts Game Two" »

MVC: Defense Starts Game Two

In the first game, we had an offensive explosion to start things off, as seven combined runs were scored in the first two innings. However, it's been all defense so far in this one, including a terrific play by Bradley RF Colby Luttrell.

Continue reading "MVC: Defense Starts Game Two" »

MVC: Getting Set for Game Two

We are about 10 minutes away from the first pitch between the #3 Bradley Braves and the #4 Evansville Aces as we continue with first round play in the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament. The winner will take on Creighton, who just finished winning the opening matchup of the day.

Continue reading "MVC: Getting Set for Game Two" »

MVC: Post-Game Thoughts

Creighton beats Southern Illinois 8-5 in the first game of the Missouri Valley Tournament, and both coaches were vocal in their praise for CU pitcher Pat Venditte, who was clearly the best player on the field today.

Continue reading "MVC: Post-Game Thoughts" »

MVC: Game One to the Bluejays

SIU's woes continued in the ninth. Even though Dean Cadematori singled to left to finally end the SIU slump, he trotted too far towards second on a shallow fly to center by Kevin Koski, and Creighton LF Andrew Small fired a perfect throw back to Darin Ruf for a 7-3 double play to end the game.

Creighton wins it 8-5 and advances to face the winner of Bradley and Evansville, which is coming up next here at Hammons Field. First pitch between the Braves and Aces is set for 3:00pm.

WP - Pat Venditte (8-2)
LP - Daniel Wells (2-3)

More to come from Springfield as the 2007 Missouri Valley Tournament continues!

MVC: Creighton Gets Insurance

For the opening inning and a half, SIU could do no wrong. Now, it seems as if they can do no right.

With their offense barely registering a pulse, the Salukis have stumbled here in the eighth defensively, as Creighton recorded three straight singles, then followed with a routine ground ball by Steve Winklemann that the second baseman couldn't handle, and then when he did, threw it wild past first base.

That was bad, but what makes it worse is that Andrew Small had rounded third too hard and had fallen down, so he was a deer in the headlights as long as SIU held on to the ball. The error though gave Small the chance to get back up and score, making it an 8-5 game, and giving Southern Illinois a deep hole to work out of in very little time.

MVC: Venditte Mowing 'Em Down

With Creighton up 6-5, the question now is if Southern Illinois can even get a runner on base against Bluejay hurler Pat Venditte. He stands to be the winning pitcher right now, as he's faced 14 batters and retired every single one of them.

The Salukis send RHP Ian Rhinehart to the mound now, replacing Jordan Powell. Rhinehart is the fourth pitcher of the day for SIU.

It's been all Venditte though in the late innings, and Creighton is looking for insurance in the eighth, as they're three outs away from claiming the first game here in Springfield.

MVC: Question Asked, Question Answered

In my last post, I asked if Creighton could muster up any cushion for LHP/RHP Pat Venditte, who has pitched 2.2 innings of perfect ball for the Jays. Creighton responded, loading the bases up with no outs, and forcing SIU coach Dan Callahan to replace Daniel Wells on the mound with RHP Jordan Powell. Powell got Andrew Small to pop up to shallow center, but Ross Sinclair, tagging from third, beat the throw home to give Creighton their first lead of the game at 6-5.

The Creighton bench, as well as their fans, are starting to get a little noisy here in Springfield, while the SIU bench looks deflated, and somewhat stunned, by the events of the last four innings.

6-5 Jays as we head to the seventh.

MVC: Switch Pitcher On Fire

I still can't get over Creighton's LHP/RHP Pat Venditte...what a weapon for the Bluejays.

Since Venditte came into the game, he's gone 2.2 innings, retiring all eight batters he's faced. Southern Illinois can't make solid contact against Venditte, where beforehand, they were spraying the ball all over Hammons Field. The question now is if Creighton can provide any cushion for their ambidextrous star.

MVC: From Joy to Oy! CU Ties It

Creighton finally got the best of Shawn Joy.

Joy walked Darin Ruf on four straight pitches to open the bottom of the fifth. Andrew Small then hit a high bouncer down the third base line that bounced over Lou Johanns's head and into left field for a double, sparking action in the Saluki bullpen. Then, in the biggest cheer of the day, Steve Winklemann blooped a single into right center field to score Ruf and Small, tying the game at five apiece.

SIU took Joy out, replacing him with LHP Daniel Wells. Joy had a five-run cushion that just didn't hold up, and the book isn't closed on him just yet.

MVC: Joy Saves Himself Again

Creighton's got to be shaking their heads at the way Southern Illinois pitcher Shawn Joy has pulled himself out of bases loaded jams. Last inning, he did it with a strikeout. This inning, with one out, he got Chris Gradoville to hit a ground ball right back to him. Joy threw to home for one, and Mark Kelly fired the ball to first to get Gradoville and complete the 1-2-3 double play.

5-3 Salukis as we head to the top of the fifth.

MVC: The Switch Pitcher Is In

SIU started the fourth on a Kevin Koski single (Koski has reached base in all three at-bats so far). Aaron Roberts sacrificed him to second, and that was enough for Bluejay coach Ed Servais. Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous pitcher for Creighton, has entered the game, and is pitching as a southpaw right now.

Venditte's glove, by the way, is a double-webbed monster piece of cowhide. It's definitely cool to see though.

Just like that, Venditte gets Adam Hills out, and switches hands to pitch to Mark Kelly as a righty. Man, what a weapon for Creighton.

Still 5-3 Salukis, but Koski is sitting on third.

MVC: Joy Survives Jam, but CU Inching Closer

With the bases loaded, SIU pitcher Shawn Joy managed to strike out Creighton's Steve Winklemann on a nasty breaking pitch, but CU got a run thanks to Saluki errors. Ross Sinclair reached on a bunt that would've gone foul, but Saluki catcher Mark Kelly grabbed it before it crossed the line. Chris Gradoville singled off the shortstop's foot (could've been called an error, but they call it a hit here), and then both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Darin Ruf was walked to load the bases, and Andrew Small sent a long fly to deep center to score Sinclair.

SIU is up, but Creighton has definitely awakened from their sleepwalk of the first two innings. It's 5-3 Salukis as we head to the fourth.

MVC: Creighton Strikes Back

Creighton desperately needed to find a way into this game, and SS Chad Ogden was able to do just that. With a runner on first and two outs, Ogden sent a lunar probe towards the left center power alley that found its way into the bullpen, putting the Bluejays on the board.

Continue reading "MVC: Creighton Strikes Back" »

MVC: Not-So-Early Birds

Southern Illinois continues to do damage in the second on CU's Marc Lewis.

With one out, Lou Johanns hit a screaming liner into right field to get the Salukis going. Kevin Koski singled right under the pitcher's legs and into center field, putting runners at first and second. After Aaron Roberts moved the runners up, Adam Hills hit a scorching double down the left field line, scoring both Johanns and Koski. Mark Kelly then followed with a single to left that got under the glove of Bluejay LF Andrew Small. Kelly ended up at second, and Hills scored with ease, giving SIU a 5-0 lead.

It ends a very quick day for Lewis, as RHP Jimmy Swift has come in for Creighton. We're still in the second, but SIU is just taking it to the Jays early. I don't think Creighton's fully awake just yet either, as they're reacting slow to every ball hit by the Salukis. They better wake up soon, or else this is going to get even uglier.

MVC: Salukis Show Bite Early

It didn't take long at all to get the scoring started here in Springfield.

After SIU's Kevin Koski reached base on a fielding error by Creighton's Michael Lam, Aaron Roberts laid down a sac bunt to move him to second (that he almost beat), and Adam Hills singled up the middle to bring Koski home. Mark Kelly, who was batting .384 before the day started, also singled up the middle, bringing up Scott Elmendorf. Elmendorf hit a high fly to deep right that should've been caught, but Bluejay RF Ross Sinclair lost it in the sun, and it bounced out of his glove, sending Kelly to second and scoring Hills.

CU pitcher Marc Lewis would strike out the next two batters, but the damage has been done early. It's 2-0 Southern Illinois, with the Bluejays coming to bat in the bottom of the first.

MVC: Ready to Go

Good morning from a beautiful sun-drenched Hammons Field in the heart of downtown Springfield, Missouri for the first day of the 2007 ConAgra Missouri Valley Baseball Tournament! We are about 25 minutes away from the opening game of today's session, which features the #2 seed Creighton Bluejays and the #5 Southern Illinois Salukis.

We were hoping for at least a decent crowd, but today's attendance for now can only be called a smattering. And by a smattering, I mean 40 people right now (I counted). Nevertheless, we expect some great baseball this morning, so here's a quick preview of the first game.

Continue reading "MVC: Ready to Go" »

May 22, 2007

MVC: Showdown In Springfield

In mid-February, the nine schools of the Missouri Valley Conference took to the diamond with aspirations of getting on the road to Omaha. The dream still exists for six of these teams, who will converge on Hammons Field in the heart of Springfield, Mo. for the 2007 ConAgra Missouri Valley Baseball Tournament.

Continue reading "MVC: Showdown In Springfield" »

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