Redbirds' Season Ends with Shutout Against Wichita State
May 22, 2009
WICHITA, Kan. - Illinois State got the chance it wanted all week long, but not the result, as Wichita State shut out the Redbirds, 4-0, at Eck Stadium Friday to earn a berth in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship Game.
Wichita State starter Jordan Cooper struck out nine and scattered four hits over eight innings and Chance Sossamon pitched around a pair of base runners in the ninth to preserve the win. The Shockers (29-25) advance to Saturday's championship game at 7 p.m. against Creighton, while the Redbirds end their season 25-23 - the first winning season for Illinois State since 2001.
The Redbirds saved their best pitching for their intra-pod match-ups, throwing relievers Kyle Nelson and Kenny Long in the tournament's opening game against Missouri State Wednesday. The plan worked as Ryan Camp pitched Illinois State to a 7-3 win over Indiana State on Thursday and set up a winner-moves-on match-up with Wichita State.
Cooper retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and pitched with a lead throughout the entire game after the Shockers plated three runs in the second against Redbird starter Corey Maines.
Maines pitched well despite surrendering 10 hits. He flirted with disaster in the first inning after allowing the first two batters to reach, but induced a double play ball from Shocker clean-up batter Clint McKeever to escape. He wasn't so lucky in the second, as the first two batters reached again. Ryan Engrav singled in two runs and Cody Lassley drove in another before Maines struck out Will Baez to end the inning.
Maines allowed just two base runners in the third through fifth innings but three consecutive singles with one out in the sixth led to another Wichita State run. Jim Sajewich struck out three in two innings of relief.
Despite a dominant performance by Cooper, the Redbirds had multiple chances to score. Mike Stalowy and Evan Kohli knocked the first two hits of the game for Illinois State in the fourth but Kohli was caught in a run down and Stalowy was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.
In the fifth, Gabe DeMarco walked and Cole Marty followed with a single, but there were two outs and a ground out by Collin Salzenstein ended the inning. Illinois State got two more on in the seventh with two outs before a strikeout and the Birds had a pair of runners in the ninth before Sossamon settled in and closed the game.
Five different Redbirds collected single base hits. DeMarco reached in three of his four at-bats. Stalowy had a base hit and five assists defensively.