News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

May 22, 2014

MVC Tournament: Redbirds feel right at home in Terre Haute

Illinois State advances to MVC championship game

TERRE HAUTE — It was a good year for the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament to be played in Terre Haute for Illinois State. They're the ISU that has felt right at home in the Sycamores' environs.

Illinois State stayed unbeaten in the MVC Tournament with a 6-1 victory over Wichita State. The Redbirds eliminated the Shockers and advanced to the MVC championship game for the second consecutive season.

Illinois State will play either Dallas Baptist or Missouri State at 8 p.m. Saturday. The Patriots and Bears will play at least one game on Friday to determine the other championship game representative.

Illinois State continued to feel right at home at Bob Warn Field. The Redbirds are 7-2 this season in Terre Haute. The Redbirds have won three in the tournament, beat Indiana State twice in March, and beat Bradley twice in a series played in Terre Haute in mid-March when Illinois State's home field was frozen.

"It felt like a negative early in the season when we had to give up a home series to come here, but maybe it's paying off? We feel comfortable here. It's a good park to hit in, it's a good playing surface, and our pitchers have been very comfortable on this mound," Illinois State Mark Kingston said.

Illinois State left fielder Daniel Dwyer, who was 3-for-4, was at a loss to explain the Redbirds' Terre Haute success.

"I don't know what it is. Some guys like playing on certain fields. We're comfortable here," Dwyer said.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that the Redbirds (33-21) are a quality team and it was hard to find any fault in an Illinois State performance where everything went to plan.

Illinois State put pressure on a taxed Wichita State pitching staff with early runs. But it was the yeoman's effort out of Stewart that set the tone.

"Tournaments are all about pitching and ours has been dominant. Brock was dominant. He gave up two hits. Once he settled in, he threw a ton of great pitches once he got command of his off-speed stuff," Kingston said.

Illinois State got to WSU starter Kris Gardner early. Jack Czeszewski singled and later scored in the first to get Gardner off-balance. WSU (31-28) answered in its half of the first when Daniel Kihle knocked in Casey Gillaspie with a single.

There was controversy however. On the previous at-bat, Chase Simpson hit a fly ball down the right field line. Right fiedler Czeszewski ranged far to his left to make a diving stab at it, but the ball fell out of his glove as he tried to haul it in. It was ruled foul by the umpiring crew, but replays indicated the ball landed fair.

Simpson later singled, but he would have had extra bases on the ball ruled foul. It squelched what could have been a bigger inning for the Shockers.

“[First base umpire Bret Bruington] said it was eight inches foul,” WSU coach Todd Butler said. “I couldn’t tell, because he gloved it. It’s not like he’s going to change the call. It was hard to tell.”

While that was WSU's best chance, Illinois State kept making chances of its own.

Logan Leverett tripled and scored in the second. He also drew a bases loaded walk in the third. A Joe Kelch RBI single in the third made it 4-1.

The Shockers never recovered. Insurance runs were added in the eighth on a two-run single by Dennis Colon.

"We couldn't get it to click late in the year. We met as a team late in the year and said, 'If we're going to do this, we're going to do it now.' When this team's going, we do our best," Dwyer said.

ILLINOIS STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Czeszewski rf 4-1-2-0, Dwyer lf 4-1-3-0, DeJong 3b 5-0-0-0, Hollenbeck c 5-1-1-0, Snyder 1b 3-0-1-0, Rodemoyer pr 0-1-0-0, Leverett dh 3-2-2-1, Kelch 2b 3-0-1-1, Colon ss 3-0-1-2, Beesley cf 4-0-1-0. TOTALS 34-6-12-4.

WICHITA STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Bayliff rf 4-0-0-0, Parker ss 4-0-0-0, Gillaspie 1b 3-1-0-0, Simpson 3b 4-0-1-0, Kihle cf 3-0-1-1, Baker c 4-0-0-0, Harbutz dh 3-0-0-0, Kirk 2b 3-0-0-0, Dearman lf 2-0-0-0. TOTALS 30-1-2-1.

Illinois State=112=000=020=--=6

Wichita State=100=000=000=--=1


E -- Kelch; Baker. DP -- WSU 3. LOB -- ILS 7, WSU 5. 3B -- Leverett; S -- Kelch. SB -- Kirk.

Illinois State

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


Stewart (W, 3-2)=7=2=1=1=1=8

Rhoades=2=0=0=0=1=3

Wichita State

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


Gardner (L, 2-5=2 2/3=4=4=3=3=1

Palmer=4 2/3=6=2=2=1=2

LaBrie=1 2/3=2=0=0=0=0

WP -- Gardner. HBP -- by Gardner (Dwyer); by Stewart (Kihle). T -- 2:04.

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