Sunday's box score
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Wichita State041 000 003 — 8 Creighton020 000 500 — 7
E — Davidson, Jones. DP — WSU, Creighton. LOB — WSU 7, Creighton 6. 2B — Springer 2 (16), Bennett (9), Harbutz (6). 3B — Bascue (1). HR — Vitale (6). S — Dike. SB — Hall (19).
Hoch W,2-12 2/3100041.86
Winkelman L,2-21 1/3533004.85
WP — Lackovic. Balk — Koenigstein. Umpires — home, Tim Catton; first, Grady Smith; third, Dave Condon. T — 2:45. A — 421.
Not down or out
If Illinois State holds off WSU to win its first MVC title, the Redbirds will credit their knack for comebacks.
Saturday, the Redbirds won at Missouri State after trailing 7-1 entering the fourth inning. They scored six runs in the fourth on their way to an 11-9 win. On Friday, Illinois State trailed 5-3 early in the game. It won 7-5 on a two-run, two-out single in the eighth. The Redbirds completed the sweep with a 7-1 win on Sunday to remain a half-game ahead of WSU.
WSU finishes MVC play this weekend with Missouri State at home. Illinois State has six MVC games remaining.
The comeback craze started in mid April, when the Redbirds swept Southern Illinois with two wins in their final at-bat and a four-run eighth inning rally.
In a pinch
A week ago, WSU sophomore Chris O'Brien gave WSU a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning with a pinch-hit single off Illinois State closer Kenny Long.
That helped the Shockers win 5-1 and win the series. WSU coach Gene Stephenson saved him for that type of spot again on Sunday.
Again, O'Brien came through. His single moved Tyler Grimes to third to get WSU's ninth-inning rally going. O'Brien later scored the tying run.
"He has a great command of his mind," Stephenson said. "I knew he was going to give us a good at-bat."
No harm done
After the win, WSU outfielder Travis Bennett slapped Stephenson on the back and said "How about the three stooges?"
The stooges did all right on Sunday after putting the team in a difficult position Saturday.
Bennett, DH Preston Springer and second baseman Will Baez served a one-game suspension for violation of team rules. All three returned to their starting jobs on Sunday. Bennett drove in two runs and went 2 for 3. Baez walked twice and drove in a run. Springer went 3 for 5, scored the winning run and drove in his team-leading 54th run.
"I respect the coaches decision on that, and take full responsibility," Springer said. "It was a mistake that happened and it will never happen again."
WSU swept its first road series of the season and improved to 11-12 away from home and 8-4 in MVC road games.... Senior pitcher Logan Hoch has thrown 10 straight scoreless outings, the longest streak for a Shocker since reliever Damon Sublett went 26 straight in 2005 and 2006.... WSU has won six of seven in Omaha and nine of the past 10 in the series.... Creighton held Springer to two RBI in two games, one on a solo home run. Springer led off an inning four times and came up without a runner on base three times in 10 plate appearances.... WSU's Johnny Coy went 8 for 15 in the series and is hitting .349 in MVC games, tied for the team lead with O'Brien.... The Shockers will take today off and play a scrimmage game on Tuesday. They don't play a game until Missouri State visits Eck Stadium on Friday.
_ Paul Suellentrop