The Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year kept the Redbirds off the scoreboard for eight innings and the Valley Player of the Year staked the league's regular-season champs to an early lead as top-seeded Dallas Baptist earned a 9-5 win over No. 8 seed Illinois State Wednesday at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Bob Warn Field.
Dallas Baptist starter Colin Poche pitched eight shutout innings and MVC Player of the Year Darick Hall helped Dallas Baptist (38-17) to an early lead with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning as the top-seeded team advanced to a matchup with Southern Illinois (31-23-1) Thursday.
Illinois State (17-36) rallied late with five runs in the top of the ninth, chasing Dallas Baptist reliever Eric White, but Sean Stutzman came in and needed only one pitch to end the rally.
Owen Miller, Blake Molitor and Brian Rodemoyer registered two hits each for Illinois State. Starting pitcher Steve Heilenbach was saddled with the pitching loss after allowing five runs over the first five innings.
The Redbirds will return to Bob Warn Field to play No. 5 seed Evansville (27-26) in an elimination game Thursday morning at 8 a.m. CT.