ISU Derek Parola photo from Valley tourney

Illinois State's  Derek Parola reacts after hitting an RBI double in the sixth inning early Thursday morning in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Springfield, Mo. Parola's hit gave the Redbirds the only run they needed in a 1-0 upset of the top-seeded Bears.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An RBI double from Derek Parola was all Brady Huffman and Jack Landwehr needed as the Illinois State baseball team stunned top seed and host Missouri State, 1-0, in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference early Thursday morning at Hammons Field.

Parola’s sixth-inning double was the difference in a game that started after 11 p.m. Wednesday because of a pair of delays in games earlier in the day.

Huffman pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six. Landwehr hurled the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save.

It was Illinois State’s second win in less than a week over Missouri State, which is ranked No. 12 nationally. No. 8 seed Illinois State (14-38) plays No. 5 seed Wichita State (28-28) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hammons Field.

“We had to play a perfect game and that’s what we did. You couldn’t play any better. We did everything we needed to do,” said ISU head coach Bo Durkac. “It’s just a great win for this team, so we’re excited, and no better team to do it against than the No. 1 seed at their home field.

“It was a long day today with multiple delays — I’ve never started a game at 11 o’clock at night — and we’re all dragging, but the good news is we all get to sleep in because we don’t have to play again until (Thursday) night.”

Huffman and Missouri State starter Doug Still dueled for the first five innings. ISU’s best scoring chance early on came in the fifth inning when Joe Butler and Nick Zouras had back-to-back two-out singles, but were left stranded when Noah Sadler lined out to left field.

The Redbirds scored in the next inning when Owen Miller singled prior to Parola's double.

Missouri State (37-16) threatened in the seventh, loading the bases against Huffman, but Landwehr struck out Hunter Steinmetz on three pitches to end the inning.

Landwehr retired the Bears in order in the eighth and worked around a two-out walk in the ninth.


Sports Editor

Sports Editor for The Pantagraph.

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