Even though the Creighton baseball team is ranked No. 21 in the country by Baseball America, the Bluejays (18-7) have the same record in conference play as Illinois State (9-17).
Both teams bring 3-3 Missouri Valley marks into this weekend's three-game series at the CU Sports Complex in Omaha, Neb.
The Redbirds travel to Creighton with some momentum after defeating Iowa, 5-2, on Wednesday at Redbird Field.
"The win against Iowa was great for the team and the confidence they picked up could really benefit our play over the weekend," said ISU coach Jim Brownlee. "Momentum and confidence will prove to be key ingredients for this team's success and some wins this weekend could certainly help in both categories."
Senior outfielder Kris Jenkins has eight hits and four RBI in the last four games while raising his batting average from .186 to .241 over that span.
"Kris is the type of player that can really make us go and his competition level has grown tremendously in the past week or so," said Brownlee. "He has been getting clutch hits and making things happen on the bases with steals. I believe that will start to rub off on some of the other players who are not playing as well as they should be."
Junior Kitt Kopach (1-4, 2.70 ERA) will take the mound in the 3 p.m. opener today, but freshman starters Ian Berger and Jim Sajewich will flip their usual spots in the rotation with Sajewich (1-2, 5.65 ERA) scheduled to start in Saturday's 1 p.m. contest and Berger (2-4, 6.43 ERA) pitching in Sunday's 1 p.m. finale.
Gymnasts eye regional
Illinois State gymnasts Cheryl Berezan and Meaghan Koshman will make their NCAA Regional debuts at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fayetteville, Ark. Berezan will compete in the all-around and Koshman on the vault.
Koshman is ranked 16th in the South Central Region and Berezan 23rd.
n;"Cheryl is looking really good," said ISU coach Bob Conkling.n;"She banged her foot on the beam during practice, but that won't hurt her at all for the meet.n;She has cleaned up her routines, making her more solid and confident, so I think she'll perform really well.
"Koshman can beat her 9.850 vault with no problem. We have worked on some landing drills so that she sticks her landing.n; If she has a good vault she will score similar or higher than her 9.850."
Women's basketball banquet
Lone senior Holly Hallstrom and the rest of her teammates will be honored at the Illinois State Women's Basketball Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. April 20 in Redbird Arena.
Hallstrom became just the third player to average a double-double (14.0 points, 10.1 rebounds per game) while earning second-team all-Missouri Valley Conference honors. The Redbirds finished with a 12-16 record.
The banquet is open to the public. Tickets are $25 per person and reservations close April 14. For tickets, call the Redbird Women's Basketball Office at (309) 438-2567.