The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team's season came to an end on Saturday in the NCAA DII Midwest Regional. The second-seeded Prairie Stars fell to Maryville at UIS Baseball Field by a score of 5-4 in their second loss of the Regional Round and therefore did not advance.
Seventh-seeded Indianapolis defeated UIS in game one on Thursday, then took down the No. 3 seed Maryville twice to become the second-ever seventh seed to make the Super Regional. The Greyhounds are averaging 8.5 runs per game so far in the postseason after scoring eleven runs or more in every game of the Regional.
No. 16 UIS vs. Indianapolis (L, 10-11)
Regional play was off to a thrilling start when UIS and UIndy each scored three runs in the first inning of game one. Chad Saner went the first seven, striking out ten but allowing five runs in the first two innings. Saner held the Greyhounds scoreless over the next five as the Prairie Stars regained the lead.
UIS led 8-5 at the top of the eighth but a leadoff single by UIndy was followed by a double for the Greyhounds to cut into the lead.Two more singles put UIS behind by two. Asher Bradd and Brandon Bannon were walked before scoring on a double by Brant Vanaman in the bottom of the inning. The game would go on to remain tied over the next three innings and become an eleven-inning thriller closed by Ian Delleman. Delleman struck out two of the first three Greyhounds he faced in his only appearance of the weekend, but two of three Prairie Stars struck out in their turn at-bat in the 9th. It wasn't until the 11th inning that another run was scored after a single, groundout, walk, single sequence.
UIS left four on base in the final three innings, and UIndy took the win when Raul Ortega was tagged out at home plate as he made an attempt to tie the game 11-11.
The Maryville Saints and Ashland Eagles met that afternoon in a game that Maryville would take 5-2.
No. 16 UIS vs. Ashland (W, 10-2)
The Prairie Stars started off another day at 11 a.m. when they met Ashland in an elimination game Friday morning. Ryan Carmack made the start on the mound and would come away with his seventh win of the spring. He tallied up 142 pitchers, striking out nine over the first seven innings before Braden Roesch came in as the closer. Roesch struck out four in his appearance.
The UIS offense combined for 18 hits including four by Brandon Bannon and Three by Brant Vanaman. Another five Prairie Stars contributed two hits, and Vanaman, Raul Ortega, and Colton Klein had three RBIs apiece. From there, the Eagles were knocked out of the Regional.
Indianapolis defeated Maryville 14-5 in the afternoon game.
No. 16 UIS vs. No. 25 Maryville (L, 5-4)
In similar circumstances as the GLVC Tournament, UIS and Maryville met in an elimination game after being upset in the early games of the Tournament. GLVC Freshman of the Year Adam Brouwer took the start and struck out seven over seven and two-thirds innings.
UIS scored three runs in the 3rd before Maryville could respond to make it a 3-2 game. The Prairie Stars scored one more run in the 5th when Mike O'Conor scored on an error. UIS led through the top of the eighth before a three-run homer would put them in a tight situation with one more chance to hit. Brandon Bannon and Brant Vanaman grounded out and Mike O'Conor flied out as the Prairie Stars' season came to an end.
The Saints went on to fall 11-1 to a UIndy team that had not advanced to a Super Regional since 2016.
The Prairie Stars went 36-15 in the 2023 season and were second in the GLVC regular season. They held a spot in the NCBWA Top-25 Poll every week this season as Asher Bradd and Ryan Carmack held top rankings in individual statistics.