Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sports News

Illinois State surrenders early lead, falls to Illinois

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[April 18, 2012] CHAMPAIGN -- Despite an early 5-0 lead, Illinois State gave up seven unanswered runs, and Illinois beat the Redbirds 7-5 Tuesday evening at Illinois Field. ISU fell to 20-13, and the Fighting Illini improved to 19-16.

"Not a good enough performance by our team today," Illinois State head coach Mark Kingston said. "We got off to the 5-0 lead, but then I thought the quality of our at-bats started to disappear. We weren't good enough out of the bullpen and we have to be better than that."

Zac Johnson led Illinois State with a 2-for-3 effort, including three RBIs and one run scored. He belted a two-run home run in the first inning to put ISU ahead. Jeremy Rhoades (3-2) suffered the loss after giving up three runs on five hits and striking out four over 2 1-3 frames of relief. Illinois' Drasen Johnson (1-0) earned the win after pitching 5 1-3 shutout innings, with four strikeouts.

Ty Wiesemeyer collected the game's first hit with a one-out single in the first inning, and Johnson followed with a two-run homer over the left-field wall. The Redbirds extended their advantage in the second with three more runs. Mike Hollenbeck led off with a walk, and Matt Mirabal drove him home with a double. Later in the inning, Wiesemeyer walked with the bases loaded to force home Brett Kay. Then, a sacrifice fly by Johnson allowed Bryan Huff to score. After 1.5 innings, ISU led 5-0.

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But the Fighting Illini responded with two runs in the second and two more in the fourth to pull within 5-4. With two outs in the sixth inning, Willie Argo tied the game with an RBI single, and Justin Parr gave the Illini the lead with another RBI single. A final RBI single by Brandon Hohl lifted Illinois in front for good 7-5. The Illini pitching staff teamed up to hold the Redbirds scoreless, with just three hits through the final seven innings.

With Illinois State's four-game road stretch complete, the Redbirds return to Duffy Bass Field this weekend for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series against Bradley. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., with free admission to all games played at home this season.

[Text from news release received from John Twork, athletics communications, Illinois State University]

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