Friday, May 18, 2012
Sports News

Redbirds hold off Evansville for 30th win

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[May 18, 2012]  EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Illinois State closer Kenny Long held Evansville scoreless through the final 2 2-3 innings to preserve a 5-4 Redbird victory Thursday evening at Braun Stadium. ISU improved to 30-16 (9-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference) to earn its third consecutive 30-win season for the first time in program history. The Purple Aces fell to 30-24 (9-10).

"We faced good starting pitching tonight and a team that can really play defense," said Redbird head coach Mark Kingston. "We got just enough clutch hits, Chris Razo was very good, and Justin Hauer and Long did what they've done all season to close the game out."

Razo (6-4) earned the victory after pitching 5 1-3 innings with three strikeouts, three walks and three earned runs allowed. Hauer gave up one earned run in one inning, and Long pitched the final 2 2-3 frames without allowing a run while striking out three to earn his 13th save of the season. Six Redbirds collected two hits in the balanced scoring effort. Meanwhile, Evansville starting pitcher Cole Isom (2-8) suffered the loss after throwing six innings, giving up five earned runs with one strikeout.

Evansville took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, with a two-RBI single by Trentt Copeland. But the Redbirds responded in the third, as Mike Hollenbeck walked and later scored on a Ty Wiesemeyer groundout. Illinois State took the lead in the fourth with a two-RBI single by Hollenbeck, followed by a Brett Kay single to drive in Eric Aguilera. Then in the sixth, Zac Johnson led off the inning with a double and scored when Aguilera reached on a fielder's choice to take a 5-2 lead.

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The Purple Aces pulled within 5-4 after scoring one run in the sixth and one in the seventh. However, Illinois State's bullpen teamed up to shut out Evansville through the final two innings to secure the win.

The Redbirds will play the second game of the series Friday at 6 p.m., with Dylan Craig scheduled to make the start for ISU.

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

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