"I'm glad that we got the big hits when we needed them today,"
said Redbird head coach Mark Kingston. "This team never gives up.
Even though we were down, we just kept getting after it, and then it
turned around for us."
With the win, ISU finished the regular season with a 31-17 overall
record and a 10-9 mark in the MVC. Illinois State finished fourth
in the Valley and clinched the No. 4 seed in the conference
tournament, hosted by Missouri
State in Springfield, Mo. Evansville finished 31-25 and 10-11 in the
Valley, and the Purple Aces received the No. 5 tournament seed.
Illinois State will face Evansville again Tuesday at 9 a.m.
at Hammons Field in the first game of the tournament.
Redbird reliever Jeremy Rhoades (4-3) pitched ISU to its
extra-inning victory Saturday afternoon. He threw five shutout
innings with four hits and one strikeout. Meanwhile, Evansville's
James Kohler (0-2) suffered the loss. Illinois State starter Brad Sorkin lasted the first 4
2-3 innings, allowing four runs on four
hits. Offensively, four Redbirds collected two hits.
After three scoreless innings, Evansville took a 2-0 lead in the
fourth. However, Illinois State responded with a four-run sixth
inning, consisting of an RBI single by Kyle Stanton, a walk drawn by
Mike Hollenbeck with the bases loaded to force in a run, a fielder's
choice hit into by Chad Hinshaw to drive in one, and a balk charged
to Evansville pitcher Jake Naumann to force home another run.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Evansville gained a 7-4 advantage
with five more runs. Following two ensuing shutout innings, the
Redbirds rallied in the ninth to tie the game. Matt Mirabal singled
with one out and scored on a groundout by Eric Aguilera. Kyle
Stanton followed with a walk to load the bases, and Hollenbeck
singled through the right side to plate two runs, tying the game
[to top of second column]
In the bottom of the ninth, Evansville loaded the bases with
just one out, but the Redbirds prevented the Purple Aces from
winning, as Wiesemeyer caught a fly ball hit to left field by
Trentt Copeland, and he threw out Jordan Chavis at the plate as
he attempted to score on Mirabal.
Following two more scoreless innings, Bryan Huff led off the
12th with a single up the middle. Huff then stole second base
and Wiesemeyer drove him home with a double to left. Rhoades and
the Redbirds did not allow Evansville to score in the bottom of
the 12th, as ISU held on to win its regular-season finale.
The Redbirds will begin play in the State Farm Missouri Valley
Conference Baseball Championship Tuesday at 9 a.m. against
Evansville, with live play-by-play audio available on
WJBC.com. Additionally, a live video stream
is scheduled to air on the Missouri Valley Conference website,
news release received from John Twork, graduate assistant,
athletics communications, Illinois State University]