Monday, March 17, 2014
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Redbirds sweep doubleheader vs. Western Illinois, improve to 11-5

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[March 17, 2014]  NORMAL Illinois State (11-5, 0-0 Missouri Valley Conference) swept a nonconference doubleheader versus Western Illinois (1-13, 0-0 Summit League) Saturday afternoon at The Corn Crib in Normal. The Redbirds won the first game 11-2 and came from behind in the second game to earn a 5-3 victory. Illinois State is now a season-best six games over .500.

Game one recap

Dan Savas (5-0) allowed one earned run in six innings of work to win his fifth straight start this spring as Illinois State defeated Western Illinois 11-2 in game one of Saturday's doubleheader at The Corn Crib. Savas struck out six, walked three and allowed just two hits. He has now won 15 consecutive decisions, dating back to 2013. Jeremy Rhoades (3) worked three perfect relief innings for the save. Rhoades struck out six to secure his ninth career save. Aaron Michel (0-3) allowed three earned runs on five hits in five innings to suffer the loss.

Paul DeJong paced an 11-hit Illinois State attack and collected a career-high four hits, including two doubles, with two RBIs and two runs scored. Daniel Dwyer and Jack Czeszewski each added two hits, and Dylan Johnson added the first two RBIs of his Illinois State career in the win.

The Redbirds erased a 1-0 deficit in the second inning on a safety squeeze from Dennis Colon. Trailing 2-1 in the fifth, DeJong and Mike Hollenbeck knocked back-to-back run-scoring doubles to give Illinois State the lead for good. The Redbirds added seven runs on four hits in the seventh inning to put the game away.

Rhoades struck out the side on just nine pitches in the seventh inning and faced the minimum through three to finish off the win. The victory marked the 150th career win for Illinois State head coach Mark Kingston. Kingston became the fastest coach in school history to amass 150 career wins, needing just over four full seasons to reach that mark.

Game two recap

Mike Hollenbeck tallied a career-high four RBIs to help lift David Suarez (1-0) to his first collegiate victory in ISU's 5-3 win in game two Saturday versus Western Illinois. Suarez worked 2.2 innings and struck out a career-best six to earn the win. Dylan Craig allowed three earned runs in six innings of work and added six strikeouts for a no-decision. John White (0-1) did not record an out and suffered the loss for the Leathernecks.

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Paul DeJong reached base four times, including a stretch of eight straight plate appearances, dating back to game one, to help power the Illinois State offense. Hollenbeck had three hits and Sean Beesley added two hits for the Redbirds.

Hollenbeck lifted a two-run double down the left-field line to give ISU a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. Western Illinois rallied for four straight hits to open the third inning and scored three runs to lead 3-2 after three innings. The Redbirds tied the game 3-3 in the sixth inning before Hollenbeck added a two-run single in the seventh inning to give the Redbirds the lead for good.

Suarez entered a two-on, one-out tie game in the seventh inning and worked out of trouble to erase the threat. Suarez struck out two batters in the seventh inning, one batter in the eighth inning and fanned the side in the ninth to finish his first win as a Redbird.

The Redbirds return to action Tuesday with a pair of seven-inning games at SIUE in Edwardsville. Game one is slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch.

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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