Redbirds Drop Season Finale, 15-5

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[May 19, 2014]  NORMAL - Jack Czeszewski lifted a grand slam as part of a five-run fifth inning, but Illinois State (30-21, 10-11 MVC) dropped its season-finale 15-5 in seven innings to Wichita State (29-26, 13-8 MVC) Saturday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field. Illinois State will enter next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Championship as the five seed.

JD Learnard (1-3) suffered the defeat for Illinois State. He allowed three runs, only one of which were earned, in 1.2 innings. Fellow fifth-year senior Cam Verbeke pitched a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts in his final appearance at Duffy Bass Field. Kris Gardner (2-4) earned the win. He pitched 3.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.

Wichita State jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings and put the game away with a seven-run fifth inning. The Shockers added two more runs in the sixth inning to lead 15-0.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Brock Stewart drove a run-scoring single to score Paul DeJong. With the bases loaded, Czeszewski belted a grand slam over the fence in right field to make it 15-5. It marked the second grand slam this season for a Redbird batter, following DeJong’s slam against Illinois April 15.

The Redbirds close the 2014 regular season with an overall record of 30-21. It marks the fifth-consecutive 30-plus win season under fifth year head coach Mark Kingston. The Redbirds will play Wichita State in opening round action of the Valley Championship Tuesday in Terre Haute, Ind. We’ll post more information on the tournament once game times have been announced.

[Text received; RONAN O'SHEA, ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY] Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.

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