Four Errors Sink Redbirds, 5-2, in Finale at Memphis
Audio: Coach Kingston Postgame
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -Despite eight strike outs from Illinois State starter Dan Savas, the Redbirds (2-1) suffered a series-ending loss Sunday at Memphis (1-2), committing four errors in defeat. The Redbirds were limited to just three hits and did not draw a walk.
Savas allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits in 5.2 innings of work, striking out eight Tigers. He issued one walk and threw 90 pitches in the no-decision. Will Headean (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two unearned runs on one hit in one inning of work. Jon Reed (1-0) earned the victory in relief for Memphis, firing five scoreless innings with five strike outs. Jonathan Van Eaton (1) picked up his first save of the season, working a perfect ninth.
Memphis starter Alex Gunn worked three scoreless innings with one strike out and one walk, leaving the game after the third inning because of a strict pitch count. Vallandingham knocked the only hit off Gunn, a triple down the right field line with two outs in the Illinois State third.
Making his first appearance since 2011, Savas faced the minimum through three. In the fourth inning, Zac Johnson's error allowed Tigers leadoff hitter Zach Willis to reach. He moved to second on a walk to Carter White. RBI knocks from Bryce Beeler and Drew Griffin scored Willis and Carter to give Memphis an early 2-0 lead.
The Redbirds rallied for two runs off Reed in the fifth inning. Consecutive hits from Stanton and Hollenbeck opened the frame. Reed's errant pickoff throw sailed wide of first base, allowing Stanton to score while advancing Hollenbeck to third base. Hollenbeck would score on a sacrifice-fly from Brock Stewart, tying the game at 2-2. The Redbirds would not have a baserunner the rest of the game and Gunn retired the final 11 batters he faced.
Memphis added two runs in the seventh inning off Headean. Austin Hatfield drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a balk. Ford Wilson sacrificed Hatfield to third, drawing the Redbird infield in. Willis knocked a hard groundball at Johnson, who fired home to Hollenbeck to retire Hatfield. Willis, who reached on the fielder's choice, advanced from first to third on a two-base throwing error from Headean on an errant pickoff attempt. Tucker Tubbs then launched a RBI double off David Suarez to make it 4-2 Tigers. Memphis added an unearned run in the ninth inning off Jeremy Rhoades, on an inning kept alive following a throwing error from Joe Kelch.
Van Eaton worked a perfect ninth inning to end the game. The final 14 Illinois State batters were retired and Memphis registered six perfect innings.
Following the series-win over Memphis, Illinois State travels to Clarksvillle, Tenn. for a three-game series against Austin Peay, Feb. 22-24.
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.