Resilient Redbirds Record Big Inning, Pick Up 12-5 Win over Indiana
Feb. 29, 2008
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Freshman Corey Maines hit his first-career home run, and freshman Ronnie Calvird tallied career-highs in hits (three) and RBI (two), as the Illinois State baseball team (2-2) rallied after losing a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning to defeat the Indiana Hoosiers (1-3), 12-5, Friday afternoon at Raymond C. Hand Park in the first game of the Austin Peay Invitational. The Redbirds came back to score five runs in the bottom of the sixth, after Indiana tied the game at 5-5 in the top half of the frame.
Junior Jim Sajewich (0-0, 3.60 ERA) was solid in first start since May 20, 2006, allowing two earned runs in five innings of work. The Wheaton, Ill., native was in control, walking only one and striking out three but did not record the decision, as senior Tyler Cox (1-0) threw 1.2 innings of relief to pick up the win.
The Redbirds had seven players record two or more hits, as Illinois State's first four batters combined to bat 9-for-18 in the game. Junior Mike Stalowy, Calvird, junior Kevin Dubler and sophomore Gabe DeMarco all had two or more hits at the top of the order. Maines, senior Kevin Konsler and redshirt sophomore Cole Marty all added two hits apiece in the six through eight spots in the lineup to spark the Redbird victory.
"I'm really proud of our kids because we didn't know if we were going to get the game in because of rain," said head coach Jim Brownlee. "I think that, up-and-down the lineup, we had some of the best at-bats that we had in a long time. We executed when we needed to and picked up a big win."
Stalowy got the Redbirds started in the bottom half of the first, leading off with a stand-up triple that fell over the head of the falling Hoosier centerfielder Andrew Means. Calvird followed with a single up the middle, plating Stalowy.
After Indiana knotted the game at 1-1, DeMarco quickly put the Redbirds back in the lead in the bottom half of the third after Dubler hit a double down the right field line with one out. The Rockford, Ill., native smacked his second double of the game, this time down the left field line, to score the Redbirds' catcher. After senior Kyle Cherney singled to right field, Maines gave ISU a 5-1 advantage on his first-career home run, a towering, three-run jack that easily cleared the 364 ft. mark on the right field wall.
IU cut into the Redbirds' lead in the top of the fifth, after Means recorded his third hit and his second triple of the game, and scored on a RBI groundout. The Hoosiers struck again in the top of the sixth, after Michael Early snuck a two-run double past Cherney's out-stretched glove at third base and down the left field line with one out, and Tyler Rogers hit an RBI sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5-5.
But Illinois State showed resiliency in the bottom of the sixth, as the 'Birds re-took the lead at 10-5. Konsler and Marty started the inning with back-to-back singles, and both scored on a single up the middle by freshman Kevin Tokarski. Stalowy and Calvird continued the hit parade with two more base hits, and Dubler brought Stalowy home on his third double of the season.
After the Hoosiers intentionally walked DeMarco to load the bases, Cherney hit a sacrifice fly deep to centerfield to plate Calvird. Dubler then stole home, after the Hoosier catcher threw to second as DeMarco broke for the base. Shortstop Evan Crawford bobbled the throw, allowing DeMarco to steal second as Dubler scored. The Redbirds scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, on a sacrifice fly from Stalowy and an RBI single from Calvird.
The Illinois State baseball team will play Valparaiso Saturday, in the second game of the Austin Peay Invitational. Sophomore Ryan Copeland (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will take the mound for the Redbirds, as first pitch is slated for 11 a.m. Fans can follow the action with live statistics, available on GoRedbirds.com.