McNeely Powers Redbirds To 6-2 Win Over APSU
March 18, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State senior left fielder Tyler McNeely was perfect at the plate in Friday's series opener against Austin Peay and hit an eighth-inning home run to cap off a 6-2 victory for the Redbirds (12-5) over Governors (8-8) at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.
McNeely went 4-for-4 with a pair of singles, a double, a home and four RBI while scoring three times to help the Redbirds win their second-straight game at home and their fifth in six games overall. Zach Amrein, Ryan Court and Matt Mirabal each added a pair of hits for ISU as well.
ISU starter Corey Maines improved to 3-0 on the season and was stellar in his first outing at home. The senior right-hander pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out six batters. Jake Wielebnicki pitched a scoreless eighth inning to drop his season ERA to 0.90 and Matt Werderitch gave up a run on three hits in the ninth, before getting out of a jam to preserve the win for the Redbirds. APSU starter Jack Snodgrass (0-2) suffered the loss, after allowing four runs on nine hits in seven innings on the mound.
Austin Peay took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning off a home run over the left field wall by catcher P.J. Torres. Illinois State then came back and scored a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the lead at 2-1. Senior third baseman Court ripped a two-out double that bounced off the right field wall and then scored on a RBI single by McNeely, who advanced to second base on the throw home. Freshman Mike Hollenbeck then singled through the right side to drive in McNeely and cap off the Redbird rally.
ISU extended its lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of runs to make the score 4-1. Mirabal led off the inning with a single and Court followed with a base hit to give the `Birds a pair of base runners. McNeely then ripped a double down the third base line which scored Mirabal, before Court was gunned down at the plate on a strong relay throw for the first out of the inning as McNeely advanced to third base on the throw.
Hollenbeck then grounded out to APSU second baseman Jordan Hankins for the second out of the inning, but Amrein followed with double to the left center field gap to score McNeely for the second run of the inning to give ISU a three-run advantage. McNeely later capped off his stellar day with a two-run home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Redbird a five-run cushion.
The Governors attempted a ninth-inning comeback and scored a run on a Reed Harper RBI single that left the bases loaded with just one out. However, Werderitch got out of the jam and induced a game-ending double play to secure the Redbird victory.
The three-game non-conference series will conclude with a pair of games Saturday beginning at noon. ISU freshman Dan Savas (2-0, 4.11 ERA) will take the hill in the first game of the doubleheader against Austin Peay's Jeremy Dobbs (3-0, 3.94 ERA). Sophomore Brad Sorkin (2-1, 4.66 ERA) will then take the mound in the series finale, scheduled to begin at approximately 3 p.m., against APSU's Zach Toney (1-1, 3.71 ERA).
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