Redbirds Take Series with 10-6 win over Central Michigan
March 21, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - Anthony Ruffolo got the second chance he was looking for and didn't waste it. The Illinois State senior left fielder doubled and hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third, part of an eight-run inning, as the Redbirds took the game and the series from Central Michigan, 10-6, at Duffy Bass Field Sunday afternoon.
Ruffolo finished the contest 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and also drew his team-leading 17th walk of the season, but it was his home run to right with the bases loaded in the third that provided all the necessary runs for Illinois State (8-9). Ruffolo hit a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded over the right field fence to cap an eight-run explosion by the Redbirds off Central Michigan (7-8) starter Jake Sabol (2-2). Ruffolo faced a 3-2 count with two outs and the bases loaded, with the Redbirds trailing the Chippewas 2-1 in Friday's series opener, but got under a pitch and flied out to end the game.
"It was a little bit of redemption for sure," Ruffolo said of his fourth home run of the season. "(Friday's game) was a frustrating one for us to lose in that fashion, especially for me - I usually thrive in those situations. Today was a good chance to redeem myself."
Illinois State clubbed 11 hits in the game, including seven in the bottom of the third inning. Central Michigan scored a single run in the first inning but the Redbirds answered in the bottom of the second to tie the game after Chad Hinshaw scored on a wild pitch. Illinois State had two base runners on in each of the first two innings, but really got to Sabol and the Chippewas by sending 12 batters to the plate in the third. The Redbirds added a single run in the bottom of the fourth on a solo shot down the right field line by Zach Amrein.
Ryan Camp (3-2) struck out five in five innings and pitched well enough to earn his third win of the season. Camp allowed five hits, four in a four-run fourth inning for Central Michigan, in which he nearly escaped a bases loaded jam without allowing any runs to cross. The Chippewas knocked three consecutive singles to begin the fourth, but Camp got Matt Faiman to fly out to shallow center and struck out William Arnold. With two outs, Camp walked Ricky Clark to push across a run and Robbie Harman cleared the bases with a double.
Jim Sajewich, Kenny Long and Cam Verbeke combined to strike out four and gave up just one hit in four innings of relief for Illinois State. Amrein, Jake Thornton, and Evan Kohli all had two hits for the Redbirds, as Thornton extended his team-best hitting streak to six games. Hinshaw and Amrein also scored two runs each for ISU.
Illinois State travels across the state line into Indiana Wednesday (March 24) for a single game against Purdue at Lambert Field. First pitch against the Boilermakers is scheduled for 3 p.m. The Redbirds will be back in Indiana next weekend when they open Missouri Valley Conference play against Indiana State (March 26-28).
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