Redbirds Hold Off Purdue, 5-4
March 22, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Illinois State beat a Big Ten Conference opponent for the second time this season, as the Redbirds topped Purdue, 5-4, at Lambert Field in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday afternoon. ISU has won five of its last six games, and the Redbirds continue with their best start to a season since 1987.
ISU (14-6) outhit Purdue (13-7), 9-to-6, and forced the Boilermakers to strand 10 runners on base. JD Learnard (2-1) earned the victory for the Redbirds, matching a career-high with 7.2 innings pitched, allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out three. Matt Werderitch closed out the game, pitching the final 1.1 shutout innings and earning his second save of the season.
Illinois State scored the game's first run in the top of the third inning as Brock Stewart led off with a single and advanced to second on a ground-out by Kevin Tokarski. Matt Mirabal then drove him in with a RBI single down the left field line, putting ISU up, 1-0. Purdue answered in the bottom of the inning as Cameron Perkins led off with a single and scored on a RBI fielder's choice by Ryan Bridges.
The Redbirds regained the lead in the top of the sixth, as Mirabal led off with a single, advanced to second on a Ryan Court groundout, and moved to third on a single by Amrein. Then Tyler McNeely grounded into a fielder's choice putout of Amrein, but as the Boilermakers attempted to turn the double play, the throw to first was off-target, allowing Mirabal to score on the throwing error charged to shortstop David Miller. . ISU extended its lead with three more runs in the seventh inning. Josh Colon led off the frame with a single to right field and scored on a Chad Hinshaw RBI single. Tokarski then plated Hinshaw with a RBI double, and Tokarski came home on a single by Court.
The Redbirds led, 5-1, going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Boilermakers scored three runs in the frame to pull with one. Stephen Talbott drove in two with a double, and Tyler Spillner plated one on a single. However, Werderitch came out of the bullpen to record the final four outs of the game without allowing the Boilermakers to score, securing the Redbird victory.
Illinois State improved to 2-0 against the Big Ten this season, after beating Ohio State and Purdue. The Redbirds will face their next Big Ten foe, Illinois, Wed. Mar. 30, in Champaign, Ill. ISU returns home this weekend for a three-game, non-conference series against Oakland at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. The Redbirds will play the Grizzlies at 3 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
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