Illinois State drops back to .500 at 10-10.
March 22, 2013
Audio: Coach Kingston Postgame
NORMAL, Ill. - After Illinois State scored five-straight runs to take a two-run lead in the fourth inning, Eastern Illinois responded with six-unanswered runs to secure a 9-5 series-opening victory Friday evening at Duffy Bass Field. It was ISU’s first home game on the new FieldTurf infield.
Zac Johnson led Illinois State’s offense with a 2-for-5 effort, including two runs scored, while Eastern Illinois’ Brant Valach was 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Otto Roberts (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs, two earned, without recording an out. EIU’s Ben Kennedy (1-1) earned the win with 2.2 scoreless innings.
Eastern Illinois plated three runs on five hits in the top of the second inning, with a double by Valach to lead off the frame. He later scored on a wild pitch. Back-to-back singles by Dane Sauer and Tyler Schweigert drove in two more runs to give the Panthers an early 3-0 lead.
The Redbirds responded in the bottom of the second, as Johnson led off the frame with a single through the left side. Then with the bases loaded, ISU’s Jack Czeszewski grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Johnson to score from third base.
Illinois State tied the game in the third inning with a pair of runs. Dan Dwyer singled-home Kyle Stanton, and Johnson later scored from third base when Joe Kelch reached on a fielder’s choice. The Redbirds then took their first lead of the game in the fourth inning, as Chad Hinshaw singled with one out, stole second, and scored on an RBI single by Eric Aguilera. ISU added to its lead when Dwyer reached on an error, making the score 5-3.
However, Eastern Illinois tied the game again in the top of the sixth inning, as Demetre Taylor scored on an error, and Jacob Reese came home on a sacrifice fly.
The Panthers proceeded to take a three-run lead in the top of the seventh, starting with a double by Valach which plated Trey Vavra. Valach then scored after a hit and a fielding error, and Priessman came home as Reese reached on a fielder’s choice. EIU increased its advantage to 9-5 in the top of the ninth, as Derek Page hit an RBI single to score Taylor.
Illinois State will try to bounce back Saturday, with a doubleheader against the Panthers beginning at noon.
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