Redbird Baseball Splits Doubleheader vs. EIU
March 23, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. -After a tough loss 7-2 loss in 10 innings in game one of its Saturday doubleheader against in-state foe Eastern Illinois (6-15), Illinois State (11-11) responded by scoring a season-high 18 runs in an 18-3 victory in game two against the Panthers at Duffy Bass Field to split the doubleheader.
The duo of Eric Aguilera and Zac Johnsonled the way offensively for the Redbirds in the doubleheader. Aguilera finished the day 9-for-11, including a career-best 6-for-6 effort in game two, with two runs scored and four runs driven in. Johnson capped his day off by going 5-for-6 in game two to finish the day 7-for-11 with five runs scored and three RBI.
Pitcher Brad Sorkin (4-2) suffered the loss in game one, after pitching nine plus innings and allowing four runs (two of which were earned) on six hits while striking out four Panther hitters in game one. Chris Razo(1-0) allowed just one run on three hits while striking out seven in four strong innings in game two to pick up his first win of the season in his first start of the year.
Eastern Illinois got on the board first in the top of the third inning in game one, when Trey Vavra knocked in a pair of runs on a single to right field. The two runs were unearned, as Tyler Schweigert reached on a fielding error by ISU shortstop Brett Kaywith two outs to keep the inning alive. Caleb Howell then singled to center field and advanced to second base on a throw attempting to get Schweigert out at third as he slid in safely. The two then scored on the base hit by Vavra to take the two-run lead.
Johnson put the Redbirds on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning, when he led off the inning with his team-leading fourth home run to cut the deficit to 2-1. After Kyle Stanton grounded out, Aguilera doubled to right center field and score two batters later, when Mike Hollenbecksingled to right field to knot the game at 2-2 after six innings of play.
The score remained at 2-2 over the final three innings of play, as the game headed into extra innings. In the top half of the 10th inning, EIU put its first two batters on base after both were hit by pitches by Sorkin. Will Headen then came on in relief and Dane Sauer laid down a sacrifice bunt for EIU, which was fielded by Johnson, but the throw was wide of first base and Jacob Reese came around from second to score and put the Panthers up 3-2. From there, the inning fell apart as EIU added three more hits and tacked on five runs in the frame to take a 7-2 lead and come away with the victory in game one.
Illinois State wasted little time in game two to get a run on the board in game two, as a RBI single by Stanton drove in Aguilera for the first run of the game. EIU answered with a run of its own in the top of the second inning, on a double down the left field line by Cameron Berra to tie the game at 1-1. The Redbirds added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Johnson drove in the first run of the inning an RBI single to right field and later came around to score on a ground out by Stanton.
ISU extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Johnson ripped a two-out double into the right field corner and then came around to score on a single to right field by Aguilera. Stanton then singled to advance Aguilera to second base, with Hollenbeck coming to the plate. Hollenbeck then ripped a single into right field and the ball was bobbled by the EIU right fielder, allowing both Aguilera and Stanton to score. Then, as the ball was cut off and the throw came in attempting to get Hollenbeck at third, the throw got away from the third baseman and rolled into the dugout, allowing Hollenbeck to cross the plate and make it 7-1 in favor of the Redbirds.
Aguilera drove in two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a single to right field and widened the ISU lead to 9-1. The Panthers tacked on a pair of runs, both via bases-loaded walks off reliever Jack Landwehr, to cut the deficit to 9-3. ISU came right back with five runs in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of a three-run triple by Kay, a RBI double by Johnson and a RBI single by Aguilera, to make the score 14-3 after seven innings.
Four more runs would cross the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the score 18-3 for the Redbirds, and a scoreless ninth inning by the Panthers game ISU the victory. Aguilera finished the game 6-for-6 with four RBI in the victory to lead the way and Johnson finished a solid day with a 5-for-6 effort with four runs scored and two RBI.
The Redbirds will return to action Tuesday, March 26, for a non-conference matchup against in-state foe Illinois in Champaign, Ill. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.
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