ISU Loses Heartbreaker at Saint Louis, 9-8
Ronnie Calvird
Ronnie Calvird

March 25, 2008

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ST. LOUIS -- Freshman Ronnie Calvird batted 2-for-4 with two RBI and junior Kevin Dubler went 1-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, but the Illinois State baseball team was on the wrong end of a back-and-forth affair. The Redbirds fell, 9-8, to Saint Louis Wednesday in a non-conference game at The Billiken Sports Complex. The Redbirds and Billikens battled all day, as the lead changed hands eight different times, but SLU rallied to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Redbirds (9-9, 0-3 MVC) had three players record two-plus RBI, as sophomore Gabe DeMarco finished the game 1-for-4 with three RBI. Senior Eric Theisen (2-3) suffered the loss, after giving up one run in 0.2 innings of work. Senior Tyler Cox threw 4.2 innings and surrendered four runs (three earned), while he tied a career-high with six strikeouts.

After SLU scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Cole Marty led off the ninth with walk, and appeared to steal second base with freshman Corey Maines at-bat. However, Maines was called out due to batter's interference. Junior Mike Stalowy followed with a walk, and Calvird delivered with a single up the middle to plate Marty and tie the game, however, Stalowy was called out at third after he rounded the base, fell and attempted to slide back in safely.

Theisen entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, and gave up a one-out single to Ramee Yacoub, who proceeded to steal second base to move into scoring position. After retiring the next batter on a fly out to center field, first baseman Greg Rodgers stepped up and lined a single into left field, scoring Yacoub to end the game.

"We gave ourselves a chance, as we got back in it after not hitting early in the game," said head coach Jim Brownlee. "We didn't pitch very well; every time scored they were able to answer. We made some mistakes on the base paths, and that can happen early in the season. Gabe (DeMarco) had a huge hit to tie the game at 7-7, and I thought that we were going to win the game. But we gave up 16 hits, and when that happens it is hard to win the game."

St. Louis got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, after Cox surrendered back-to-back hits to begin the frame. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and one run crossed the plate on a RBI groundout from Rodgers. However, Cox was able to get out of the jam, retiring the next two batters on a groundout and fly out.

The `Birds came back and grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth, after some smart hitting and base running from Dubler. After Calvird led off the inning with a walk, Dubler stepped up and took a pitch on the inner half of the plate and drove it to right center field, allowing Calvird to score and giving Dubler a double. DeMarco then fouled out to the catcher behind home plate, however, Dubler alertly tagged and moved to third base, as the shortstop forgot to cover third.

Dubler then scored after a pitch got away from catcher Casey Moore and the Billikens' pitcher was slow to cover the plate, giving the Redbirds the lead. The Billikens came in the bottom of the frame and re-gained the lead, as Cox loaded the bases for the third time. SLU scored two runs on three hits, but left three stranded, as Cox re-gained his composure and struck two-straight batters to end the frame.

But Illinois State showed resiliency, as the Redbirds tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the sixth. Stalowy led off with a single up and middle and Calvird lined his first-career triple over the centerfielder's head to plate Stalowy, and Dubler followed with an RBI groundout to the second baseman. Saint Louis continued the back-and-forth affair, as they re-gained the lead, 6-4, on a debatable fair-call on a ball hit down the third base line with one out and one runner on base.

Freshman Kevin Tokarski led another Redbird comeback in the eighth, as he led off the frame with a double into the left field gap. Stalowy and Dubler followed with walks to load the bases, and DeMarco delivered with a bases-clearing double to right field gap to tie the game again, 7-7.

The Redbirds will host in-state rival Eastern Illinois Wednesday at Duffy Bass Field. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.