Redbirds Top Fighting Illini, 13-8, in Front of Record Crowd
March 30, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State pitcher Brad Sorkin limited Illinois to four hits over six innings and watched as the Redbird offense piled up runs behind him in a 13-8 non-conference win over the Fighting Illini at Duffy Bass Field Tuesday. A new stadium record 906 fans watched Sorkin pitch the Redbirds to their second-consecutive mid-week win over a Big Ten opponent.
Sorkin notched his second-consecutive quality start, holding the Fighting Illini (8-9) to just two runs - one earned - through six innings. The freshman right-hander from Buffalo Grove, Ill., didn't allow a base hit until the fourth inning, and didn't allow the runs until the sixth. Illinois State (12-10) scored 13 runs on 13 hits, and fended off a late push by Illinois for its seventh win in nine games. Sorkin limited Big Ten-foe Purdue to one-hit in six innings last Wednesday in a 5-2 Redbird win.
Illinois State left the bases loaded in the first inning but five-consecutive hits to start the third inning, including RBI doubles by Matt Mirabal and Jake Thornton, led to the game's first three runs. The Redbirds then exploded for 10 runs off six hits and three Illini errors in the bottom of the fourth to build a commanding 13-0 lead. In the inning, Kevin Tokarski scored two runs after he reached on an error and singled, marking 15 consecutive plate appearances in which the Redbird second baseman had reached safely. The streak ended with a fly out to center in his next at bat.
Casey McMurray hit a solo home run down the left field line for the only earned run against Sorkin in the top of the sixth. The Illini pushed across another in the frame after Brandon Hohl reached on an error and Pete Cappetta knocked an RBI double with two outs. Illinois scored six runs off three Redbirds relievers to make it a five-run difference by the game's conclusion, with just one of those runs being earned.
Tokarski led the Redbirds with three hits, drove in two runs and scored three. Mirabal, Thornton and Anthony Ruffolo each had two hits, with Thornton, Ryan Court and Zach Amrein all driving in two runs. The 906 fans topped last year's new stadium record crowd of 823 for the dedication of the new stadium at Duffy Bass Field against Creighton, May 2, 2009.
Illinois State will travel to Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn., for a three-game series this weekend (April 2-3). The Redbirds and Bisons will square off at 6 p.m. Friday night before meeting in a doubleheader, starting at noon Saturday.
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