Aguilera's Late Hit Gives `Birds a 6-5 Win over Shockers
Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson

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April 7, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State's Eric Aguilera broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning against Wichita State Saturday to give the Redbirds (19-9, 2-3 MVC) a walk-off win over the Shockers (18-15, 3-2 MVC) in the second game of the weekend series at Duffy Bass Field.

Zac Johnson singled with one out and advanced to second on a single by Bryan Huff to start the rally. Kevin Tokarski was up next and hit a ground ball that looked to be a double play, but the throw to first base sailed high and Johnson advanced to third as Tokarski moved to second. Johnson then scored on a single by Aguliera to win the game and tie the series at 1-1.

ISU reliever Justin Hauer (2-1) picked up the win in relief of starter Dylan Craig. Hauer pitched four strong innings and allowed just one run on two hits while striking out three batters. WSU closer Cale Elam (1-2), the fifth Shocker pitcher of the game, was saddled with the loss after he allowed the unearned run in the bottom of the ninth.

Johnson led the way for the Redbirds, as he tied a career high with three hits and scored, scored two runs and drove in three RBI. Aguilera also added three hits in the game, including the game winner, and Chad Hinshaw had two hits and scored a run for the Redbirds.

The Redbirds were the first to get on the board, as they scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Hinshaw led off the game with a walk and Ty Wiesemeyer was hit by a pitch to put the first two batters on base. The duo each moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Mirabal, before Johnson doubled down the right field line to plate both runners and give ISU the early 2-0 lead.

ISU tacked on another run in the bottom of the second inning, when Aguilera scored an unearned run on a ground out by Brett Kay. The Redbirds scored for the third inning a row, when Johnson scored on a RBI single up the middle by Tokarski to make the score 4-0 after three innings of play.

The Shockers put their first run on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning, when Casey Gillaspie scored on a ground out by Micah Green to cut the lead to 4-1. However, the Redbirds answered with a run in the bottom half when Johnson drove in his third run of the game on a single that scored Brett Kay to extend the lead to 5-1.

The lead was cut to one run in the top of the sixth inning, when the Shockers scored three runs to make the score 5-4. Gillaspie drove in the first run of the inning with a RBI double to left field and Johnny Coy scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Don Lambert. Gillaspie then scored the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Green to trim the Redbird advantage.

Wichita State would then tie the game in the top of the seventh inning, when Kevin Hall scored on a one-out double by Tyler Baker to make the score 5-5. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth, when the Redbirds scored the winning run.

The two teams will wrap up the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.

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