Redbird Rally Falls Short; ISU Downed, 6-5
April 10, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State scored two runs in the first inning and was held scoreless until a two-out three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn't enough as the Redbirds fell 6-5 to Creighton in the rubber game of the three-game Missouri Valley Conference series Sunday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field.
With the Bluejays claiming the series, ISU fell to 21-9 overall and 1-2 in the Valley, while Creighton improved to 22-7 and 2-1, respectively.
Creighton sent Mark Winkelman to the pitcher's mound for the ninth inning and after ISU's Mark Menaker fouled out and Chad Hinshaw struck out swinging it looked like the Bluejays were going to cruise to the win. However, Kevin Tokarski sent a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for his second home run of the season. David Fallon with a triple to center field and later scored on a double by Tyler McNeely, as the Redbirds trailed, 6-4.
The Bluejays went the bullpen and called on Kurt Spomer to save the game. Spomer got off to a rocky start, as ISU's Ryan Court belted a double to center field, the Redbirds' fourth-straight hit, to score McNeely and make the score 6-5. However, Comer saved his second game of the series and his third of the season, by striking out Matt Mirabal for the game's final out.
Creighton's Greg Hellhake earned the win and improved his record to 3-1 on the season. He lasted five innings and surrendered two runs on three hits, while walking two and not striking out a single batter. ISU's Ryan Camp was tagged with his first loss of the season, against three wins. Camp only pitched one and one-third inning, but allowed three runs on three hits.
Mirabal drove home the first two ISU runs on the day back in the first inning. After a Tokarski single and walk to McNeely, Mirabal plated them both with a single to left field. The lead was short-lived, as Creighton scored three runs in the top of the third inning. ISU's Dan Savas kept the Creighton offense at bay in relief of Camp, as he pitched six and two-thirds innings without an earned run, while striking out a career-high 12 batters. The Redbirds were unable to capitalize and were held without a hit in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
With Creighton leading 4-2, the Bluejays needed the two insurance runs they scored in the top half of the ninth inning. The Jays were able to add the two runs without a single base hit, thanks to two hit by pitches, two wild pitches and an error.
The top half of the order paced Illinois State with two hits apiece from Tokarski, Fallon and McNeely, while the bottom three spots in the order were a combined 0-for-12.
Illinois State will continue its homestand and host Northern Illinois at Duffy Bass Field on Tuesday. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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