Redbirds Sweep Doubleheader, Series with UNI
April 18, 2009
WATERLOO, Iowa - Corey Maines and Ryan Copeland gave Illinois State a pair of stellar starts and Ryan Court drove in seven runs on four hits as the Redbirds swept a doubleheader and the series from Northern Iowa, 11-3 and 4-2, at Riverfront Stadium Saturday.
Maines struck out seven in 7.2 innings to earn his team-best sixth win of the season, and Copeland limited the Panthers (15-21, 3-12 MVC) to two runs on four hits in his fourth complete game. Court helped Illinois State (19-12, 9-4 MVC) start and finish game one with four-run innings as he knocked an RBI single in the first inning and pushed across three more with a bases loaded double in the ninth. In the second game, Court broke open a 2-2 tie with a two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Tyler McNeely went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the opening game and was the first of six consecutive Redbirds to reach safely as Illinois State put up four runs in the first inning on Northern Iowa starter Derek Ott. Illinois State added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth on a two-run homer by Anthony Ruffolo. The Redbirds added four more runs in the ninth and finished the game with 13 hits.
Maines surrendered a two-run blast in the bottom of the first but didn't allow another earned run in the game despite allowing a base runner in each inning that he pitched. Jim Sajewich retired four of the five batters he faced in 1.1 scoreless innings to close the game.
In the second game, McNeely sent the first pitch he saw from Carlos Pinedo over the left field wall and Court doubled in Mike Stalowy to put Illinois State up 2-0 after the first half inning. Northern Iowa tied the game in the second after a grounder by Jeff Taliaferro rolled under Court and into the outfield before James Dinizo knocked a two-RBI double.
Copeland scattered two hits over the remaining seven innings and faced just 12 batters through the final four innings. He finished with seven strikeouts.
Court atoned for the miscue in the second and chased Pinedo from the game with a two-run blast in the fourth. Four Panther relievers combined to shutout Illinois State over the last five innings, including a three-inning, one hit performance from Lucas O'Rear, the Missouri Valley Conference's sixth-man award winner as a basketball player.
Illinois State hosts Northwestern in a non-conference match-up Wednesday at Duffy Bass Field starting at 6 p.m. Illinois State resumes Valley play next weekend (April 24-26) at Southern Illinois.