Learnard Pitches Redbirds to Win over Illini, 4-1
April 20, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois State freshman JD Learnard scattered three hits over a career-best 7.2 innings and pitched the Redbirds to a 4-1 win over Illinois at Illinois Field in a mid-week, non-conference game Tuesday night.
Learnard, who pitched from the same mound as a high school senior in the state playoffs last season, limited the Illini to just three base runners through the first seven innings and nearly worked around a pair of leadoff walks in the eighth before surrendering the first run. Illinois State (19-15) pounded out 10 hits and played impressive defense behind Learnard to sweep the season series with Illinois (16-16).
Matt Mirabal led the Redbird offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Mirabal hit his second-career home run in the fourth inning, the second of back-to-back long balls by ISU. Ty Wiesemeyer hit his first home run as a Redbird in the previous at bat. Zach Amrein and Brett Kay each drove in runs for the Redbirds.
Illinois State third baseman Ryan Court tallied a season-high-tying eight assists and started both of Illinois State's double plays. Kenny Long worked the Redbirds out of a jam with the tying run at the plate in the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season. Long has factored into the decision in the last four games, earning three wins and a save.
Casey McMurray, Aaron Johnson and Josh Parr accounted for Illinois' hits with one each. Parr drove in the Illini's only run in the bottom of the eighth.
Illinois State, which has won four in a row and seven of the last eight, continues its Big Ten, mid-week road swing when it visits Northwestern at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Ryan Camp (4-3, 9.24 ERA) is expected to start for the Redbirds against Northwestern's Luke Ferrell (0-0, 11.42 ERA).
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