McNeely Slugs Redbirds Past Wichita State, 9-4
April 24, 2011
WICHITA, Kan. - Tyler McNeely led Illinois State to a 9-4 win at Wichita state Sunday afternoon, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored, including two home runs. With the victory, the Redbirds (25-12, 5-4 MVC) took one-of-three games from the Shockers (25-18, 5-4 MVC) at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan.
"I thought our hitters were really good, and when we got pitches, we took advantage of them," ISU head coach Mark Kingston said. "McNeely had an excellent game, which is great to see because he's such a hard worker. As far as pitching, JD Learnard was tremendous and Justin Hauer and Kenny Long were as well. This was a really good ballgame for us."
.Learnard (4-2) earned the win, as the sophomore right-hander pitched six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits, with four strikeouts. Hauer and Long teamed up to close out the game with three shutout innings of relief. Wichita State's Josh Smith (4-3) suffered the loss after throwing 1.2 innings with four runs (three earned) allowed on four hits.
Illinois State never trailed once it took a five-run lead in the second inning. Ryan Court doubled to lead off the second, and McNeely doubled him home to score the game's first run. Hollenbeck then plated McNeely with a single, and scored on a base hit by Kevin Tokarski that extended his hitting streak to a season-best 16-consecutive games. Tokarski and Josh Colon scored two more runs after Chad Hinshaw reached on a fielding error charged to Wichita State's first baseman.
The Shockers responded with two runs in the fourth inning, beginning with a Chris O'Brien groundout that drove in Tyler Grimes. Kevin Hall then scored on a single by Preston Springer. Illinois State added three more runs in the fifth inning, beginning with a solo home run to left field by McNeely. Later in the inning, Tokarski walked with the bases loaded to score Colon, and Hinshaw plated Zach Amrein with a single. Brock Stewart also attempted to score on Hinshaw's hit, but Tokarski was thrown out at third base to end the inning before Stewart crossed home plate.
Wichita State scored two more times in the seventh with a two-RBI double by O'Brien that scored Josh Halbert and Micah Green, but that was as close as the Shockers got. McNeely hit his second solo home run of the game in the ninth inning to extend Illinois State's advantage to five runs.
After snapping a two-game losing streak, the Redbirds return home for a seven-game homestand beginning with the Horenberger-Bass Classic against Illinois Wesleyan, Tuesday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m., at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. Illinois State resumes Valley play Friday with a three-game series against Indiana State.
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