Strong Pitching Propels ISU to 4-1 Mid-Week Victory Over EIU
April 25, 2007
CHARLESTON, Ill. - The Illinois State baseball team headed into Wednesday's contest with in-state rival Eastern Illinois looking to break a four-game losing streak in mid-week contests. Thanks to some strong pitching, the Redbirds (18-20, 8-7 MVC) did just that and defeated the Panthers (17-19, 7-7 OVC) by a score of 4-1 at Coaches' Stadium.
ISU head coach Jim Brownlee was relieved with the win and particularly happy with the performance of his pitching staff.
"Well, we haven't played well in a mid-week game in a while so it feels really good to get the win," said Brownlee. "I'm really proud of the way Tyler Cox, Dan Sorce and Jim Sajewich threw the ball today. We didn't use a lot of arms last weekend and we knew those guys would come in refreshed and ready to pitch. When you strikeout six batters and only walk one, you give yourself a chance to win and it was a great mid-week performance out of those guys today."
ISU starter Cox (3-0) pitched well and picked up the win for ISU, as he did not allow a run in four innings and gave up just two hits while striking out two batters. Sorce (2-5) then came on in relief of Cox and allowed one run on three hits in four innings of work. EIU starter Tyler Brandon (1-2) suffered the loss, after allowing five walks, three hits and one run in four innings on the mound.
After some strong pitching by both starters through the first three innings, the Redbirds managed to push a run across the plate in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. With one out, Kyle O'Brien singled sharply up the middle and then stole second base. Kyle Cherney then drew a four-pitch walk to give Mike Tokarski two runners on base and he did not disappoint, as he laced a single into centerfield and O'Brien scored from second base for the first run of the game.
Jesse Griswold's fourth home run of the season, a solo shot off the scoreboard in left field, put the Redbirds up 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning. The score would stay that way until the bottom of the eighth inning, when EIU's Mark Huber doubled into deep left-centerfield off Sorce to score Brett Nommensen and cut the ISU lead to one at 2-1.
However, the Redbirds answered with two runs in the top of the ninth inning to widen their lead to 4-1. Collin Salzenstein reached on a leadoff walk and then stole second base to give the `Birds a runner in scoring position. Salzenstein advanced to third on a wild pitch and then a second wild pitch allowed the Redbird shortstop to score and put ISU up 3-1. Mike Stalowy then reached on an infield single and Matt Bolt followed with a single into right field. Both runners then advanced a base on the play due to an errant throw by EIU right fielder Mike Astrouski.
Still with nobody out, Kevin Dubler was intentionally walked to load the bases and then Griswold followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Stalowy from third base and gave the Redbirds a 4-1 advantage. That is where the score would stay, as Sajewich threw a perfect ninth inning to close out the game to pick up his second save of the season. Griswold led the way for ISU with a hit, a run scored and two RBI at the plate, while Stalowy continued his hot hitting with two hits on the day.
ISU returns to action on Friday for a three-game weekend series against Bradley. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at O'Brien Field in Peoria, Ill.