Court Homers Three Times as Redbirds Run-Rule Shockers
May 1, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - Ryan Court hit three home runs, including a walk-off blast with one out in the bottom of the eighth to push Illinois State to its first ever run-rule victory over the Wichita State, 18-8, at Duffy Bass Field Saturday. The win evened the series at one game each and sets up a deciding game three Sunday at 1 p.m.
Court, who entered the week hitting just .250, tallied five hits in the contest and became the first Redbird to homer three times in a game since Scott Bialobreski in 2003. Court's two other base hits were doubles, bringing his number of total bases to 16 in Saturday's contest. He has eight hits in the last three games to raise his average to .277. Illinois State (21-17, 9-2 MVC) pounded out 18 hits and scored the team's most runs ever and largest margin of victory against Wichita State (28-16, 9-5 MVC).
The Redbirds hit a season-high five home runs, with Tyler McNeely and Anthony Ruffolo also leaving the yard, but it was a two-RBI double by Brett Kay that put Illinois State in front after both teams dueled to an 8-8 tie after the top of the sixth. Zach Amrein and Tyler McNeely drew a pair of two-out walks in the bottom of the sixth and Kay drove them both in with a ball just out of the reach of left fielder Brett Bascue near the warning track. Leading 10-8, Illinois State added two more runs on base hits by Chad Hinshaw and Matt Mirabal before the third out was recorded.
Illinois State added two more runs in the seventh on solo home runs by Court and McNeely, and ended the game with four runs in the eighth after a three-run shot by Ruffolo and Court's final blast.
Ryan Copeland (3-4) earned the win after striking out five Shockers in three innings of relief. Copeland allowed one run, but combined with Cam Verbeke to strike out 10 in 5.2 solid innings from the Redbird bullpen. Verbeke's five strikeouts were a new career-best. Brad Sorkin started for Illinois State and threw a scoreless first inning thanks to a caught base runner and pick off at first by Mirabal, and allowed just one run in the second before being tagged with six in the third.
Illinois State leadoff hitter Kevin Tokarski reached base five times and set a new career steals mark for Illinois State with a pair of stolen bases. Tokarski stole the 55th base of his career in the first inning to tie Mark Prior for the all-time lead and swiped second as part of a double steal in the third inning for No. 56. Seven total Redbirds recorded multiple hit games.
Grant Muncrief (1-3) took the loss for the Shockers after allowing the go-ahead runs to reach in the sixth. Preston Springer led the Shockers at the plate with a 2-for-4 effort and three RBI. Will Baez, Cody Lassley and Travis Bennett each tallied two hits also for Wichita State.
Sunday is CISAR Adopt-a-Dog Day at Duffy Bass Field. The game will start at 1 p.m. with JD Learnard (2-2, 6.67) pitching for ISU against Wichita State's Tim Kelley (6-2, 5.37).
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