Kohli, Learnard Lead Redbirds to Sweep Against Bears, 7-1
May 9, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Evan Kohli hit a three-run home run and JD Learnard limited the Bears to a single run in seven innings as Illinois State swept away Missouri State, 7-1, at Hammons Stadium Sunday afternoon. It was the first road sweep of the Bears by an Illinois State team since 1992.
Kohli hit his second home run of the series in the second inning with two outs and two runners on while providing Illinois State (24-18, 12-3 MVC) all the offense it needed with one swing of the bat. Learnard scattered four Missouri State (18-28, 4-11 MVC) hits over the first seven innings and allowed just the second run in his last three starts on a sacrifice fly by Brett Marshall in the third. Illinois State scored six of its seven runs with two outs and received multiple hit efforts from Ty Wiesemeyer (3) and Kevin Tokarski (2).
Learnard induced 15 ground ball outs and pitched into the eighth inning for the second time this season, while also retiring the side in order in three different innings. The freshman from Fairmount, Ill., couldn't keep Curt Courtwright from scoring after a leadoff single in the third, but worked around a triple by Courtwright in the fifth and a double by Keenan Maddox in the sixth to post scoreless frames.
Learnard started the eighth by getting Travis McComack to ground to short but he reached on an error and Missouri State batters Aaron Conway and Kevin Medrano followed with singles. With no outs, Illinois State reliever Ryan Copeland made his third relief appearance of the weekend and pitched the Redbirds out of the jam without allowing a run. Copeland finished the weekend with 11 strikeouts in 5.2 innings of scoreless relief.
In addition to Kohli's three-run blast in the second, Illinois State scored two in the fifth and added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Tokarski knocked two doubles in the game for 22 on the season and moved within one of Illinois State's single season record (23) set by Kevin Dubler in 2008. Tokarski also scored three runs and stole a base. Wiesemeyer was 3-for-5 in the contest with two runs batted in.
Medrano was 0-for-3 before a bunt single off Learnard in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 28 games. Courtwright, a Lincoln, Ill., native, finished the game 2-for-3 and reached a third time on a walk. Conway was the only other Bear with multiple hits and finished the contest 2-for-4. Pat Doyle struck out eight but was tagged with the loss after giving up six runs in 6.2 innings.
Illinois State will play its final non-conference game when the Redbirds host Eastern Illinois for a 6 p.m. tilt at Duffy Bass Field Wednesday.
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