Redbirds Beat Southern Illinois in 10 Innings
Kenny Long earned the win, pitching three shutout innings.
Kenny Long earned the win, pitching three shutout innings.

May 14, 2011

Final Stats Post-Game Interview

CARBONDALE, Ill. - With two outs and his team down by two runs in the ninth inning, Ryan Court belted a two-run home run to tie the game, and Brock Stewart and Mike Hollenbeck both hit solo homers in the tenth to lift Illinois State to an 11-9 win over Southern Illinois Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field in Carbondale, Ill.

"This was a real gut-check win for us," Redbird head coach Mark Kingston said. "When we keep fighting and we stick with the process, the game rewards us. This was a true team-effort, and the kind of win that can really spark our team and give us momentum down the stretch-run."

Hollenbeck and Tyler McNeely each collected three RBI with 2-for-5 efforts, while Court also went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs, and Stewart was 3-for-4 at the plate with a run and a RBI. Kenny Long (3-1) earned the victory, pitching the final three shutout innings for the Redbirds, striking out one and walking one. Southern Illinois closer Tyler Dray (1-2) suffered the loss.

Illinois State improved to 30-16 and 9-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while SIU dropped to 19-30 and 9-8 in the MVC. Each team is tied for fourth place in the Valley. The Redbirds have now earned back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 1998-99.

The Redbirds jumped out to an early four-run lead in the first inning thanks to a two-RBI single by Kevin Tokarski that plated Chad Hinshaw and Josh Colon. Hollenbeck then drove in two more runs with a single that scored Court and Tokarski. Southern Illinois responded with two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-RBI single by Nick Johnson. The Salukis added another run with an Austin Montgomery single in the second inning.

McNeely extended ISU's lead to 7-3 in the third by hitting a three-run home run with Tokarski and Zach Amrein on base. However, Southern Illinois responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take its first lead of the game. A Chris Murphy RBI-double gave the Salukis a 9-7 advantage in the seventh, which they held until the ninth inning.

Colon led off the ninth with a walk, and after Tokarski flied out and McNeely popped out, Court hit a two-run homer to tie the game. Long held the Salukis scoreless in the bottom of the inning to force extras. Then in the tenth, Stewart put the Redbirds ahead for good with a leadoff, solo home run. Hollenbeck followed with another solo shot to increase ISU's lead to 11-9. Long shutout SIU in the bottom of the tenth to secure the Illinois State victory.

With the series tied 1-1, the Redbirds go for the series win Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. ISU's JD Learnard (6-2) will face SIU's Andrew Bever (4-4).

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