Redbird Bats Falter; Illinois State Drops Series Opener, 4-0
May 16, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Illinois State baseball team struggled in the batter's box, as the Redbirds collected only four hits and struck out 14 times. Illinois State (22-28, 6-16) dropped the series opener, 4-0, to Indiana State in game one of a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader Friday afternoon at Sycamore Field.
Sophomore Ryan Copeland (4-7) suffered the loss, after he surrendered four runs on seven hits, while he walked none and struck out four. Copeland started the game on the mark, as he retired the Sycamores in order in the second, third and fifth innings, but was out-dueled by Sycamore starting pitcher Michael Manus (2-8), who threw a complete-game shutout. Manus, who threw 150 pitches, struck out a career-high 14 batters, while he walked only two. Manus recorded at least one strikeout in every inning except one (seventh).
"Ryan made two bad pitches today. It's unfortunate because we weren't able to get anything going offensively," said head coach Jim Brownlee. "We weren't able to score, and we just didn't come to play today (Friday)."
The Redbirds had the first scoring opportunity of the game in the top of the third, as Maines reached on an error to start the threat. Freshman Kevin Tokarski was then hit by a pitch to move Maines into scoring position with two outs; however, both runners were left stranded after junior Kevin Dubler struck out looking to end the threat. The Redbirds would get their first hit in the top of the fourth, as Stalowy singled up the middle with two outs, but was left stranded again due to a Redbird strikeout.
The Sycamores were the first team to strike on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, as centerfielder Chris Schmidt hit a triple to the gap in right centerfield with one out and scored on a single to right from Brady Shoemaker. The Sycamore leftfielder moved into scoring position when he stole second and designated hitter Brian Oliver delivered a double to right center to score another run. The Sycamores put runners on the corners with another single, but the Redbirds got the lead runner on a fielder's choice at the plate and Konsler made a full-extension, diving catch in foul territory to end the threat.
The Redbirds continued to struggle at the plate, as Manus retired Illinois State in order in the fourth and sixth innings. The `Birds got their second hit in the top of the seventh, as Konsler led off with a line-drive up the middle for a single. But Illinois State couldn't move him into scoring position, as the next three batters were retired to end the inning.
The Sycamores widened their margin to 4-0, after Copeland surrendered a leadoff single and first baseman Brian Jett followed with a two-run home run to right field. Freshman Kyle Nelson then came into the game and kept the `Birds in contention, as he threw two innings of scoreless relief.
Manus labored through the final two innings, as Illinois State put two runners on with two out in the ninth. Stalowy walked and moved into scoring position on a single from Konsler. But Manus forced freshman Ronnie Calvird to pop out to centerfield to end the threat and the game.