Illinois State Earns Doubleheader Sweep over Cougars
May 16, 2009
NORMAL, Ill. - If imitation is the best form of flattery, the Illinois State baseball team gave a loud shout out to the members of the Redbirds' 1969 College Division National Championship team in a doubleheader sweep over SIU-Edwardsville Saturday at Duffy Bass Field. Illinois State won game one 11-3 and won the second game 13-4.
Illinois State (23-21, 11-11 MVC) honored its past by recognizing the 40th anniversary of the school's first and only team championship between games - a title run during which the Redbirds dominated their opponents and allowed just two earned runs in the three-game tournament. The current Redbirds did their best impression with 24 runs and 23 hits in a pair of seven-inning contests Saturday.
Evan Kohli went 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored in the doubleheader. Ryan Court was 5-for-8 and hit his fifth home run of the season. Four different Redbirds connected on home runs Saturday afternoon, including Court, Corey Maines, Gabe DeMarco, and Cole Marty - who sent the first of his career out of the yard.
In the first game, Illinois State starter Ryan Camp was tagged for a run in the top of the first inning but the Redbirds responded with five runs in the first - three on a blast by DeMarco. Camp, who was on a limited pitch count, scattered four hits over four innings and walked just one batter while earning his fifth win of the season. Kyle Nelson surrendered two runs in an inning of work and Jim Sajewich retired all six batters he faced over the last two innings.
In game two, the Cougars (14-34) scored two runs in the first and starter Spencer Patton held the Redbirds to one run through three, but an eight-run ISU outburst in the fourth made it 9-2. Ryan Copeland notched his sixth complete game of the season, striking out eight and scattering seven hits over seven innings. Maines, Kohli and Mike Stalowy each drove in three runs for ISU in game two.
Josh Street went 4-for-7 as the Cougars' top hitter. He scored four runs and drove in three, including a solo home run in the first game.
The Redbirds will bid farewell to their senior class - Quinn Ewert, Eric Mahler, Justin Rahn, Collin Salzenstein, and Stalowy - prior to Sunday's 1 p.m. game. Sunday's contest will also be Illinois State head coach Jim Brownlee's last game from Duffy Bass Field, as the 30-year college coaching veteran will retire at the end of the season.
Illinois State will open the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Wednesday, May 20, at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan. The tournament has switched to a two-pod, single championship game format, with each team guaranteed three games.