Redbirds Beat Evansville in 12 Innings; Clinch No. 4 Seed
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May 19, 2012
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Illinois State rallied from three runs down to tie Saturday's game against Evansville in the ninth inning, and the Redbirds later beat Evansville, 8-7, in the 12th. Ty Wiesemeyer drove in the winning run, to help ISU secure the No. 4 seed in next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
"I'm glad that we got the big hits when we needed them today," Redbird head coach Mark Kingston said. "This team never gives up. Even though we were down, we just kept getting after it, and then it turned around for us."
With the win, ISU finished the regular season with a 31-17 overall record, and a 10-9 mark in the MVC. Illinois State finished fourth in the Valley and clinched the No. 4 seed in next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship hosted by Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. Evansville finished 31-25 and 10-11 in the Valley, and the Purple Aces received the No. 5 tournament seed. Illinois State will face Evansville again Tuesday, May 22, at 9 a.m. at Hammons Field in game one of the conference tournament.
Redbird reliever Jeremy Rhoades (4-3) pitched ISU to its extra-inning victory Saturday afternoon. He threw five shutout innings with four hits and one strikeout. Meanwhile, Evansville's James Kohler (0-2) suffered the loss. Illinois State starter Brad Sorkin lasted the first 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits. Offensively, four Redbirds collected two hits.
After three scoreless innings, Evansville took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. However, Illinois State responded with a four-run sixth inning, consisting of an RBI single by Kyle Stanton, a walk drawn by Mike Hollenbeck with the bases loaded to force in a run, a fielder's choice hit into by Chad Hinshaw to drive in one, and a balk charged to Evansville pitcher Jake Naumann to force home another run.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Evansville gained a 7-4 advantage with five more runs. Following two ensuing shutout innings, the Redbirds rallied in the ninth to tie the game. Matt Mirabal singled with one out and scored on a groundout by Eric Aguilera. Kyle Stanton followed with a walk to load the bases, and Hollenbeck singled through the right side to plate two runs, tying the game, 7-7. In the bottom of the ninth, Evansville loaded the bases with just one out, but the Redbirds prevented the Purple Aces from winning, as Wiesemeyer caught a fly ball hit to left field by Trentt Copeland, and he threw out Jordan Chavis at the plate, as he attempted to score on Mirabal.
Following two more scoreless innings, Bryan Huff led off the 12th with a single up the middle. Huff then stole second base, and Wiesemeyer drove him home with a double to left. Rhoades and the Redbirds did not allow Evansville to score in the bottom of the 12th, as ISU held on to win its regular-season finale.
The Redbirds will begin play in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship Tuesday at 9 a.m. against Evansville, with live play-by-play audio available on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com. Additionally, a live video stream is scheduled to air on the Missouri Valley Conference website, MVC-sports.com.
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