Redbird Baseball Opens 112th Season At Memphis
Feb. 14, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Illinois State baseball program opens its 112th season of competition with a three-game series at Conference USA foe Memphis, starting with a 4 p.m. first pitch Friday from FedExPark. The weekend trip to Tennessee marks the first of three-consecutive weekends Illinois State visits the Volunteer state. .
The Opposition: Memphis (31-28, 14-10 Conference USA)
2013 Season Preview: Illinois State returns 21 lettermen from a team that went 33-19 in 2012. Six starters return for an offense that averaged nearly seven runs-per-game last season. 12 pitchers also return to a staff that was injury-plagued in 2012. Additionally, 14 newcomers have been added to the roster.
The 2013 schedule features seven 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Ausin Peay, Belmont, Creighton, Indiana State, Miami, Missouri State and Purdue) in addition to three teams that won at least 30 games (Memphis, Evansville and Southern Illinois). Illinois State will play a program-record 29 games at Duffy Bass Field and host the Missouri Valley Conference Championship for the first time in program history.
Redbirds Selected Third in Preseason MVC Coaches' Poll: The Illinois State baseball team was selected to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference, according to the MVC Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll released by the Valley offices in January. The Redbirds received 45 total votes, tied with Indiana State for third-highest in the conference. Missouri State was the preseason favorites with 60 points and Wichita State was tabbed second with 47 total points. Illinois State did receive one first-place vote.
Illinois State Earns Multiple MVC Preseason Honors:Redbird seniors Eric Aguilera, Brett Kay and Zac Johnson were all named All-Missouri Valley Conference Preseason First-Team selections in the MVC Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll.
Aguilera appeared in 52 games in 2012 and made 49 starts. The outfielder batted .330/.355/.483 with a team-leading seven home runs. The Cary, Ill., native added eight doubles, one triple and collected 36 RBI. Aguilera led the entire Missouri Valley Conference with a .407 batting average in Valley games.
Kay made 41 starts at shortstop and batted .269/.329/.343 with two home runs, 16 RBI and 33 runs scored. He also led the team with 11 sacrifice bunts and stole 14-of-16 (88%) bases.
Johnson, a transfer from Heartland Community College, started 50 games and batted .323/.396/.516 with six home runs and 43 RBI. He led the Redbirds with 15 doubles.
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