Redbird Baseball Opens 112th Season At Memphis

Feb. 14, 2012

Illinois State at Memphis | Feb. 15-17
Location: Memphis, Tenn. (FedExPark, 2,000)
Friday 2/15: 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 2/16: 2:00 p.m.
Sunday 2/17: 1:00 p.m.
Game Notes: Illinois State
AudioNow: 213.493.0197 (Listen to play-by-play via landline or cellular phone without using data)
The Coach Kingston Show: Audio Here

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 Redbirds open the 2013 season following their third-consecutive 30-plus win campaign, as they completed 2012, 33-19. The Redbirds went 10-9 in Missouri Valley Conference contests, finishing in fourth place. Illinois State returns 21 lettermen from last year's team, including six starters from an offense that averaged 6.9 runs-per-game, good for 12th best in NCAA Division I baseball.

Memphis opens its 100th season of college competition following a 31-28 record last year. The Tigers ended the regular season winning 10 of their final 12 games to qualify for the Conference USA tournament. After winning the first two games in conference tournament play, Memphis fell to Houston and UAB to close its season.

Illinois State is guided by fourth-year head coach Mark Kingston, who earned his 100th career victory in opening round action of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Championship. Kingston sports a 101-61 overall record.

The Tigers are led by veteran coach Daron Schoenrock, who is in his ninth season at the helm of the Memphis program. Schoenrock has amassed a 207-250 record at Memphis and is 233-302 overall as a college head coach. Memphis last made a NCAA appearance in 2007.

This weekend, senior right-hander Brad Sorkin (4-3, 4.31 ERA in 2012) takes the mound Friday for Illinois State and will face junior lefty Sam Moll (5-5, 3.48 ERA in 2012). Saturday pits sophomore Redbird southpaw Dylan Craig (8-4, 4.84 in 2012) versus Memphis lefty Erik Schoenrock (2-2, 5.33 ERA in 2012). The series-finale will feature Redbird right-hander Dan Savas (DNP, Redshirt in 2012) versus junior college transfer Alex Gunn (DNP in D-I in 2012).

This weekend's series will take place Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Opposition: Memphis (31-28, 14-10 Conference USA)
• The University of Memphis is located in Memphis, Tenn. The Tigers are members of Conference USA.
• Memphis went 31-28 last year and finished 14-10 (third) in C-USA competition.
• UM was picked to finish sixth in the C-USA preseason poll.
• UM is coached by Daron Schoenrock, who is in his ninth season as head coach. Schoenrock holds a 207-250 record at Memphis, and is 233-302 all-time as a head coach.
• Illinois State is 5-20 all-time versus Memphis and the two teams last met in 2007.

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 35-man roster features 18 upperclassmen, comprised of nine juniors and nine seniors. 12 players are junior college transfers, including five from Heartland Community College, which is located one mile north of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill.

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.

GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.