The Redbirds will play for the first time on a new FieldTurf infield surface.
March 22, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - After five weeks of road or neutral-site contests, the Illinois State Redbirds (10-9, 0-0 MVC) open Duffy Bass Field this weekend with a three game series versus Eastern Illinois, March 22-23. Game one opens Friday with a 3:00 p.m. first pitch and Saturday will consist of two, nine-inning games between the Redbirds and the Panthers (4-14, 0-5 OVC), with the first game starting at noon.
The Redbirds enter play on a season-best four-game winning streak, following Tuesday's 5-0 shutout win at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It marked the second shutout in three games for the Redbird pitching staff. Brock Stewart and Kyle Stanton launched home runs and JD Learnard earned his first victory of the season. Illinois State has won eight of its last 11 contests under fourth-year head coach Mark Kingston.
Eastern Illinois snapped a nine-game losing streak with an 11-7 midweek victory over Southern Illinois. The Panthers are led by veteran head coach Jim Schmitz.
Illinois State is averaging better than five runs-per-game and is hitting .268/.353/.394 as a team. Eric Aguilera leads the team in batting average (.342) and slugging percentage (.500), while Kyle Stanton owns the team-lead in on-base percentage (.405). Two Redbirds have collected at least three home runs and four players have better than 15 RBI.
The Panthers hit .247/.327/.315 as a team and average better than four runs-per-game. Nathan Sopena leads the team in hitting (.311) and Treysen Vavra has two home runs.
Dan Savas (2-0, 2.39 ERA) faces Andrew Grahn (0-2, 5.92 ERA) in the opener. On Saturday, Chris Razo (0-0, 1.93 ERA) battles Joe Greenfield (1-2, 3.90 ERA) in game one of the doubleheader while senior Brad Sorkin (4-1, 3.48 ERA) opposes Matt Borens (0-3, 4.45) in the finale.
Tickets to all games this season at Duffy Bass Field are free.
The Opposition: Eastern Illinois University Panthers (4-14, 0-5 OVC)
Eastern Illinois University is located in Charleston, Ill. The public university was established in 1895 and currently enrolls 11,651 students.
The Panthers have been members of the Ohio Valley Conference since 1996.
EIU's first season of baseball was 1904.
The Panthers are guided by veteran head coach Jim Schmitz, who is in his 19th season as the head coach of the baseball program. He owns a career record of 479-499.
EIU went 29-29 in 2012 and finished fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference with a conference record of 15-11.
Illinois State is 81-85-1 all-time versus EIU and first played the Panthers in 1907.
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