Redbirds Host Fighting Illini Tuesday Afternoon
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March 26, 2012
The Illinois State baseball team will conclude its season-opening homestand with a non-conference, mid-week game against in-state rival Illinois, Tuesday, at 4:30 p.m.
While admission is free to every game at Duffy Bass Field this season, including Tuesday’s game versus Illinois, the first 250 students to arrive are invited to join a free cookout, complimentary of Red Alert, the official student spirit group of ISU Athletics.
The Redbirds will try to win their third-straight game after beating MacMurray, 8-0, and Webster, 6-2, last weekend. The Fighting Illini are coming off of a 1-3 series defeat at Nebraska to open Big Ten Conference play last weekend.
“This will be a matchup of two good baseball programs,” Illinois State head baseball coach Mark Kingston said. “We’re hoping to have a good crowd, and I want us to play the kind of blue-collar baseball that people want to come out and see.”
Illinois won the Big Ten title last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Fighting Illini are 11-9 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten this season, while the Redbirds are 15-6. Illinois State opens Missouri Valley Conference competition Friday at Indiana State.
Zac Johnson enters Friday’s game on a team-best seven-game on-base streak following a 4-for-6 performance over the weekend. Johnson ranks third on the team with a .350 average. Ty Wiesemeyer still leads the Redbirds with a .392 batting average. Meanwhile, Illinois’ top hitter is Jordan Parr, who is batting .373.
The Fighting Illini are scheduled to start right-hander John Kravetz (3-1), who has a 4.13 ERA with a team-high 20 strikeouts. Illinois State’s starter has not yet been determined.
Tuesday’s game marks the 76th meeting between the two schools, with Illinois leading the all-time series, 44-31. The Fighting Illini won last year’s lone matchup, 14-2, on Mar. 30, 2011.GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.