Redbird Baseball Finishes Regular Season on the Road
May 12, 2008
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Illinois State baseball team will finish its 2008 regular season this week on the road, beginning Tuesday with a non-conference game at Western Michigan at 2 p.m. CST. The Redbirds (22-26, 6-15) will then travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to play Indiana State in a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series, beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. CST.
Though Illinois State was eliminated from contention to qualify for the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, the Redbirds will have a chance to finish the season with a .500 overall record. Head coach Jim Brownlee believes that this week will also provide a chance for the team to end the season on a positive note.
"We want to end the season on a good note for our seniors, as well as for our guys that are coming back next year," said Brownlee. "We beat Indiana State 2-of-3 games last year, and we have a chance to finish seventh in the league. It's a little strange to be not playing for something this weekend, and that's bothersome. But I hope that we play well. We had a nice bounce back in the second game last Saturday against Southern Illinois. I was really proud of our kids, and I hope that we can play like that during these last four games."
The Redbirds will first face Western Michigan, who enters the week at 26-19-1 overall and 11-10 in the Mid-American Conference (West Division). Illinois State will send sophomore Jacob Wielebnicki to the hill to begin the game. Wielebnicki, a right-hander, is 1-0 with a 5.02 earned-run average (ERA). The Redbirds will use a couple of different arms in the game, as freshman Corey Maines, junior Quinn Ewert, freshman Ben Hays and redshirt freshman Christopher Newsome could all see time on the mound.
"I am looking for our returning players to play hard this week. I want them to play with some enthusiasm and do the little things; we haven't always had that this year. We haven't run the bases very well, and we haven't been consistent defensively. It will hurt losing Eric Theisen and Tyler Cox on the mound, but this week will allow some of our younger pitchers to step up and regain my confidence in their abilities. Hopefully those guys will pitch well."
Illinois State will then play Indiana State (14-32), who enters the week tied with the Redbirds in the league standings in seventh place at 6-15. Sophomore Ryan Copeland will look for his fifth win of the season during Thursday's series opener. Copeland stands at 4-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 12 starts. Senior Tyler Cox (4-4), who is also looking for his fifth win of year, will start Friday's game. Cox has posted a 4.15 ERA in eight starts.
All three games at Indiana State can be heard live on the radio, as WJBC AM 1230, Bloomington, will be broadcasting the games. Zach Parcell will handle the play-by-play duties, and fans can follow along by clicking on the "Listen" link, located on the main schedule section at GoRedbirds.com.