Tokarski, Calvird Lift Redbirds in Extra-Innings, 9-8
March 8, 2008
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After a back-and-forth game which could not be decided in regulation, freshmen Kevin Tokarski and Ronnie Calvird provided the spark in extra-innings, as the Illinois State baseball team (4-3) defeated Bethune-Cookman, 9-8, in 10 innings in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Tokarski and Calvird finished the game with two hits apiece, as Calvird's second hit scored the eventual game-winning run in Tokarski, in the top of the 10th inning.
After the Redbirds were able to get out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth, Tokarski led off the 10th inning with a hard-hit single up the middle. Junior Mike Stalowy advanced Tokarski to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Tokarski advanced to third when the throw to second got away from the Wildcats' shortstop. Calvird then surprised the defense with an effectively designed squeeze bunt, scoring Tokarski easily as Calvird singled.
Senior Eric Theisen, who came into the game with one out in the ninth, secured the Redbirds' victory as he shut down Bethune-Cookman's batters in order in the bottom half of the frame. Theisen (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, after junior Jim Sajewich (0-0) threw five innings and surrendered seven runs on seven hits.
The Redbirds got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second. After senior Kyle Cherney led off the frame with a walk, sophomore Dan Weston singled to centerfield. Weston, who recorded a hit in his first at-bat of the season, brought home Cherney, as the Wildcats' centerfield bobbled the ball as he tried to throw to home. Stalowy then plated two more runs, as the Joliet, Ill., native roped a two-RBI triple into the right field corner. Stalowy's triple was the fourth of his career.
Bethune-Cookman came back in the bottom half of the frame, as left fielder Patrick Jones hit a single with two runners on and two outs. Jones brought home one run, but Weston made another big play, as he threw a strike to catcher Kevin Dubler, who tagged out the second runner at the plate to preserve the lead.
The Redbirds added another run in the top of the third. Sophomore Gabe DeMarco hit a fly ball to right field that appeared to be a routine play for the right fielder. However, the wind continued to carry the ball, all the way over the right field wall, and DeMarco rounded the bases for his second home run of the season and his career.
The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the third, as first baseman Osvaldo Torres hit a two-run home run to right field. Bethune-Cookman then captured the lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on two doubles.
Illinois State continued to battle, and tied the game at 7-7, when freshman Corey Maines was hit by a pitch to open up the sixth inning, and Weston followed with a single. Sophomore Cole Marty drilled an RBI single to centerfield to score Maines and put runners on second and third. Tokarski recorded his fourth RBI of the season on a squeeze bunt, and Weston scored on a wild pitch from Wildcat starting pitcher Hiram Burgos.
After the Wildcats re-took the lead on a home run by shortstop José Lazada, the Redbirds pushed across another run to tie the game. With two runners on base, two outs and a 3-2 count, Dubler delivered. The Downers Grove, Ill. native hit a single through the left side of the infield to score Tokarski from second base and put the game in an 8-8 deadlock.
The Redbirds will be playing in the second half of Saturday's doubleheader at approximately 3:15 p.m. EST.