Redbirds Score Five Runs In 10th Inning To Post 7-3 Win Over UNI
April 8, 2007
WATERLOO, Iowa - With two games in the book on the weekend Missouri Valley Conference baseball series between Illinois State and Northern Iowa ties at 1-1, it all came down to Sunday's finale of the three-game set to break the series tie. It took ISU (14-15, 5-4 MVC) 10 innings, but the Redbirds pulled out a 7-3 extra-inning victory over UNI (12-16, 2-7 MVC) to win the crucial road series 2-1 at Waterloo Riverfront Stadium.
Senior Kyle O'Brien (3-1) earned the win for the Redbirds, after giving up just one earned run and striking out three Panther hitters in three innings in relief of starter Mike Hlavacek. UNI reliever Tim Flattery (1-1) suffered the loss for the Panthers, after he allowed four runs in three innings of work.
Illinois State head coach Jim Brownlee was encouraged by the way his team battled on Sunday.
"Winning a road series in the Valley is an accomplishment for any team and it was a great win for us today," said Brownlee. "Our kids were really mentally tough today and that's what we told them they needed to be to win this game today. I'm also really excited for Mike Hlavacek because he's worked really hard and he stepped up today as a senior when we needed him. These wins are something we can really build on, especially heading into our upcoming home stand."
UNI took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a RBI double by Eric Hoffman that scored Deric Manrique from first base. After a scoreless second inning, the Redbirds took the lead at 2-1 in the top of the third inning with a little help from the Panthers. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Jesse Griswold singled into right field to score Ryan Anetsberger from third and then a bobble in the outfield by UNI right fielder Dane Embury allowed Kevin Dubler to come around and score from second base for the second run of the inning.
The Panthers came right back and tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the third inning as an error by ISU shortstop Mike Stalowy on an Embury grounder allowed Gabe Schultz to score from third base. The score would stay knotted at 2-2, thanks to strong pitching performances for both teams, through the next six innings to send the contest into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, though, the Redbirds would break out with five runs on four hits and a costly error to go up 7-2. With runners on first and second and one out, Matt Bolt singled into right field and advanced to second on a throw home as Collin Salzenstein from second base to put ISU up 3-2. After Kyle Cherney was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Ryan Anetsberger blooped a single over first base to score Bolt and Mike Tokarski to make the score 5-2 in favor of ISU.
After pinch runner Cole Marty was thrown out trying to steal second base, Dubler walked and then stole second, which allowed Cherney to scamper home for the sixth run of the inning. Griswold then walked and O'Brien laced a RBI single to score Dubler from second base to make the score 7-2 headed into the bottom of the inning. UNI would get a run back off O'Brien in the bottom of the 10th inning, but it was not enough as the `Birds held on for the 7-3 victory.
Bolt and O'Brien each chipped in two hits for the Redbirds, while Anetsberger led the way with two walks and two RBI. Illinois State returns to action on Tuesday, April 10, at home against the Northern Illinois Huskies at 6 p.m. NIU won the first game of the home-and-home series this season, 8-6, on April 3 in DeKalb, Ill.