Redbirds Can't Quiet Hot Illini Bats And Fall 18-4
April 17, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State baseball team knew the Illinois Fighting Illini could hit, as their in-state rivals brought a .327 team batting average into Tuesday's mid-week contest at Redbird Field. However, the Redbirds (16-18) could not stop the strong offensive attack from the Illini (15-14) and a season-high 23 hits helped Illinois defeat ISU by a score of 18-4.
ISU starter Luke Baughman (0-4) suffered the loss, after allowing nine earned runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings of work. U of I starter Aaron Martin (2-2) held the Redbirds to just one run on seven hits in six strong innings, and three other Illini pitchers closed out the win for Martin.
In the top of the second inning, the Illini jumped out to a 5-0 lead courtesy of five hits. Shawn Roof got the scoring started with a RBI single and then Daniel Webb scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. A two-run triple from Normal Community High School product Craig Lutes brought in two more runs to bring the score to 4-0 and he later scored on a passed ball to for the fifth and final run of the inning.
The Illini would tack on four more runs on two hits in the top of the third inning to bring the score to 9-0. After a scoreless fourth inning, two home runs in the top of the fifth inning extended the U of I lead to 13-0. Brandon Wikoff hit a three-run home run to start the scoring and then Lars Davis hit an inside the park home run and to plate the fourth run of the inning. In the top of the sixth inning, it was much of the same as a Mike Rhode three-run triple and a RBI single by pinch-hitter Joe Mercurio added four more runs to the Illini total and brought the score to 17-0.
The Redbirds eventually got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 17-1. Ryan Anetsberger led off the inning with a single and then pinch-hitter Anthony Ruffolo walked to get the inning started. The two base runners then advanced a base on a wild pitch before Tyler McNeely grounded out to third base, which allowed Anetsberger to score the first run of the game for ISU.
ISU would then add two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the score 17-3. With one out in the inning, Mike Stalowy singled and then Mike Tokarski tripled into right-centerfield to plate Stalowy for the first run of the inning. Matt Bolt then grounded out to first base, which allowed Tokarski to score from third.
After Illinois added their 18th and final run in the top of the ninth inning, the Redbirds answered with a run of their own to bring the game to its final of 18-4. A Bolt sacrifice fly to center field allowed Jim Jacquot to score from third base and gave ISU its fourth run on the game.
Stalowy finished with three hits and a run scored for the Redbirds and Bolt led the way with two RBI in the loss. Wikoff and Webb each had three hits for the Illini to pace their productive day at the plate, while Lutes finished the game 3-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBI. Illinois State returns to action on Friday for the first of three games against the Evansville Purple Aces. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Redbird Field.