Pitcher's Duel Falls In Favor Of Evansville, ISU Defeated 2-1
April 21, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - For the second-straight game, pitching was at the forefront in the Missouri Valley Conference baseball series between Illinois State and Evansville. Despite a strong effort on the mound by the Redbirds (16-20, 7-7 MVC), the Purple Aces (28-13, 9-5 MVC) pulled out a 2-1 victory courtesy of some strong pitching on their own on Saturday at Redbird Field.
Senior Mike Hlavacek (2-1) suffered the tough loss for the Redbirds, as he allowed just two earned runs on nine hits in seven strong innings on the mound. Kyle O'Brien also pitched well in relief, as he held the Aces scoreless in two innings of work to finish the game. Evansville starter Kai Tuomi (8-1) struggled a bit with his command as he walked five batters, but ISU was not able to capitalize and the left-hander held the `Birds to just one earned run and seven hits in seven innings of work.
Evansville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Kirk Bacsu RBI single that scored Kern Watts from second base. The Redbirds then had a chance to come back in the bottom of the second inning, as they loaded the bases with just one out. However, Kevin Dubler, who led off the inning with a double, was thrown out at home while trying to score on a Kyle Cherney grounder for the second out and Mike Tokarski flew out to end the threat.
The Purple Aces would then tack on their second run of the game in the top of the sixth inning, courtesy of a Jared Baehl RBI single, to take a 2-0 advantage. Once again the `Birds had a chance to answer, but they stranded two runners on base in the bottom half of the frame and the lead stayed at two for Evansville.
ISU cut into the Evansville lead in the bottom of the seventh and brought the score to 2-1. With runners on first and second and one out, Matt Bolt singled sharply into left field to load the bases for the Redbirds. Dubler then singled into short right field to score Collin Salzenstein from third base for the first run of the inning. With the bases still loaded and just one out, Jesse Griswold grounded into a 4-3 double play to end the inning for ISU.
That is where the score would stay, as UE closer Matt Brinkman shut down the Redbirds for the final two innings and picked up his second save of the series for Evansville and his eighth of the season overall. Dubler finished the day 2-for-5 and drove in the lone ISU run, while O'Brien reached base in all four of his plate appearances with three walks and a single.
The finale of the three-game weekend set will take place at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Redbird Field. Freshman Ryan Copeland (2-2) will take the hill for ISU looking to avoid the series sweep.