Dubler Breaks Doubles Record; Redbirds Fall to WMU in Extras
May 13, 2008
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Junior Kevin Dubler broke the single-season doubles record, while senior Kyle Cherney hit his fifth home run of the season, but it wasn't enough. The Illinois State baseball team (22-27) fell in 10 innings, 5-4, to Western Michigan in a non-conference game Tuesday afternoon at Hyames Field. The Redbirds played their second-straight extra-inning affair, and dropped to 3-3 on the year when playing extra innings.
Dubler finished the game 2-for-4, which included his 23rd double of the year. Dubler passed former Redbird Greg Mote, who hit 22 doubles in 1994. Cherney also had a productive day, as the third baseman went 2-for-4 with three RBI. The Redbirds had four players collect two hits, as freshman Ronnie Calvird batted 2-for-5 with a double and junior Justin Rahn went 2-for-5 with two singles. But Illinois State was unable to bring home runners once they reached base, as the `Birds stranded 11 runners on the day.
Junior Quinn Ewert (0-1) suffered the loss, as the right-hander gave up a walk-off home run to first baseman Matthew Abro with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning. Ewert allowed one run on three hits, while he walked one and struck out one in 3.1 innings of work. The Redbirds used four pitchers in the game, as sophomore Jacob Wielebnicki threw the first two innings and allowed three runs on three hits. Freshman Ben Hays was solid in his two scoreless innings of work, as the right-hander allowed only one hit. Redshirt freshman Christopher Newsome also threw two innings and surrendered one run on three hits, while striking out two.
"We got a huge hit out of Cherney when he hit a three-run home run. I thought that would have sparked our team" said head coach Jim Brownlee. "We left 11 runners on base. We couldn't get any timely hitting, which has plagued our team all season. We pitched alright for a midweek game, and Ben Hays had a good outing. That bodes well for next season. But we hit two batters in the game, and both of those runners scored. We also booted a routine double-play ball. You have to do the little things to win.
"Dubler is a doubles machine, he has a sweet swing," added Brownlee. "It is good for him, and I think that he is entitled to it. He's got a chance to break the career doubles record, and he's going up against a guy that had four years to do it. It's a well-deserved honor for Kevin, and he's been able to hit ever since he stepped on campus."
The Broncos were able to get on the board in the bottom half of the first, as Wielebnicki plunked a batter and surrendered back-to-back two-out doubles to give WMU an early 2-0 lead. But the Redbirds came back in the top of the second, as sophomore Anthony Ruffolo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Cherney moved Ruffolo to third on a line-drive single to right field, and senior Kevin Konsler brought him home on a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the deficit to one, 2-1.
Western Michigan threatened again in the bottom half of the second, as Wielebnicki hit another batter with one out. The Broncos had another runner reach base on an error, and second baseman Zach Gentile delivered a single to left field to bring home a run (3-1). However, Gentile tried to stretch the single into a double, and the Redbirds alertly relayed the ball into second to tag Gentile out on the play, which helped end the threat.
The Redbirds were able to put together another scoring threat in the top of the third, as freshman Kevin Tokarski reached on an error and Dubler and Cherney followed with walks to load the bases. However, the Redbirds could not cut into the Broncos' margin, as Western Michigan got out of the inning when Konsler struck out on a foul tip to end the threat. Western Michigan added another run in the bottom of the fifth, as Newsome gave up a leadoff triple to Gentile, who later scored on an RBI groundout.
The Redbirds were unable to put together another rally until the top of the seventh, as junior Mike Stalowy started things off with a one-out walk. Ruffolo followed with a hard-hit single to the WMU shortstop to move Stalowy into scoring position. Cherney then delivered, as the third baseman took a 3-2 pitch and drove it deep over the right field wall for a three-run shot, which tied the game at 4-4. Konsler kept the rally alive with a single to the left side, and moved into scoring position on a balk from WMU reliever Drew Mahan. Konsler moved 90 feet closer when he stole third base uncontested, but would be left stranded when Calvird grounded out to third to end the inning.
Ewert then entered the game and was effective on the mound, as he surrendered only one hit in two innings of scoreless relief to keep the Redbirds in the ballgame heading into the ninth inning. Dubler got the rally started in the ninth, when he hit his record-breaking double down the right field line with only one out. But Dubler would be left stranded, as the next two Redbird hitters flied out to centerfield to end another scoring opportunity.
Ewert ran into trouble in the bottom half of the ninth, as shortstop Grant Simotes roped a one-out double into the left centerfield gap. After the Redbirds intentionally walked Gentile, Ewert buckled down and forced centerfielder Kyle Galbraith to hit into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play to push the game into extra-innings. But Western Michigan would finally get the best of Ewert with one out in the bottom of the 10th, as Abro hit a deep fly ball to centerfield that landed over the wall for a game-winning round-tripper.
The Redbirds will head to Terre Haute, Ind., to play Indiana State in a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. CST. 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.