Savas, Redbirds Blank SIU, 2-0, Earn Share of MVC Crown
MAY 17, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Sophomore right-hander Dan Savas worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, firing his fourth complete game of the season, as Illinois State (35-18, 15-5 MVC) shutout Southern Illinois (24-30, 6-14 MVC), 2-0 Saturday afternoon at Abe Martin Field to clinch a share of the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title. It marks the Redbirds first Valley championship since 2010, both of which have come under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Mark Kingston.
With a victory Saturday, the Redbirds will win an outright Missouri Valley Conference championship for the first time in program history. It would also secure a 36-win season, matching the Redbird program-record for most wins in a single season, set by Kingston’s 2011 squad. A victory over the Salukis would also award the Redbirds the top seed in next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Championship, which the Redbirds are hosting for the first time in program history, May 21-25, at Duffy Bass Field.
Savas’ complete-game gem came on the heels of Chris Razo’s fifth complete-game victory Thursday at SIU. Savas (9-0), allowed no runs on four hits, with a season-best eight strike outs and six walks. With nine victories, Savas ties Steve Hecker and Corey Maines for the most single-season wins by a pitcher since ISU baseball became a NCAA Division I baseball program.
SIU starter Sam Coonrod (3-5) suffered the loss, allowing two runs, one earned on two hits over six innings.
The Redbirds scored first, collecting a pair of runs without a hit in the top of the first inning. Brett Kay opened the frame with a walk and advanced to second when Chad Hinshaw reached on catcher’s interference. A wild pitched moved both runners into scoring position with no outs. Zac Johnson grounded out to second, scoring Kay from first to make it 1-0 Redbirds. Eric Aguilera followed with a sacrifice-fly to make it 2-0, capping the scoring in the first.
At one point Savas retired 10-consecutive batters, cruising into the ninth inning with six strike outs. In the ninth, SIU loaded the bases with one out. With closer Jeremy Rhoades warming in the bullpen, the Redbirds stuck with Savas, who induced a Luke Mottashed flyout to center for out number two. Savas then struck out pinch-hitter Brock Harding to secure the win.
Hinshaw collected an additional milestone in the victory. With one out in the eighth and Hinshaw at first base, the Redbird senior outfielder successfully stole second base, surpassing Kevin Tokarski to become the Redbird all-time leader in career stolen bases with 106. Hinshaw is 30-for-34 on the season.
The three-game MVC series concludes Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch from Abe Martin Field. Live radio will be available on GoRedbirds.com, WJBC.com and WZND 103.3-FM. Additionally, live video is available through RedbirdHD.TV.
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