Despite plating a run first in the second inning during a mid-week matchup between central Illinois rivals Illinois State and the University of Illinois, the Redbird baseball team fell to the Illini in a 6-1 decision Wednesday afternoon at Illinois Field in Champaign.
The Redbirds compiled eight hits in the defeat and Cam Verbeke made his first-collegiate start on the mound, allowing three earned runs on five hits in 2.2 innings of work.
Illinois’ J.D. Nielsen retired three batters in two scoreless innings for the Illini en route to his first season victory.
Mike Hollenbeck stretched his on-base streak to 22-consective games with a leadoff single. Logan Leverett followed with a single and Brian Rodemoyer was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out in the second inning. Dennis Colon then drew a bases-loaded walk to give ISU its lone run and only lead of the game at 1-0.
The Illini took the permanent lead in the third frame, scoring first on a run-scoring groundout, then second on a two-run double off of Verbeke to extend Illinois’ lead to 3-1.
Steve Heilenbach and Ben Hecht gave the Redbirds 3.1 scoreless innings of relief before the Illini added two runs in the seventh frame and one run in the ninth inning to conclude the ball game.
The Redbirds will resume Missouri Valley Conference play Friday night at Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind.