Despite trailing in game three, Illinois State’s baseball team rallied for a comeback victory and clinched the weekend series sweep against Southern Illinois University.
Game One: ISU 3, SIU 2
Brock Stewart worked a career-high 3.2 relief innings on Friday, helping ISU (29-12, 10-5 MVC) to a 3-2 victory over Southern Illinois (21-23, 3-12 MVC).
A bases-loaded walk by Mike Hollenbeck in the bottom of the 12th inning capped a walk-off ISU victory.
Stewart, who was ticketed with the victory, worked the final scoreless innings, retiring 11-of-12 batters, leading to his second victory of the season,.
Dan Savas worked a no-decision for the Redbirds and pitched 8.1 innings and managed a season-best 11 strikeouts.
Southern Illinois managed a single in the fifth inning, but with men on second and third, Savas was able to strikeout Will Farmer and Dyllin Mucha to end the inning.
Paul DeJong responded with a two-run homer, marking his seventh home run of the season and second in Valley play.
SIU tied the score in the sixth and the tie was maintained until Daniel Dwyer’s single to left advanced Sean Beesley to third, followed by a DeJong walk in front of Hollenbeck, who drew a 3-2 pitch in the dirt to clinch the victory.
Game Two: ISU 2, SIU 1
ISU’s second game against Southern Illinois resulted in a 15 inning battle before the Redbirds were able to top the Salukis in a 2-1 decision.
David Suarez worked a career-best 6.1 innings through the harsh wind and tallied a career-high seven strikeouts, earning him the win.
SIU’s Todd Eaton retired the first 11 batters before allowing a two-out solo home run to DeJong.
Dennis Colon’s one out sacrifice fly brought Jack Czeszewski home, setting off an infield celebration and marking Illinois State’s season-best 16th game over .500.
“All four pitchers in that game are very talented and they’re very competitive and made big pitches all night so I tip my cap to them,” ISU head coach Mark Kingston said.
Game Three: ISU 4, SIU 3
Due to impending thunderstorms, game three of the Illinois State baseball team’s series against Southern Illinois was moved to a 12 p.m. start time, leading the Redbirds to an earlier 4-3 victory.
At Duffy Bass Field on Sunday, the Redbirds were off to a slow start, trailing behind Southern Illinois for most of the game.
However, thanks to a late kick in momentum, ISU was able to overcome the Salukis and sweep the weekend series.
“It’s been tough to score this weekend for both teams, that’s the obvious understatement of the year for us,” Kingston said. “At the end, you just have to try to scrap and find a way and that’s what we did.”
After Sunday’s game, Illinois State players, coaches and support staff hosted their second annual Vs.-Cancer event during which participants shaved their heads.
The Redbirds continue with a non-conference home game against Purdue at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.