|Redbirds suffer 3-2 loss to No. 13 Purdue|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2012 19:44|
Designated hitter Matt Mirabal’s family sang the seventh-inning stretch and was on hand to watch the senior’s 2-for-4 effort with one of the two total Illinois State RBIs on the day, but the Mirabals were not fortunate enough to witness an ISU victory.
ISU (22-15) was unsuccessful in its attempt to defeat a ranked team for the first time in five seasons, falling to No. 13 Purdue (32-6), 3-2, Tuesday at Duffy Bass Field.
“They only had one more hit than we did and that’s the difference in a one-run game,” ISU head coach Mark Kingston said.
Junior third baseman Zac Johnson (2-for-4) and Mirabal were the only two ISU batters on the day to register multiple hits.
PU junior starting pitcher Robert Ramer (5-0) gave up just one run in five innings on the mound. Senior Calvin Gunter threw three innings of relief, giving up one run. Purdue junior designated hitter Kevin Plawecki accounted for all three of his squad’s runs.
Purdue scored first in the second inning when sophomore catcher Sean McHugh singled to plate Plawecki. But the Redbirds responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Mike Hollenbeck, scoring junior first baseman Kyle Stanton to even the score, 1-1.
The Boilermakers tallied a pair of runs in the fourth on a long ball from Plawecki to gain a 3-1 advantage.
“I didn’t really think it was too bad of a pitch and I left it down,” starting pitcher Brad Sorkin said. “That’s going to happen and [Plawecki] is a really good hitter.”
From there, ISU and PU posted goose eggs on the scoreboard between the bottom of the fourth and top of the eighth.
The Redbirds scored their first run in six innings on Mirabal’s single, driving home junior third baseman Zac Johnson to close the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth.
The ’Birds got a runner in scoring position in the ninth when junior center fielder Chad Hinshaw was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, but senior left fielder Ty Wiesemeyer flied out and senior second baseman Kevin Tokarski struck out swinging to end the game. ISU left a total of 10 men on base in the contest.
“We had plenty of opportunities to get one or two more runs, but we just didn’t take advantage of it,” Kingston said.
The ISU defense came up big with double plays to prevent more runs from being scored throughout the game.
“That was amazing with Brett Kay and Tokarski up the middle,” Sorkin said. “You can’t ask for a better one-two combination up the middle. I knew if I could get [Purdue] to hit ground balls, [Kay and Tokarski] would be right there for me.”
Purdue was able to overcome an off-day in the field and still pick up the victory, despite committing three errors.
With its non-conference slate against Big Ten opponents complete, ISU finished at .500 with a 2-2 record. The Redbirds defeated Iowa Mar. 11 and split its two games with Illinois.
The Redbirds travel to Omaha, Neb., to face off against the Creighton Bluejays Friday through Sunday. ISU currently sits in seventh place out of eight teams in the Valley with a 4-7 mark, while Creighton is in dead last with a 2-10 conference record.