|Redbird baseball sweeps Salukis|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 06 May 2012 15:44|
ISU baseball accomplished a feat this weekend for the first time this season. The Redbirds (26-16, 8-8) secured their first conference series sweep of the season with a trio of victories over Southern Illinois (25-23, 9-9) over the weekend at Duffy Bass Field.
ISU 8, SIU 1
The Redbirds drove home eight unanswered runs to get past the Salukis, 8-1, Sunday.
Junior hurler Brad Sorkin (3-3) pitched 7.2 innings and gave up just one run. Senior Justin Hauer recorded 1.1 scoreless innings in relief.
“We had a great game from our pitching staff,” ISU head coach Mark Kingston said. “Our pitching was great all weekend. I think the rest of the team fed off that. When we pitch like that, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Junior right fielder Eric Aguilera (2-for-4), senior second baseman Kevin Tokarski (2-for-4), and junior shortstop Brett Kay (2-for-3) led the Redbirds offensively.
SIU tallied the first score of the contest to take a 1-0 lead in the second, but ISU picked up three runs of its own in the third to go up 3-1.
The Redbirds drove in two additional runs in the fourth to extend their advantage to 5-1. ISU tacked on three more scores to extend its advantage to 8-1 in the sixth.
ISU 5, SIU 3
Despite having an early deficit for the second straight day, the Redbirds pulled it out again, winning 5-3, Saturday.
Freshman starting pitcher Dylan Craig (7-2) threw five innings and gave up three runs, and Hauer and senior Kenny Long provided four innings of scoreless relief. Long recorded his ninth save of the season.
Sophomore catcher Mike Hollenbeck (3-for-4) and junior first baseman Kyle Stanton (2-for-4) were the only two Redbirds to produce multi-hit efforts on the day.
The Salukis scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but just an inning later Aguilera hit a two-run blast to give the Redbirds a 2-1 advantage in the fourth.
“I was just looking for a pitch that was up,” Aguilera said. “He hung a slider [with a] 1-0 [count] and I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.”
SIU regained the lead when it tallied two scores in the fifth to go up 3-2. ISU concluded the day’s scoring with a three-run fifth to take it, 5-3.
ISU 3, SIU 2
The Redbirds only managed just one hit through the first seven innings of play, but exhibited late-game heroics to take Friday’s series opener, 3-2.
Junior Chris Razo put in seven innings of work on the mound, surrendering just one run.
“It all started with Chris Razo and he gave us a tremendous start,” Kingston said.
Hauer (3-1) pitched one scoreless inning out of the bullpen to pick up the victory. Aguilera headed the ’Birds offensive display with a 2-for-3 effort.
The Salukis jumped ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning. After that, ISU and SIU produced scoreless frames between the bottom of the fourth and top of the eighth. The Redbirds tallied all three of their runs in the eighth to pull ahead 3-1. Tokarski’s single plated junior third baseman Zac Johnson followed by junior center fielder Chad Hinshaw’s single to score Aguilera and Tokarski.
“We just finally found a way to score some runs there at the end,” Kingston said. “The hit and run really sparked us and then Chad Hinshaw got the big [hit].”
SIU got another run across in the top of the ninth to cut its deficit to just one run, 3-2, but that is as close as the Salukis would get.