|ISU baseball ends season at 33-19|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 17:13|
The end of the Illinois State baseball team’s season marks the end of collegiate baseball careers for nine Redbirds.
Despite sitting four spots ahead of No. 8 Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference seeding, ISU was eliminated from the State Farm MVC tournament in late May after falling to the Bluejays 10-3. The ’Birds ended the tournament 2-2 and just one-game shy of making it to the MVC tournament’s championship title game.
"[The seniors have] been so important to our program," head coach Mark Kingston said. "We have a couple future Hall-of-Famers in that group, and just guys that have meant so much to their teammates, to their coaching staff, to this school, to the community—we can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done. We wish them all the best."
Kyle Stanton and Chad Hinshaw led ISU offensively in the evening game with 2-for-3 performances at the plate. Stanton also scored two runs, while Hinshaw recorded two RBIs.
Senior Ty Wiesemeyer went 2-for-4 and contributed one RBI in his final collegiate game as an ISU Redbird.
However, despite the Redbirds’ offensive action, they were unable to fend off the Bluejays. After allowing two earned runs on eight hits throughout 4.2 innings, Jeremy Rhoades suffered the loss for ISU.
ISU opened the MVC tournament on a strong note however, with a 10-3 victory over Evansville, marking Kingston’s 100th victory as ISU’s third-year head coach.
But, an 11-5 loss to Creighton in game two forced ISU into the loser’s bracket to face Evansville for a second bout in the tournament.
In an extra 10th inning, Hinshaw hit the go-ahead home run, giving ISU the 5-4, come-from-behind victory against Evansville in the Redbirds’ third showcase in the MVC tourney.
Prior to the MVC tournament, outfielder Eric Aguilera, third baseman Zac Johnson, and senior relief pitcher Kenny Long were named to the 2012 All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team.
Additionally, Hauer, Wiesemeyer, Hinshaw, catcher Matt Mirabal, and second baseman Kevin Tokarski all received honorable mentions.
Hinshaw was also named to the Valley All-Defensive team, the MVC All-Tournament team, and the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team.
"These players have all worked extremely hard, and it’s good to see that their efforts have been recognized by our league’s coaches," Kingston said. "The Valley has become an elite conference, mainly because there are so many great players in it, and we are proud to contribute to the league’s rise."
Despite enduring a season plagued with injuries and adversities, the Redbirds finished with a 33-19 record, marking the first time in program history in which the baseball team has recorded three-consecutive 30 win seasons.
"There are very few teams in the country that could have dealt with the amount of injuries and adversities that we did this year and still go 33-19," Kingston said. "We don’t want to just have a good team; we want to have a good program. I think that shows that we are now starting to really get consistent with being a team that you have to really worry about if you’re an opponent. We want to continue to build on that."