|ISU baseball drops two against Belmont, snaps six-game losing streak in series finale|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Sports Editor|
|Monday, 04 March 2013 15:07|
Despite heading south, the Illinois State baseball team still faced snowy conditions in its three-game series against the Belmont Bruins in the Music City of Nashville, Tenn., last weekend. The Redbirds lost the first two games of the series, but came with a vengeful win on Sunday.
ISU 14, Belmont 3
The Redbirds snapped a six-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn., as they blew past Belmont in the final game of a three-game series against the Aggies.
“This is the kind of team we think we have,” ISU head coach Mark Kingston told WJBC Radio. “To be able to come in and beat Belmont like we did, which is obviously a very good team, this is what we think we’re capable of.
“It started with throwing strikes and playing good defense. That was our theme … it’s something we have to place an emphasis on. We were very good there, and that allowed us to do everything else after that.”
Brad Sorkin matched a career-high of eight innings pitched, earning his first victory since Feb. 15. Sorkin allowed three runs on four hits and tallied four strikeouts with four walks.
“[Sorkin] gave us exactly what we needed. He threw strikes, he kept the ball down, he got a lot of ground balls, and we played great defense,” Kingston said. “They have to work hand-in-hand — the pitchers have to throw strikes and the defense has to play great behind them. We did that … only gave up the five hits, and that allowed our offense to really get on track.”
Kay reached base four times throughout the contest and accounted for three of ISU’s 14 runs, while Aguilera had three RBIs.
Johnson collected a grand slam while Stewart notched three hits. Hinshaw stole two bases in the Redbirds’ offensive effort.
Kay scored ISU’s first run of the day on an Aguilera two-out RBI-single. Then, in the fourth inning, 11 ISU batters were sent to the plate, accumulating a total of five runs in the frame thanks to Hinshaw, who scored on a Brian Rodemoyer single, and Johnson, who sent the ball soaring for a grand slam to score himself, Rodemoyer, Kay and Jack Czeszewski.
In the sixth inning, an Aguilera double drove in Cxeszewski and Johnson to give ISU the 9-0 lead.
The Redbirds stacked up five more runs in the eighth inning, while Razo struck out a batter in the ninth inning to secure the Illinois State win.
Belmont 6, ISU 5
Despite a two-run rally in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5-5, ISU fell to Belmont after allowing a Bruin run on a wild pitch.
Dan Savas started on the mound for the Redbirds first, working five innings, and allowing five runs, but ISU’s Joe Claver received the loss after loading the bases without an out in the sixth inning.
Kay and Stanton each recorded two hits while Brock Stewart, in his first start of the season at second base, recorded three RBIs.
ISU out-hit the Bruins 9-8, however the Redbirds committed five errors compared to Belmont’s one error.
Hinshaw opened the game with a run after reaching on an error and stealing third, thus allowing a Johnson sacrifice-fly to send him home.
ISU held the 3-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth inning when the ’Birds committed two errors that lead to a pair of Belmont runs.
Daniel Dwyer and Stewart combined for an RBI apiece to help the ISU rally in the sixth inning, but that was not enough as a Redbird error sealed the deal for Belmont.
Belmont 5, ISU 3
ISU opened its weekend run in Tennessee with a 5-3 loss after Belmont rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, despite the Redbirds out-hitting the Bruins 10-6.
Will Headean made his first collegiate start on the mound but was handed the loss after allowing five runs in 6.1 innings, despite striking out five.
The Redbirds jumped out to an early lead with the help of Chad Hinshaw and Brett Kay, as each collected consecutive singles. Then, a Zac Johnson two-run single helped them advance home.
ISU added one run in the eighth inning when Johnson advanced to first after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an Eric Aguilera single. Kyle Stanton’s RBI-double to center field would drive Johnson home, but that would mark the end of ISU’s scoring campaign, thus securing the 5-3 Bruins victory.
The Redbirds will hit the dirt again today at 3 p.m. for a midweek matchup against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at SIUE.