BaseballvsSLU_10 (Copy)

Nick Gile makes his move to third base during a 15-7 win over Saint Louis on March 25 at Duffy Bass Field. The Redbirds kicked off a three-game series against Dallas Baptist Friday, knocking off the Patriots 4-3 at Duffy Bass Field. 

Illinois State rebounded from blowing an early lead, knocking off Dallas Baptist 4-3 in walk-off fashion Friday at Duffy Bass Field. 

"It's a huge win," third baseman Nick Gile said. "We got together as players yesterday and a lot of us talked. Just coming out here, starting a fresh start. There's a lot of season left to go, and taking this game was a big first step."

After the two teams went scoreless through the first inning-and-a-half, the Redbirds’ bats awoke in the bottom of the second as Gile was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After a walk to Connor Olson and a single by Aidan Huggins, Luke Cheng put ISU on the board with a groundout to shortstop. Despite the final two batters of the inning striking out, a passed ball helped score Olson and give the Redbirds a two-run second inning.

After another scoreless inning for the Patriots, Ryan Cermak just barely got enough of a full-count fastball to send his 16th home run of the season over the left field wall and give ISU the 3-0 lead after three innings.

With a runner on first and no outs in the bottom of the fourth, Cheng looked to lay down a bunt, but took a 93-mile-per-hour fastball to the head, and after laying for some time, was able to run off the field under his own power. He would not return as Kyle Soberano would take his place.

Through five innings, Jared Hart was dealing on the mound for the Redbirds, holding DBU to just three hits and one walk while striking out five on 80 pitches.

Despite allowing three runs in the second and third innings combined, the Patriots' Jacob Meador was not faring much worse, allowing only five hits while striking out ten ISU batters over the same stretch. 

The Patriots finally found the scoreboard in the top of the sixth as with one out, a stolen base followed by a throw past the third baseman allowed Jace Grady to reach home safely and cut the deficit to two. 

After a third-straight scoreless inning for the Redbirds, DBU took advantage once again, leading the top of the seventh with a single from Luke Heefner followed by an RBI-double from Nate Rombach.

A sacrifice fly from Miguel Santos two batters later would even the score at 3-3. Hart would find the final out of the inning, but that would be all for his outing after seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five. 

The offenses died off after that, going scoreless over the rest of regulation, forcing extra innings with the game tied at 3-3. 

Despite a two-out double in the top of the 10th, the Patriots would be unable to find the scoreboard as a strikeout from Eric Kubiatowicz fired up the pitcher and the ISU crowd. 

With one out in the bottom of the inning, Greg Nichols and Jake McCaw kickstarted the Redbirds' offense with back-to-back walks to bring up Gile.

On the eighth pitch of the at bat, a bouncer up the middle looked like a double-play ball, but a throwing error from shortstop Blayne Jones allowed Nichols to score from second and give the Redbirds the dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory. 

"Obviously it's a wet ball," head coach Steve Holm said on the final play. "It had been raining the last three or four innings, so if you put the ball on the ground there's a decent chance it might not be thrown to the right spot."

In relief, Kubiatowicz went two innings with just one and one walk while striking out three for the win. 

"I thought his [Kubiatowicz] performance was fantastic," Holm said. "The other one I thought was Kayden Beauregard. He hasn't started that many games for us, only six, and he threw those two runners out. He had energy behind the plate all day. That was as good as any other performance."

SCOTT PREROST is Sports Editor for The Vidette. Prerost can be conactacted at swprero@ilstu.edu. Follow Prerost on Twitter at @Scotty_Prerost   


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