WMBD/WYZZ-TV STAFF - NORMAL, Ill. - Eric Aguilera's home run in the fourth inning and Redbird small ball in the fifth, lifted the Illinois State baseball team to a 5-3 victory in game two of the three-game home stand against Southern Illinois Saturday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field.
Zac Johnson reached first base on an error in the fourth inning, setting up the two-run blast by Aguilera, which put the Redbirds ahead, 2-1, heading into the fifth inning. However, Southern Illinois' Chris Serritella responded with a two-run home run of his own, putting Illinois State behind, 3-2.
Ty Wiesemeyer secured the Redbird-win with his go-ahead RBI in the fifth inning, giving Illinois State its second and final lead of the game. Johnson followed with a sac fly for his third RBI of the game, giving ISU a little cushion heading into the sixth.
Starter Dylan Craig (7-2) pitched five innings, allowing eight hits, three earned runs and a walk, while striking out two in the win for the Redbirds. Closer Kenny Long pitched the final two and a third innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out two. He picked up his ninth save of the season, which tied the single-season saves record that Long also matched in 2010. For Southern Illinois, starter Cameron Maldonado pitched just three and a third innings before leaving the game with shoulder pain. Matt Murphy (2-4) was credited with the loss after entering the game in relief for Maldonado.
Offensively, Mike Hollenbeck (3-for-4) and Kyle Stanton (2-for-4) each tallied a multi-hit game. Chad Hinshaw led the game off with a single, extending his on-base streak to 21 games. In total, seven different Redbirds picked up a hit in the win over the Salukis.
Illinois State will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Southern Illinois. The Redbirds invite fans to come to the game to celebrate BaseBald Day in support of the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which promotes childhood cancer research. Members of the team and coaching staff will shave their heads immediately following the game, after exceeding their $5,000 donation goal.
PEORIA, Ill. - Creighton rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to even its Missouri Valley Conference series at Bradley (25-18-1, 8-9 MVC) as the Bluejays (17-23, 4-12 MVC) earned a 7-4 victory Saturday afternoon at O'Brien Field.
The visitors used two hit batters, a walk, an error, two sacrifice bunts and two base hits to rally from a 4-3 deficit and send Bradley to its first loss this season when leading after eight innings. Bradley was 22-0 this year when it took a lead to the ninth. Closer Danny Gifford (4-1) managed to record just one out against the seven batters he faced in the ninth to take the loss.
Creighton second baseman Jake Peter drove in the tying run with a single up the middle and designated hitter Brennan Murphy drove home the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze bunt. Chance Ross followed with an RBI double and Murphy came around to score when right fielder Bob Schuch's throw to second got away.
The ninth-inning collapse spoiled a strong effort by Bradley starter Justin Ziegler, who held the Bluejays to three runs on five hits in his 6.0 innings. Aided by first baseman Jerrod Eigsti's first career home run, a 2-run blast in the second inning and a bases loaded base on balls by catcher Derek Sprout in the fifth that put the Braves in front, Ziegler turned a 4-3 lead over to the the usually reliable bullpen.
Rob Kennedy worked around a leadoff single to pitch a scoreless seventh and senior right-hander Jacob Booden fanned two in a scoreless eighth inning.
The fifth pitcher of the game for Creighton, side-arming right-hander Reese McGraw (3-5), threw two perfect innings to earn the win.
The teams will play the rubber game in their 3-game weekend series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at O'Brien Field. It will be Mom's Day at the ballpark, where the Braves will be wearing pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness. The first 100 fans also will receive pink t-shirts and the Bradley Baseball mothers will join Bradley University President Joanne Glasser for a ceremonial first pitch.