Baseball ‘Birds Battle in Belmont
Written by Tim Zalabak on March 27, 2023
Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics
NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State University baseball team escaped the cold of Normal after the cancellation of the Eastern Illinois series along with the second of two games against the University of Minnesota, where ISU dropped the first 10-3. The Birds looked to enjoy the Nashville weather in a three-game set against their First MVC opponent, Belmont University.
The story of game one was fifth-year senior starting pitcher Derek Salata, tossing six innings, striking out 11 batters. This effort earned the right hander National Pitcher of the Week by Collegiate Baseball News. Although game one resulted in a loss, 2-0, the Birds’ pitching staff was able to show what they were made of.
Game two featured some offensive life from the birds in Daniel Pacella, the true freshman who tacked on yet another long ball on the season. The two-run shot makes that a team leading seven homeruns for the year.
Shaydon Kubo continued to stay hot at the plate this weekend with multiple extra base hits, including a double in game two, scoring off a knock from Greg Nichols, Redbird second baseman.
Ultimately the ‘Birds fell in the second battle to the Bruins 6-3 due to a two hit, three RBI day from Jeff Clarke, the Belmont center fielder.
The ‘Birds hit their stride in game three at the plate and on the base paths taking the third and final bout of the series 11-7. Auggie Rasmussen had his best game of the season, four hits and three runs scored helped in the effort along with three steals from both Rasmussen and JT Sokolove.
Multiple hit games from Infielders, Greg Nichols and fresh to the line up Judah Morris helped in the team win with two hits apiece, both gathering three RBI’s.
“We played pretty well overall the whole weekend.” Head Coah Steve Holm said, “the hitting sticks came out today, which was good.”
Now the Illinois State baseball team will look to Tuesday, March 28, to take on the University of Iowa for a one game, mid-week match up. Following that the ‘Birds will host their next Missouri Valley Conference opponent in Missouri State for a three game weekend.