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‘Birds belt three home runs to take down Illinois

Written by on April 5, 2023

Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill – On Tuesday night, the Illinois State Redbirds baseball team headed South to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in a midweek matchup. The two in-state rivals went back and forth for much of the night but it ended up being ISU that got the upper hand over UIUC; winning 12-9.

The Redbirds turned to Redshirt Junior LHP Sean Sinisko to start the game. Sinisko came into this start building some momentum for himself after helping ISU beat the nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes a week ago.

Sinisko went two innings, giving up three runs. Sinisko ended up having to leave the game early so the Redbirds quickly had to turn to a freshman who has already gotten some valuable innings for the Redbirds this season. Tyrelle Chadwick relieved Sinisko and managed to go three innings, giving up two and striking out five.

“Chadwick came in and warmed up on the mound,” said ISU head coach Steve Holm. “He gave up two runs but I told him it was probably his best inning overall because of how hard that is to do.”

The Redbirds had to make up some ground immediately, as they were trailing 3-0 after the 1st inning. The Redbird bats began to heat up in the top of the 2nd as they hit two three-run home runs. Auggie Rasmussen homered to left center to tie the game, then later that inning Adrian Flores hit a three-run homer to retake the lead at 6-3.

The Illini managed to bring the game a little bit closer in the 3rd inning with RBI hits to make it 6-5. ISU answered back immediately with an RBI single from Noah Rabin and an RBI double from Daniel Pacella to make the score 9-5.

In the top of the 5th, Shay Kubo drove in another run off an RBI single to make it 10-5.

Illinois continued to inch closer and closer throughout the game. Illinois managed to get the score to as close as 10-9. Rabin answered immediately with another RBI single to make the score 11-9 in the 8th inning.

The Redbirds got the ultimate insurance when freshman, Luke Lawrence managed to hit his first career home run. In the 9th inning, Lawrence hit a ball to left center that managed to get over the wall and give ISU another run.

“The energy was amazing, I thought it was a real good crowd,” said Lawrence. “I love that we came to their place (UIUC) and beat them on their own field.”

Even though the rest of the Redbird bullpen made the game a little interesting towards the end of the game, ISU turned to their “closer” to slam the door. On short rest, Elijah Dale came in and ended any hope that UIUC had. Dale pitched two innings, striking out three and earning the save.

“Eli has been our guy since the first weekend,” said Holm. “We leaned on him right there and that was an awesome performance with the guy being a little tired.”

After the win the Redbirds now move to 10-13 on the season. The Redbirds’ next game is Friday where they will kick off a three game series against the Murray State Racers.