Redbirds Take Series Finale From Evansville
Written by Brendan McInerney on April 26, 2021
Image courtesy of goredbirds.com
NORMAL, Ill.- Clutch hitting and elite defense led the way for Illinois State baseball on Sunday, as the Redbirds (16-22, 7-5 MVC) defeated Evansville (20-18, 5-10 MVC) 3-1 to capture a game and series win against their conference foe.
Third-year freshman Sean Sinisko tossed seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts, five hits, and no walks in what was his best outing of the season. The left-handed pitcher benefited from a run-saving, diving catch in the third inning from center fielder Ryan Cermak. Third baseman Joe Butler also added to the defensive clinic, handling two line drives and a sharp grounder down the line.
The scoring opened up in the fourth inning, as Cermak tripled to right-center field to drive home Jack Butler. The Redbirds expanded their lead in the sixth inning, as this time true freshman Luke Cheng was the one to bring home Jack Butler on an RBI fielder’s choice. Later in the sixth, senior Jordan Libman recorded an RBI to single in fellow senior Joe Butler.
Right-handed relief pitcher Erik Kubiatowicz made quick work of the middle of the Evansville lineup in a scoreless eight inning but found himself in a jam in the ninth after a leadoff walk ended in an RBI double for the Purple Aces.
In a high-pressured situation, sophomore pitcher Derek Salata inherited two runners on second and third base as he entered the game in the final inning. Salata went on to retire three straight batters to record the save and shut the door on the series with the Purple Aces.
Up next, Illinois State is set to host Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in a single game showdown. The Redbirds then travel to Valparaiso for a four-game series starting on Friday.