Illinois State baseball team rallies to sweep pair from Southeast Missouri State

Sunday, March 4, 2012
Illinois State's Ty Wiesemeyer safely slides home before Southeast Missouri State catcher Kody Campbell can field the ball and apply the tag during the fourth inning of their first game Saturday at Capaha Field. (Laura Simon)

Southeast Missouri State and Illinois State played baseball for seven hours Saturday.

That's not even counting the couple of hours the teams spent at Capaha Field getting ready for the doubleheader and the 40 minutes between games.

The Redhawks might have felt inconvenienced, but the visiting Redbirds didn't mind the grueling day after they rallied for a stunning sweep.

ISU, which won the opener 8-2, overcame a nine-run deficit to claim the four-hour, 10-inning nightcap 13-11.

The teams will close out the three-game series, which originally was scheduled for four but had Friday's opener rained out, at 1 p.m. today.

Southeast Missouri State catcher Kody Campbell reacts after Illinois State scores during the fourth inning of their first game Saturday at Capaha Field. (Laura Simon)

"It's a heartbreaker. I feel like we had it in the bag," Southeast All-American senior third baseman Trenton Moses said about the nightcap that ended at about 7:40 p.m. "We've got to do a better job of closing out games."

Southeast (5-6) had won five of its previous six games, all at home. ISU (6-3), which has not yet played a home contest, has posted six straight victories.

"We're playing good ball," said ISU coach Mark Kingston, whose squad went 36-18 to set a school record for wins last year. "Either team could have won the second game. We just happened to get the last big hit."

The Redbirds actually got the last few big hits, including two delivered by Ty Wiesemeyer. His 10th-inning RBI single broke an 11-11 tie, and ISU added an insurance run in the frame.

Wiesemeyer's winning hit was part of a six-RBI game by the senior right fielder. He went 4 for 7 with two doubles. He also had two hits in the opener.

Southeast Missouri State third baseman Trenton Moses fields a grounder during the third inning of Saturday's first game against Illinois State at Capaha Field.

"They're a very aggressive team, a good hitting team," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said after ISU outhit the Redhawks 27-15 on the day.

ISU trailed 11-2 after five innings but feasted on Southeast's bullpen to score the game's final 11 runs. Redhawks relievers were torched for 12 runs and 12 hits while issuing 10 walks in the second game.

The Redbirds scored seven runs in the sixth inning to make it 11-9, and they tied it in the eighth on Wiesemeyer's two-out, two-run double.

"Their pitching was better than ours today," Hogan said. "I thought our starters matched up. Our middle relief was not good in either game. We just didn't get it done. We had our opportunities."

Hogan lamented that the Redhawks failed to tack on more runs after leading 11-2. ISU's bullpen shut out Southeast over the final five innings.

"They basically neutralized us," Hogan said.

Southeast had several individual highlights, including a grand slam in the second game by junior college transfer catcher Shane Blair, which was his first collegiate home run.

Blair made his first Southeast start in the nightcap after previously receiving just four at-bats this season.

Blair's shot to left field was the big blow during a five-run fifth inning that put ahead the Redhawks 11-2.

"Coach gave me an opportunity today," Blair said.

Blair also made several dazzling stops on balls in the dirt, including a pair during ISU's two-run eighth inning that kept things tied.

"He was good," Hogan said. "We had some great individual performances."

Senior shortstop Kenton Parmley went 2 for 4 in each contest to give him an 18-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

Moses drove in both Southeast runs in the first game, and his two-run homer in the opening inning of the nightcap gave the Redhawks a quick 2-0 lead.

Sophomore left-hander Christian Hull took the loss in the opener. He allowed two runs through five innings and Southeast trailed 2-1, but he did not record an out in the sixth inning, and ISU scored four times.

Hull (1-1) was charged with five runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked one.

Junior Shae Simmons, a Scott City graduate, had a solid start in the second game. He allowed six hits and one run with seven strikeouts and three walks over four innings.

Simmons had to escape several jams, which elevated his pitch count to 82 and prevented him from working deeper into the game.

"I thought Christian and Shae both pitched well," Hogan said.

ISU junior left fielder Eric Aguilera had five hits, including a homer, and four RBIs on the day.

The Redbirds, who entered the doubleheader having committed just two errors for a dazzling .991 fielding percentage, improved on that by playing errorless ball and coming up with several defensive gems.

Southeast will try to avoid the series sweep today.

"It's just baseball," Moses said. "You have to bounce back."

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