No. 4 ILLINOIS STATE 5, No. 5 EVANSVILLE 4 (10)
ILS (33-18); UE (32-27)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In game nine of the State Farm MVC Baseball Championship, No. 4 Illinois State rallied to eliminate No. 5 Evansville, 5-4, in 10 innings. The Redbirds will square off with No. 8 Creighton in the 4 p.m. contest this afternoon.
Chad Hinshaw hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning, and Kenny Long pitched a scoreless bottom of the frame to lift No. 4 Illinois State to a, 5-4, come-from-behind, 10-inning victory against No. 5 Evansville. With the win, the Redbirds advance to play No. 8 Creighton Thursday at 4:07 p.m. at Hammons Field. If the Redbirds (33-18) beat Creighton (24-28), ISU will force another game against the Bluejays Friday, with the winner of Friday’s matchup advancing to Saturday’s title game. If ISU loses Thursday afternoon, the Redbirds will be eliminated from the tournament.
Hinshaw led Illinois State Thursday morning with a 2-for-5 effort on two solo home runs, while Matt Mirabal and Kyle Stanton each went 2-for-4. Long (2-1) earned the win, after pitching the final three scoreless innings, with three strikeouts. Evansville reliever Josh Biggs (4-3) gave up the go-ahead homer to Hinshaw in the 10th, forcing Biggs to suffer the loss.
Evansville took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, before the Redbirds responded with one run in the third as Mike Hollenbeck led off with a single and scored on a Kyle Stanton double. ISU then tied the game in the fourth inning, after Zac Johnson doubled and scored on a base hit by Hollenbeck. However, the Purple Aces quickly regained the lead with one run in the bottom of the fourth. Evansville made the score, 4-2, after plating another run in the seventh.
Then in the top of the eighth, Hinshaw homered over the left field wall to pull the Redbirds within one. In the ninth, Kevin Tokarski led off with a single, and scored on a double by Mirabal to tie the game, 4-4. Hinshaw hit his second home run of the day in the top of the 10th inning, with two outs, to put Illinois State in front for the first time. Long then retired the Purple Aces, in order, in the bottom of the 10th to secure the extra-inning victory. With the loss, Evansville has been eliminated from the State Farm MVC Championship.
No. 4 Illinois State will now face No. 8 Creighton Thursday at 4:07 p.m., with ISU freshman right-hander Jeremy Rhoades (4-3, 4.65 ERA) starting against Creighton senior right-hander Erik Mattingly (1-4, 3.02 ERA). Mattingly suffered a loss against Illinois State Apr. 28, allowing three earned runs on six hits through six innings of work.