Eric Aguilera and the Illinois State Redbirds defeated Fairfield, 4-2, on Sunday. (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By WJBC Staff
WINTER HAVEN, FLA. – The Illinois State bullpen pitched six scoreless innings as Illinois State (5-7) defeated Fairfield (3-4), 4-2, Sunday afternoon at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational Tournament at Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Fla.
Freshman Jack Landwehr collected his first-career victory, working a season-best four scoreless innings in relief.
Landwehr (1-0) struck out a career-high four batters and allowed only one hit for the win. Jeremy Rhoades and Chris Razo combined to pitch the final two innings for ISU, with Razo collecting his fourth save on the season. Illinois State starter Dylan Craig worked three-plus innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. Craig was hit on the arm by a line drive in the third inning and faced two batters in the fourth inning before leaving the game. Fairfield starter Tucker Panciera (1-1) was chased from the game in the second inning and allowed four earned runs in defeat.
Illinois State scored four runs on two hits in the second inning. Brock Stewart and Chad Hinshaw each had one sacrifice fly and Matt Krenz and Brett Kay drew bases-loaded walks. The Redbirds batted around, with Panciera leaving the game after walking Eric Aguilera to load the bases with two outs. Anthony DiMauro replaced Panciera and retired Kyle Stanton to close the inning. DiMauro worked 1.1 scoreless innings with one strike out.
Fairfield got on the board in the third inning. Centerfielder Alex Witkus opened the frame with a single and scored on Dean Sadik’s RBI-single. Rob LoPinto followed with a single to center, but Hinshaw threw out Sadik at home for the second out. Anthony Haggar hit a line drive off Craig’s left arm, which deflected to third baseman Zac Johnson. Johnson threw out the runner at first closing the frame.
Ryan Plourde opened the fourth inning with a triple and scored on Jack Giannini’s RBI-single, making it 4-2 Illinois State. Landwehr then replaced Craig and pitched until the top of the eighth inning.
Rhoades struck out one batter in a scoreless eighth inning. In the ninth, Razo loaded the bases with outs. The Redbird closer struck out Witkus and induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double-play to secure the victory.
The Redbirds travel south to Coral Gables, Fla., for two games against the University of Miami, March 12-13. Both games begin at 5:00 p.m. CST.