Duffy Bass Field (Photo Courtesy of GoRedbirds.com)
By WJBC staff
Redbirds Erase Five-Run Deficit, Rally to Beat Bradley, 9-5 PEORIA, Ill. - Illinois State (26-16, 8-3 MVC) scored nine unanswered runs to come-from-behind to beat Bradley (14-24, 1-13 MVC), 9-5, Saturday afternoon at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. Brett Kay's bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning highlighted the comeback, as Illinois State secured its seventh-consecutive victory.
The Redbirds, who were trailing 5-0 after four innings, rallied for four runs in the sixth inning and five more in the eighth to secure the win. Kay finished with three hits, collected three RBI and scored one run. Mike Hollenbeck had a pair of hits and added two RBI and Kyle Stanton tallied two hits. Illinois State took advantage of five Bradley errors.
Dan Savas fired a no-decision, allowing five earned runs in five innings of work. Bradley scored three times in the second and twice more in the fourth to take an early 5-0 advantage.
Bradley starter Brent Stong was strong through five innings, blanking the Redbirds on just four hits. He was chased from the game in an error-filled sixth inning. With two outs, the Redbirds rallied for four runs. Two errors kept the inning alive and plated Eric Aguilera and Stanton. With two outs and two on, Hollenbeck roped a single into right field to cut the deficit to one, 5-4. Stong allowed four unearned runs in 5.2 innings.
JD Learned worked two scoreless relief innings, pitching the sixth and seventh frames for the Redbirds. Learned (3-2) earned the victory.
In the eighth, Illinois State blew open the game versus John Nasshan (1-6).
Dwyer reached on a hit-by pitch and advanced to second when DeJong walked.
Hollenbeck, on a 3-2 count, beat out a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Mark Kingston pinch-hit Joe Kelch for Sean Beesley, and Kelch roped a RBI-single to left field, his second RBI this season. With the game tied at five, Kay launched a bases-clearing triple to right-center field, the third triple this season for Kay. Chad Hinshaw followed with a sacrifice-fly to cap the scoring at 9-5.
Jeremy Rhoades worked the final two innings for the Redbirds and allowed no runs with three strike outs.
Illinois State has now won five-consecutive Missouri Valley Conference games and three-straight MVC series. The Redbirds will look to sweep Bradley Sunday, when the series concludes with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch from Peoria.