Illinois State Downs Baseball, 6-5
March 16, 2012
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Illinois State got a go-ahead, two-run homer from Matt Mirabal in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Redbirds defeated the Navy baseball team, 6-5, on Friday afternoon at Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Fla. Redbird pitchers Ryan Camp, Justin Hauer and Kenny Long combined to limit Navy to just one hit over the final four innings as the Midshipmen fell to 8-9 on the year.
"It was another back and forth ballgame and they had that big sixth inning with the two-run homer," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We walked too many guys today though, and that has been an Achilles' heel for us. That's something we need to take care of pretty quickly."
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Illinois State trailing 5-3, Ty Wiesemeyer pulled the Redbirds to within one run with an RBI single up the middle off reliever Jordan Heller. Mirabal then gave Illinois State the lead for good in the next at-bat as his two-run homer cleared the left field wall.
The Redbirds' bullpen then sealed the game as Hauer and Long pitched 1-2-3 eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Camp, who came on in relief to get the final out of the top of the fourth inning, earned the win as he allowed one run off two hits in three and one-third innings of work.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third inning, the Midshipmen used three walks to load the bases and Alex Azor took advantage with a two-RBI single. Azor's two-out single, the first Navy hit of the day, dropped into left field, just inside the foul line to score Chris Cannon and Brandon Beans.
The Mids made the score 4-1 in the top of the fourth inning when Cannon hit an RBI single to right field, scoring Greg Dupell. Brandon Beans later forced in a run on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded.
Navy had a chance to further add to its lead in the inning, but Camp got Azor to ground out with the bases loaded and end the threat.
The Redbirds, now 11-5, fought back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth off an RBI single by Bryan Huff and RBI groundout by Kevin Tokarski.
Navy made it a 5-3 game in the top of the fifth off an RBI groundout by Kash Manzelli, before the Redbirds' decisive three-run bottom of the sixth.
Dupell had a game-high three hits and has now reached base safely in 14 consecutive games.
In his second-career start, Stephen Moore went four complete innings, allowing three runs off four hits, before being replaced by Heller, who took the loss. Charlie LaMar pitched the final two and one-third innings and didn't allow a hit.
Navy will wrap up play in the RussMatt Invitational on Saturday when it meets Northwestern at 9 a.m. at Chain of Lakes Park.
"Northwestern is a good ballclub," said Kostacopoulos. "This has been a pretty good stretch of teams that we've played and we've got to go out and find a way to win tomorrow and even our record."