WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Illinois State baseball team continued its best start to a season in 24 years Tuesday with a 5-4 win over Purdue at West Lafayette, Ind.
The Redbirds, who improved to 14-6, watched JD Learnard (2-1) earn the win after striking out three, allowing three hits and walking two in 7 2/3 innings. Reliever Matt Werderitch retired the last four batters to earn the save.
ISU used a three-run seventh inning to take a 5-1 lead. Josh Colon got things started with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Brock Stewart. Chad Hinshaw followed with an RBI single, Kevin Tokarski with an RBI double and Ryan Court with an RBI single.
The Redbirds, who outhit their host 9-6, opened the scoring in the third when Matt Mirabal stroked a two-out RBI single with Stewart on base.
ISU, which has won five of its past six games, took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when a Purdue throwing error allowed Mirabal to score. He led off with a single, advanced on a Court groundout and moved to third on a single by Zach Amrein. Then Tyler McNeely grounded into a fielder’s choice putout of Amrein, but as Purdue attempted to turn the double play, the throw to first was off-target, allowing Mirabal in.
The Boilermakers (13-7), who left 10 runners on base, had three runs in the eighth to end the scoring.
ILLINOIS STATE 5, PURDUE 4
At West Lafayette, Ind.
Illinois State 001 001 300-5-9-1
Purdue 001 000 030-4-6-1
Learnard (W, 2-1), Werderitch (8, S, 2) and Mirabal. Haase, Gannon (3), Collins (5, L, 1-2), Mascarello (6), Breedlove (7) and Plawecki.
ILLINOIS STATE - 2B - Tokarski. RBI - Tokarski 1, Mirabal 1, Court 1, McNeely 1, Hinshaw 1. Two or more hits - Mirabal 2, Colon 2. Pitching - Learnard (7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO), Werderitch (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO).