Illinois State got a strong outing on the mound from Brady Huffman and two relievers in its season opener Friday night, allowing just two hits. However, Arkansas State's Bradey Welsh didn't give the Redbird hitters much, either.
Kyle MacDonald's home run in the fourth inning was the difference as Arkansas State took a 1-0 victory over ISU at Statesboro, Ark.
Nick Bouras got ISU's lone hit with a single in the fifth. Huffman went five innings, allowing two hits while walking two and striking out a career-high nine. Trevor Cross followed with two hitless innings, striking out four, while Jeff Lindgren was perfect in one inning with a strikeout.
Welsh went 7.2 innings, walking one and fanning eight. Jess Kutzke walked Noah Sadler with one out in the ninth. Sadler stole second on a strikeout before Kutzke got the final out to record the save.
ISU faces Arkansas State at 5 p.m. Saturday in the second game of the three-game series.
Softball split: Sarah Finck threw a six-hit shutout and Allison Spence provided a two-run homer as Illinois State downed San Diego, 4-0, in the Arizona State Littewood Classic at Tempe, Ariz.
Texas State beat ISU, 2-1, in an earlier game as Shannon Felde's home run accounted for the Redbirds' only hit.
Spence had three hits and scored two runs in ISU's win over San Diego. The Redbirds (2-5) also received two hits from Riley Strandgard while Anni Borries drove in two runs. Finck (2-2) walked two and struck out two.
Morgan Day (0-2) suffered the loss for ISU against Texas State, allowing eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Swimmers in fifth place: The Illinois State swimming and diving team sits in fifth place after the third day of competition at the Missouri Valley Conference Swimming and Diving Championship at Iowa City, Iowa.
ISU has 266 points heading into Saturday's final day of competition after receiving some stellar performances from Rachel Holm on Friday.
The senior earned an individual title in the 100-yard breaststroke, touching the wall first in a time of 1:02.51 just ahead of teammate Jensen Keck (1:02.75). Holm also was 10th in the 100 butterfly (56.53).
Junior Savannah Rubocki took fourth in the 400 individual medley (4:24.53) while sophomore Mary Katherine Tillotson was sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:51.15). Karley Licking also picked up a top-10 finish for the Redbirds in the 100 backstroke, taking seventh (56.77).
Rounding out the action in the pool was the 400 medley relay team of Licking, Keck, Holm and Tillotson who placed fourth (3:46.74).
The Redbird divers also competed in the prelims of the 3-meter competition, with Caroline Lecoeur qualifying for the finals with a fourth-place finish (250.29). Elizabeth Aument (192.84) and Andie Bernhardt (192.18) also qualified for the finals.