Illinois State Takes Series From Baseball With Walk-Off Win
Illinois State's Anthony Ruffolo hit a two-run, walk-off single with one out in the bottom of the 10th Sunday to claim a 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference win on a windy afternoon at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.
After Ben Carlson gave Missouri State (18-14, 6-2) a 5-4 lead with a solo homer to lead off the 10th, Jon Barnes (1-2) retired the first hitter of the Illinois State (16-10, 6-4) 10th before a single and two walks got the winning run on second base. Ruffolo pulled the game-winner down the left line for ISU's second walk-off win of the series.
Missouri State scored a run in the first after Aaron Conway drew a leadoff walked and worked his way to third with one out to score on Ben Carlson's sacrifice fly. The Redbirds promptly loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, but Aaron Meade wriggled out of the jam to keep ISU scoreless.
ISU's Corey Maines quickly sat down the first two Bears in the second, but hit Trevor Rogers with his next pitch and Travis McComack followed with an RBI double to make the score 2-0.
The Redbirds scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to cut MSU's lead to 2-1, then left the bases loaded in the fifth to bump the number of stranded runners to nine through five frames. The Bears had left just three on at that point with only one hit to their credit in a game that felt as if MSU was trailing despite the one run advantage.
Chris Playter's notched MSU's second hit in the sixth, driving in Carlson after he drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second and stole third. ISU answered that run with Tyler McNeely's single to end the sixth inning trailing 3-2.
Ruffolo's second homer of the year tied the game in the seventh and ended Meade's day after giving up three runs on eight hits and fanning eight in 6.1 innings. Pat Doyle got the final two outs.
Missouri State loaded the bases in the eighth following a single and two walks and regained the lead at 4-3 with Playter's sacrifice fly, but Mike Stalowy continued to be a thorn in MSU's side and tied it with a two-out single in the bottom half.
Now in a 4-4 tie, McComack drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the ninth. After a failed sacrifice attempt, Conway drew his third walk of the game to push McComack into scoring position. The two free passes brought Jim Sajewich in from the bullpen to induce the double play and end the inning. Doyle worked a scoreless ninth for extras.
The Bears continue their road swing Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. game at Arkansas State.