Saturday’s box score
WSU 15, Illinois St. 5
E — DeJong. DP — ISU. LOB — WSU 9, ISU 5. 2B — Baker (8). 3B — Kihle (1). HR — Gillaspie (15), Czeszewski (3). CS — Bayliff, Kihle.
|K.Gardner W,2-4||3 2/3||2||0||0||2||4||5.09|
|Learnard L,1-3||1 2/3||2||3||1||6||1||7.88|
WP — Learnard 2, Hecht. HBP — Stewart (by K.Gardner); Harbutz (by Hecht); Simpson (by Lambert); Koeiman (by Heilenbach); DeJong, Everett (by Looney). Umpires — home, David Condon; first, Michael Droll; third Rick Allen. T — 2:39. A — 302.
Back on the mound
WSU closer Foster Vielock last pitched on May 6 against Kansas State, ending a busy stretch in which he pitched in five of six games.
While coaches didn’t rest Vielock on purpose, he appreciated the break. On Saturday, he retired all five batters he faced.
“I wasn’t feeling worn down,” he said. “I didn’t ask for the rest, but it was nice.”
Every major piece of the pitching staff pitched against Illinois State and all enjoyed success. WSU compiled a 2.16 ERA and starter Sam Tewes and reliever T.J. Looney were the only ones to allow a run.
Take on the shift
Illinois State joined the ranks of teams employing a dramatic shift to counter WSU first baseman Casey Gillaspie.
The Redbirds moved their second baseman and third baseman between first and second and kept the shortstop close to second when Gillaspie came up in the first inning. He hit a groundball to the second baseman, who threw away a potential double-play ball trying to get Dayne Parker at second base.
Gillaspie came up with runners on second base in the second, third and fifth innings, meaning the Redbirds kept their third baseman closer to his base.
Gillaspie is used to the treatment and his approach is to ignore the hole opening up toward left field.
“They don’t pitch me any different, so I don’t even really look at it,” he said. “I don’t change my approach. Most of the time I don’t hit the ball on the ground anyway.”
Why shift against Gillaspie? He went 4 for 6 in the series and walked seven times to compile an .846 on-base percentage and 1.167 slugging percentage. He ends the regular season hitting .406 with a .721 slugging percentage, .478 in MVC games with a .940 slugging percentage.
Gillaspie hit home run No. 15 in the sixth inning. His 34 career homers ranked No. 16 on WSU’s list, one behind Logan Sorensen (2001-04).
WSU swept the Redbirds for the first time since 2009 and the first time in Normal since 2008. WSU won the series for an eighth straight season and has won five straight. WSU scored its most runs vs. Illinois State since a 15-1 win in 2005.… WSU starter Kris Gardner added his 3 2/3 scoreless to innings to nine he threw at Bass Field against Indiana State in the MVC Tournament.… WSU senior Garrett Bayliff went 3 for 11 in the series and is 14 for 30 in his career against the Redbirds.… Illinois State RBI-leader Paul DeJong went 1 for 10 and didn’t drive in a run in the series. The Redbirds hit .141 with two extra-base hits.