May 27, 2000
CLEMSON, SC – Josh Pride and Justin Links had two RBI doubles in a four-run eighth inning, leading #4 seed Middle Tennessee to a 4-3 victory over #3 seed Illinois Saturday night in NCAA Regional baseball action at Clemson’s Kingsmore Stadium.
Middle Tennessee now advances to face Clemson in the Championship round on Sunday. The two teams will meet at 2:00 PM at Kingsmore Stadium on the Clemson campus. Middle Tennessee State must beat Clemson twice to advance to a Super Regional next weekend. Clemson needs just one victory.
The Tigers advanced to the championship round earlier in the day by defeating Illinois 9-3.
Illinois was in control most of the game behind the pitching of starter Ryan Kyasnicka. The junior from Chicago Heights, IL did not allow a run for the first 7 2/3 innings. Middle Tennessee had just four hits and a walk offensively and got just one runner to third over the first seven innings.
Meanwhile, the Illini, got a home run from third baseman Craig Marquie, a shot off Middle Tennessee starter Kris Lammers in the fourth. The Illini got an insurance run in the fifth on a single by Like Simmons, a sacrifice by Brady Ballard, a wild pitch and a single by leadoff hitter Chris Basak.
Middle Tennessee scored all four of its runs in the eighth. All the runs and hits came with two out and no one on. Josh Renick, the Middle Tennessee leadoff hitter walked and went to second on Kyle Skillman’s single to left. Pride then doubled to center to tie the game. After Bryan Peck walked, Links doubled up the alley in left center to score Pride and Peck. Brandon Johnson then followed with a single to left, but Illinois left fielder Rob Fischer gunned down Links at the plate. Illinois cut the deficit to 4-3 when pinch hitter Joe Parenti homered to left with two out in the eighth. But that is as close as Illinois could get. Middle Tennessee reliever Brad Howard got Illinois out one-two-three in the ninth, giving Middle Tennessee the victory.
Middle Tennessee 39-22 for the season, while Illinois concludes its season with a 41-23 mark.
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