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Redbird Baseball’s season comes to a close in NCAA Tournament

June 1, 2019: Action between the Louisville Cardinals and Illinois State Redbirds in an NCAA Baseball Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, KY. Kevin Schultz/Illinois State Athletics

June 1, 2019: Action between the Louisville Cardinals and Illinois State Redbirds in an NCAA Baseball Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, KY. Kevin Schultz/Illinois State Athletics

A historic season for the Illinois State baseball team (36-26) has come to an end, as the Redbirds were outlasted by No. 7 Louisville in the regional final of the NCAA Tournament on June 3. In head coach Steve Holm’s first season, the ‘Birds posted 36 wins, a 14-win improvement over last year, and the most wins for the Redbirds since winning 39 in 2013. ISU also won multiple games in the postseason for the first time in program history and advanced to their first regional final.

“You can’t be more proud of this group and what they’ve accomplished in one calendar year,” said head coach Steve Holm. “It’s amazing. We’d like to thank all of our seniors, and some of our juniors who will move on in the draft for everything they did for the program and for us.”

In addition to clinching a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, Coach Holm was named MVC Coach of the Year, right fielder Joe Aeilts was tabbed as the MVC Player of the Year, and left-handed starting pitcher Brent Headrick was awarded Pitcher of the Year honors.

At the conclusion of the season, five of Illinois State baseball’s best were selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. OF John Rave (5th round – Kansas City Royals), LHP Brent Headrick (9th round – Minnesota Twins), LHP Matt Walker (13th round – Detroit Tigers), INF/C Joe Aeilts (14th round – Colorado Rockies), and RHP Jeff Lindgren (24th round – Miami Marlins) all heard their names called throughout the draft. The five total selections are the most for ISU since 2014 when six Redbirds had their names called during the draft including major leaguers Paul DeJong and Brock Stewart.

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