MARTIN, Tenn. - The Indiana State baseball team picked their first wins of the 2011 season on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader with the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks at Skyhawk Field in Martin, Tenn. ISU won by a score of 11-3 in game one, only to return to the field to grab a 10-7 win in game two.
The Sycamores struck first in game one, scoring one run in the top of the first inning when junior Kyle Burnam drove in senior Levi Ferguson with a double to left field. The ISU lead did not last long, however, as the Skyhawks scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the frame, coming on a two-RBI single from Chase Okey and a wild pitch from junior Colin Rea.
That would be all the scoring that the Sycamores allowed the Skyhawks to do during game one on Saturday, as Rea settled in to allow no runs and just two more hits over his next seven innings on the mound.
ISU cut the UTM lead to one run in the top of the second inning, when Burnam grounded out to second base to allow freshman Tyler Wampler to score from third to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Skyhawks.
Indiana State took the lead for good in the fifth inning, plating three runs in the frame. Burnam led off the inning with a single to center field before sophomore Robby Ort drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base. Sophomore Jeremy Lucas tied the score by doubling to left field to bring Burnam home and put two runners in scoring position. Two batters later, sophomore Koby Kraemer gave ISU the lead with a two-RBI single to left field to put ISU in front 5-3.
The score remained the same until the top of the ninth inning when the Sycamores slammed the door shut, scoring six more times. The big hit in the inning came off the bat of Ferguson after two runs had already scored, as the senior outfielder cracked the first pitch he saw from UTM reliever Colton Young for a three-run triple to center field.
Rea turned in the best pitching performance to this point in the season for the Sycamores, tossing eight innings on the mound while allowing just four hits, three runs (all earned and in the first inning), striking out 10 batters and walking just one on 99 pitches from the center of the diamond. Sophomore Tyler Browning came in for ISU in the ninth and picked up one strikeout.
The Sycamores completed the doubleheader sweep in game two, picking up a 10-7 victory. ISU scored twice in the first inning on a two-run double from Lucas and once in second inning when Wampler singled and later scored on an error to give ISU a 3-0 lead.
The Skyhawks scored two runs of their own in the third inning, but ISU pushed their lead to 7-2 with four runs in the top of the fifth inning. Burnam and Ort led off the frame with singles before Lucas loaded the bases by drawing a walk. Kraemer, sophomore Jordan Pearson and Wampler tallied back-to-back-to-back one-run singles with one out in the inning, with Lucas scoring the fourth run on an error during Wampler's RBI single.
After two more runs from UTM, the Sycamores answered with two runs of their own in the seventh on a two-run double from Pearson.
The Skyhawks came up with one run of their own in the bottom of the frame, but Ort led off the eighth with a home run to right-center field on the first pitch he saw of the at-bat to give ISU a 10-5 lead. UTM plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth, but junior Reggie Hochstedler struck out Trey Karlen with a runner on second base to end the UTM rally and give ISU a 10-7 victory and doubleheader sweep.
Senior Jason Van Skike started game two and went five innings, allowing four runs (all earned) and five hits while striking out four and walking one. Junior Chris Machado saw 2.2 innings on the mound, striking out a pair of batters while allowing three runs (all earned) and four hits. Hochstedler got ISU out of their late jam and pitched a perfect 1.1 innings on the mound with one strikeout.
For the doubleheader, Kraemer led the Sycamores at the plate with a 6-10 effort including a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Burnam went 5-11 with two doubles and three RBIs, while Ort hit his second home run of the season to cap a 4-9 afternoon at the plate. Pearson led the team with four RBIs, while Lucas and Ferguson each picked up three. As a team, ISU went 28-83 at the plate (.337) and did not commit a fielding error in their 18 innings on defense.
The wins push ISU to 2-3 on the season, while UTM falls to 1-5.
ISU will look for the series sweep at Skyhawk Field on Sunday, with freshman southpaw Sean Manaea on the mound for the Sycamores. First pitch of the game has been moved up one hour, to 1:00 p.m. (ET), due to expectation of rain in Martin, Tenn., area in the late-afternoon and can be heard live online on GoSycamores.com thanks to UTM's student radio station, 90.3 FM The Hawk.