TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State baseball team took advantage of three errors from the Bradley defense and got key outs when they needed to in the field as the Sycamores picked up the 5-3 win on Friday night over the visiting Bradley Braves in front of 594 fans inside Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The win is the seventh in the row for the Sycamores, moving their record to 18-10 overall, while the Braves fall to a identical 18-10.
ISU got going early on Friday, scoring once in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Koby Kraemer tallied ISU's first hit of the night, knocking ground-rule double over the fence in the right-center field gap. Kraemer crossed the plate during the next ISU at-bat when fellow sophomore Robby Ort singled through the right side of the infield.
Bradley tied the score in the fourth inning, coming on a two-out RBI single by James Kottaras. The inning could have been much worse for the Sycamores, however, as the Braves loaded the bases with two outs, but the top of the inning came to a close on a groundout to Kraemer at third.
The Braves took their first lead in the top of the fifth, scoring twice to take a 3-2 advantage. BU first baseman Derek Sprout brought both runs home during the inning, singling to left field with the bases loaded on the first pitch from junior reliever Reggie Hochstedler.
ISU knotted the game back at 3-3 in the seventh inning, taking advantage of one of Bradley's three errors over their final three innings in the field. After Kraemer reached on a bunt single to third, before the ISU sophomore ran all the way to third when a pickoff attempt from BU's Danny Gifford skipped past Sprout at first. Two batters later, junior Jon Hedges skied a pitch to center to bring Kraemer home to tie the score.
The ISU defense got a pair of key outs in the eighth inning to keep the score tied after BU's Bob Schuch tripled with one out. Junior Chris Machado came out of the bullpen in relief of Hochstedler and forced a groundout with the infield drawn in before forcing a popout to a sprinting junior second baseman Jeff Miera into shallow right field to end the inning.
The Sycamores took the lead for good in the eighth by keeping the pressure on the Bradley defense in the field. Junior Kyle Burnam got hit by a pitch to start the inning before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from senior Levi Ferguson. Wampler tallied his second RBI of the game with a single to center for score Burnam while also advancing to second when Bradley's centerfielder Brian Martin slipped while fielding the ball. Wampler moved to third on a productive groundout by redshirt freshman Jacob Weinzapfel and scored an insurance run on a passed ball by Kottaras behind the plate for a 5-3 ISU lead.
Machado got into a bit of trouble in the ninth, allowing runners to reach first and second with one down, but senior Blake Drake came out of the pen and forced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to pick up the save, his third this season. Machado improved his personal record to 2-1 with the victory.
Kraemer, Ort and Lucas all tallied a pair of hits during the series opener, while Wampler led the way with two runs batted in. Kraemer also scored twice during Friday's game.
Junior Colin Rea started the game, tossing 4.1 innings on 105 pitches while allowing three hits and three runs. Hochstedler worked three scoreless innings in relief, allowing four hits while striking out three.
ISU and BU hit the field for game two of their series on Saturday, with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. The Sycamores will send senior righty Jason Van Skike (2-1, 3.13 ERA) to the hill against sophomore right-hander John Nasshan (2-2, 4.46 ERA) for the Braves.
Postgame recap with head coach Rick Heller: