TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State scored nine runs in the second inning and held off a late rally from the Bradley Braves, riding that early offense to an 11-8 victory on Saturday on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The Sycamores have now won eight games in a row and 13 of their last 14 overall, moving their overall record to 19-10 on the season and 2-0 in league play. The Braves fall to 18-11, 0-2 MVC.
Indiana State recorded nine of their 15 hits for the game in the second inning alone, as the first twelve batters of the inning reached safely. As a team, ISU recorded seven straight singles to begin the frame, chasing John Nasshan, BU's starting pitcher, from the game on the seventh single by sophomore Koby Kraemer. Junior Ryan Walterhouse picked up the only extra-base hit in the second, on an RBI double down the left field line, as ISU left the inning with a 9-0 lead.
Bradley got on the board with two runs in the fourth, only to see Indiana State come back with one of their own in the bottom of the inning on a single by freshman Tyler Wampler through the right side of the infield.
The Braves continued to chip away at their deficit, scoring two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth to cut the ISU lead down to two runs, at 10-8 after six innings of play. The Sycamores picked up a late insurance run in eighth when sophomore Robby Ort brought sophomore Jordan Pearson home on a single to center.
A trio of relievers came out of the bullpen to assist Indiana State over the game's final three innings, with junior Brandon Flora, junior Chris Machado and senior Blake Drake all tossing one scoreless inning each on the mound. Drake worked out of a jam in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season and second of the series, as the ISU senior retired two consecutive batters with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Senior Jason Van Skike (3-1) earned the win, allowing four hits over five innings on the mound.
Each member of ISU's starting lineup picked up a hit on Saturday, with Ort, Walterhouse, Wampler and Pearson all driving in a pair of runs.
The Sycamores earned the series victory on Saturday, their first series win to open a conference season since sweeping the Northern Iowa Panthers over four games back in 1998. ISU will go for the series sweep at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, a day that haunted the Sycamores one year ago. In 2010, ISU went just 1-5 during the final game of a conference series. Freshman southpaw Sean Manaea (3-2, 3.69 ERA) will take mound for ISU, facing off against BU's junior righty Jacob Booden (3-0, 3.78 ERA).