TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Sophomores Koby Kraemer and Jeremy Lucas both hit solo home runs and junior Colin Rea turned in his second straight strong outing on the mound, leading the Indiana State baseball team to a 4-1 victory on Thursday night in the opening game of their series with Southern Illinois from Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The win moves ISU to 26-24 on the season and 8-11 within the Missouri Valley Conference, while SIU falls to 20-32 overall, 9-10 in league play.
Southern Illinois hit Rea well over the first couple of innings on Thursday, picking up four hits in the game's first two frames. The Salukis took the lead in the second inning, tallying three straight hits with two outs to score their run, coming on a single by sophomore Wes Neece.
Kraemer knotted the game up a 1-1 with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning, hitting his fourth home run of the season with a one-out shot down the left field line. Lucas and junior Jon Hedges both recorded singles later in the inning with two outs, but SIU shortstop Jake Welch made a nice sliding grab in the hole to the end the inning and the Indiana State rally.
The Sycamores took the lead in the sixth, jumping in front 2-1 when Lucas sent the first pitch he saw from sophomore Cody Forsythe over the left field wall. The home run was Lucas' third of the season.
Indiana State put together a two-out rally in the seventh inning to grab a pair of insurance runs, using singles from freshman Tyler Wampler, junior Ryan Walterhouse, junior Kyle Burnam and Kraemer to take a 4-1 lead. The base knocks by Burnam and Kraemer each drove in one run in the inning.
Rea (7-4) went seven strong innings on Thursday, scattering eight hits with a pair of strikeouts. Junior Reggie Hochstedler and senior Blake Drake each tossed a scoreless inning in relief, with Drake earning his eighth save of the season with a perfect ninth inning. The Indiana State trio on the mound did not give anything extra to the Salukis, going without a walk, wild pitch, balk or a hit batter in the game while the ISU defense did not make an error in the field for the 22nd time this season.
Lucas and Kraemer led ISU at the plate, with Lucas going a perfect 3-for-3 while Kraemer drove in a pair of runs. The Sycamores pounded out 11 hits on Forsythe (8-4), sending the Saluki starter to his first loss in seven starts in MVC play. Thursday night's game was also the first time that ISU hit a pair of home runs in a single game in conference action, their first time overall since March 13 against Western Illinois.
The win also jumps Indiana State into sixth place in the league standings, thanks to Illinois State's 9-4 win over Evansville.
Indiana State and Southern Illinois return to the field on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. for game two of their series on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium. ISU will send freshman southpaw Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.94 ERA) against SIU's junior righty Cameron Maldonado (3-7, 7.31 ERA). The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio AM 1300 and 89.7 FM WISU.
Postgame comments from head coach Rick Heller: