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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Sycamore Baseball Heads To SEC Country
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Danny Pfrank

The Indiana State baseball team travels to Auburn, Ala., for three games this weekend, facing the College of Charleston, Middle Tennessee and tournament-host Auburn at Plainsman Park. All three games can be heard live online at GoSycamores.com.

Weekend Schedule
Friday: vs. College of Charleston, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Saturday: vs. Middle Tennessee, 6:00 p.m. (ET)
Sunday: vs. Auburn, 3:00 p.m. (ET)

Probable Indiana State Pitching Rotation
Friday: Sean Manaea (Jr. -- LHP -- 6-5 -- 235 -- Wanatah, Ind. -- Andrean HS)
Notes: Ninth pitcher in ISU history to tally 100+ Ks in a single season ... 203 career strikeouts
2013 Season Stats: 0-1 record ... 2.25 ERA ... 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 6 Ks against IPFW last Friday
Saturday: Daniel Peterson (Jr. -- RHP -- 6-6 -- 182 -- Lenexa, Kan. -- Neosho County CC)
Notes: Transfer from Neosho County CC ... earned all-state honors while at De Soto HS (KS)
2013 Season Stats: 0-0 record ... 6.25 ERA ... 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 Ks against Morehead State last Sunday
Sunday: Jeff Degano (Jr. -- LHP -- 6-4 -- 200 -- Surrey, British Columbia -- Marshalltown CC)
Notes: Transfer from Marshalltown CC ... pitched last summer for the Catawaba Valley Stars
2013 Season Stats: 0-0 record ... 3.60 ERA ... 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 Ks against Morehead State last Sunday

A Little History
Indiana State will face College of Charleston, Middle Tennessee and Auburn during their time in Auburn, Ala., entering the tournament holding a 19-11-3 combined record against the trio of teams. The Sycamores split a weekend series with the College of Charleston during the 2008 season, falling 13-1 and 9-4 in the opening games of the series before coming back for wins in the final two games by scores of 26-20 and 6-3. ISU holds a 17-6-3 all-time record against Middle Tennessee, last facing the Blue Raiders during the 1998 season. Indiana State is 0-3 against Auburn, last facing the Tigers during the 1969 season.

Opening Month
Indiana State has totaled a 27-25 record in the month of February over the past 10 seasons, including an even 12-12 record under fourth-year head coach Rick Heller. Below is a quick look at Indiana State's record in the month of February over the past 10 seasons.

2013 -- 2-2                                                            2008 -- 1-3
2012 -- 4-3                                                            2007 -- 2-1
2011 -- 2-4                                                            2006 -- 1-3
2010 -- 4-3                                                            2005 -- 1-2
2009 -- 7-1                                                            2004 -- 1-3

Manaea Named To Three Preseason All-America Teams
Junior Sean Manaea earned selection to a trio of Preseason All-America teams heading into the season, as Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Perfect Game each selected the Indiana State southpaw as a First Team All-American. Below is a quick look at the last All-America selections for the Indiana State baseball team:

ABCA: OF Dan Olson, 1996                                     Collegiate Baseball: DH Todd Tatlock, 1995
Baseball America: SP Casey Whitten, 1993               Sporting News: 3B Chad McDonald, 1990

Manaea Tabbed On Golden Spikes Award Watch List
Junior Sean Manaea was named to the Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List heading into the 2013 season, an award presented by USA Baseball at the end of the season to the top amateur baseball player in the country. Manaea is one of 50 student-athletes from around the nation to earn selection to the preseason list and is joined by Missouri State's Nick Petree in representing the Missouri Valley Conference.

Manaea, Ort Named Preseason All-MVC
Senior Robby Ort and junior Sean Manaea were named to the Preseason All-MVC Team heading into the season in a vote conducted by the eight head coaches from around the MVC.

Ort, a native of Newburgh, Ind., and Castle High School, hit .291 last season while leading the team with 54 RBIs and 20 doubles. Over his three seasons at Indiana State, Ort has totaled 157 runs batted in, needing 17 more in his senior season to break into the Top 5 in school history. Manaea, an Andrean High School product and Wanatah, Ind., native, went 5-3 on the mound with a 3.34 ERA last season, leading the team with 115 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched. In his career with Indiana State, Manaea has 203 strikeouts, becoming to 13th pitcher to break the 200-strikeout barrier with the Sycamores. Manaea's 115 strikeouts last season ranked the southpaw in a tie for 13th on a national scale.

Sycamores Picked Third In MVC Preseason Poll
In a vote conducted by the eight head coaches from around the Missouri Valley Conference, Indiana State was picked to finish in third place during the upcoming 2013 season.

Coming off their first outright regular season MVC championship in program history and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1995, the Sycamores return 14 total letterwinners, five position starters and seven pitchers from last year's squad that finished 41-19 on the season and participated in the NCAA Regional in Eugene, Ore. Indiana State welcomes 14 newcomers to the team and will have six student-athletes eligible after redshirting in 2012.

Missouri State was voted as the preseason favorite in the league, receiving six first-place votes and 60 points overall. Wichita State (one first-place vote, 47 points) checks in second while Illinois State (one first-place vote, 45 points) and Indiana State (45 points) tied for third. Southern Illinois (36 points), Bradley (21 points), 2012 MVC Tournament champions Creighton (18 points) and Evansville (16 points) round out the bottom half of the preseason poll.

Indiana State will face a tough MVC schedule this season despite having four home series against three on the road. ISU's three road trips in conference play this season are against the top three teams in the preseason poll, as the Sycamores travel to Missouri State on March 29-31, Wichita State on April 5-7 and Illinois State on April 19-21. Indiana State's home series are against Southern Illinois (March 22-24), Creighton (April 12-14), Evansville (May 3-5) and Bradley (May 16-18). Illinois State will host the 2013 MVC Tournament at Duffy Bass Field, beginning on Tuesday, May 21.

ISU Claims First Outright Regular Season Title In School History
Indiana State earned their first outright Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship in 2012, finishing the league schedule with a 14-7 record. The 2012 season marked the fourth time in program history that the Sycamores have sat atop the standings at the end of the season, joining the teams from 1982, 1983 and 1985. The 1982 and 1983 squads won the East Division of the MVC while the 1985 team tied with Wichita State.

At-Large Selection
Indiana State received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament field on Selection Monday last season, just the second time in school history that the Sycamores have made the postseason without winning the MVC Tournament. ISU claimed their only other at-large selection back in 1987 when the Sycamores fell in the conference finals to Wichita State, ending the regular season at 44-16-1 before going 1-2 in a regional in Austin, Texas.

Winning Ways
Indiana State posted their fourth straight winning season in 2012 and third straight under head coach Rick Heller. ISU's last run of four consecutive winning seasons came from 2000-03, while the last time that Indiana State posted five winning seasons in a row came during a 17-year run from 1977-1993.

Strong In The Field
Indiana State has ranked in the Top 35 in fielding percentage in all three of their seasons under head coach Rick Heller, one of only nine teams in the nation to do so from 2010-2012. Three of the nine from around the nation are from the Missouri Valley Conference, as Evansville and Creighton are also in the select group.

Eight Shutouts Last Season
The Sycamores recorded eight shutouts last season, their highest total since blanking opponents nine times during both the 1985 and 1983 seasons. The school record for shutouts in a single season is 10, set by the 1977 squad.

Allowing Big Innings
Under head coach Rick Heller, the Sycamores are 70-20 (.778) when the team does not allow a three-run inning during a game. When Indiana State does allow their opponent to score at least three runs in one inning, Indiana State holds a 37-48 (.435) record.

ISU Sets School Record For Hit By Pitches, Ranks Fifth In The NCAA
Indiana State finished fifth in the NCAA in hit by pitches last season, breaking the team's school record by totaling 105 HBPs. ISU also tied a school record for single-game HBPs against SIU Edwardsville (March 13, 2012), as the Sycamores were hit by seven pitches during the game. ISU was also hit by seven pitches twice during the 2008 season, on March 15 at the College of Charleston and on May 13 against Miami (Ohio). Landon Curry led the team with 20 HBPs, while Jeff Miera (15), Jeremy Lucas (10), Robby Ort (10) and Tyler Wampler (10) also went into double figures.

Three Sycamores Earn MVC Specialty Awards In 2012
Jeremy Lucas and Dakota Bacus and head coach Rick Heller each claimed a specialty award from the MVC following the 2012 season, highlighted by Lucas becoming the program's first conference Player of the Year. Bacus was named the Newcomer of the Year for the conference while Heller earned the Dan Callahan / MVC Coach of the Year award.

Lucas hit a team-leading .345 last season, topping the roster in hits (78), home runs (nine), runs scored (53), slugging percentage (.540) and on-base percentage (.443). The Cleveland Indians draftee also totaled 52 RBIs and 13 doubles. Bacus went 7-4 with a 2.70 ERA on the mound, tossing three complete games. The Oakland Athletics selection set the program record for innings pitches in the single season, racking up 116.2 innings on the mound. Heller was named the Dan Callahan / MVC Coach of the Year following the 41-19 season for the Sycamores, their first 40-win season since 1992.

Manaea Joins 200 Strikeout Club
Junior Sean Manaea struck out six batters last weekend in Huntsville, Ala., becoming the 13th member of the 200 Strikeout Club at Indiana State. Manaea totaled 115 Ks in his sophomore season, ranking in a tie for third in school history for single-season strikeouts. Below is a quick look at the career leaders in strikeouts at Indiana State.

1. Casey Whitten (1991-93) - 299                            T7. Tom Browning (1993-96) - 217
2. Mike Gardiner (1984-87) - 296                             9. Paul Quizner (1983-86) - 214
3. Brad Finken (1994-97) -- 275                               10. Chris Schaefer (1987-89) - 213
4. Blaise Ilsley (1983-85) -- 274                               11. Joe Thatcher (2001-04) - 209
5. Mitch Stetter (2000-03) - 254                              12. Sean Manaea (2011-present) - 203
6. Mike Farrell (1988-91) - 248                                13. Matt Zaleski (2001-04) - 200
T7. John Howes (1982-86) - 217

Productive At The Plate: Part I
Senior Robby Ort has led the team in runs batted in following each of his first three seasons at Indiana State, totaling 157 RBIs in his freshman through junior seasons. The Newburgh, Ind., native has also increased his production in all three seasons, improving from 50 RBIs as a freshman to 53 RBIs as a sophomore to 54 RBIs as a junior. In 2012, Ort became the first Sycamore in program history to lead the team in runs batted in for three consecutive seasons.

Productive At The Plate: Part II
Senior Robby Ort enters the weekend with 160 career RBIs at the plate, ranking sixth in program history at ISU. Below is quick look at the Top 10 for RBIs in school history.

1. Boi Rodriguez (1985-87) - 200                            6. Robby Ort (2010-present) - 160
2. Chad McDonald (1988-90) - 198                          7. Bob Zeihen (1985-88) - 159
3. Dan Frye (1989-92) - 186                                   8. Mike Lexa (1984-86) - 154
4. John LaMar (1989-92) - 175                                9. Dan Olson (1994-96) - 153
5. Mike Eberle (1984-87) - 174                               10. Kevin Egli (2000-03) - 151

Steady At Short
Junior Tyler Wampler has been a mainstay on defense for the Sycamores, starting 98 games at shortstop over his three seasons. Wampler has tallied 335 fielding assists (140 as a freshman in 2011, 184 as a sophomore in 2012, 11 in 2013) in his time at Indiana State, a total that puts the West Terre Haute, Ind., native on pace to break Dan Frye's school record of 541.

Freshman At The Top
Sophomore Landon Curry led Indiana State with 16 stolen bases last season as a true freshman, ranking in a tie for sixth in the MVC overall. Curry became the first freshman since Bob Zeihen in 1985 to lead the Sycamores in steals as a rookie. The Uniondale, Ind., native is off to a fast start again in 2013, swiping four bases last weekend during the Bulldog Classic.

Best Winning Percentage In The MVC Since 2009
Indiana State has posted 140 wins and a .611 winning percentage since the 2009 season, the best winning percentage in that span among teams in the MVC. ISU is second to Wichita State (145) in overall wins, but leads the way in winning percentage due to playing 17 fewer games.

Scoring First
The Sycamores scored the first run in 38 of their 60 games last season, tallying a 31-7 record when putting a run on the scoreboard first. ISU scored in the first inning in 25 of their games, going 22-3 last season when plating a run in the opening frame. Indiana State scored first in both of their wins last weekend, including one time in the first inning.

Three Runs Or Less
The three-run plateau has been the breaking point for the Sycamores under head coach Rick Heller the last four seasons. When ISU has allowed three runs or less to their opponents, the team is 63-9 (.875) over the past four seasons. When opponents score four runs or more, ISU holds a 44-59 (.427) record.

Double-Digit Hits
Indiana State recorded at least 10 hits in a game 29 times last season, going 26-3 when posting double-digit hits. Indiana State's only losses when tallying 10 hits came in walk-off wins for their opponents. The Sycamores went for at least 10 hits in both of their wins last weekend at the 2013 Bulldog Classic.

Early Runs
The Sycamores dominated the early innings last season, outscoring their opponents 242-110 (+132) over the first five innings of their 60 games. In the first inning alone, Indiana State had a 37-run advantage, scoring 58 runs to their opposition's 21.

Getting To The Seventh
Under head coach Rick Heller, Indiana State is 75-14 in games that they hold a lead heading into the seventh inning. When the Sycamores have trailed after the sixth inning, ISU is 15-47.

Indiana State Around The NCAA
The Sycamores finished the 2012 season among the nation's best in several offensive and defensive categories. Below is a look at where Indiana State ranked around the NCAA:

Category                      ISU Rank              ISU Total                  NCAA Leader / Total
Total Wins                      T-21st                     41                         Stony Brook / 52
Win/Loss Pct.                  T-25th                   .683                       Utah Valley / .797
Hit By Pitches                    5th                      104                     Delaware State / 152
Sacrifice Flies                  T-20th                     34                             Florida / 46
ERA                                 32nd                     3.25                     Missouri State / 2.57
Fielding Pct.                      35th                     .974                        Evansville / .981
Total Runs                      T-37th                    374                        Utah Valley / 532
Walks Allowed P/G            39th                     2.89                  Cal State Fullerton / 1.87
Hits                                  41st                      609                           Arizona / 756
K-to-BB Ratio                   42nd                     2.42                          Florida / 3.65
Runs Per Game               T-46th                    6.2                         Utah Valley / 9.0

Against The Best
ISU went 7-8 last season against teams that were in the 2012 NCAA Tournament field, including series wins over Dallas Baptist (No. 2 seed, Waco Regional) and Creighton (No. 4 seed, Los Angeles Regional). ISU posted a 14-13 record against the RPI Top 100 in 2012.

Above Average
ISU ranked above the league average in batting, pitching and fielding last season, one of just two teams in the MVC to do so. ISU ranked third in batting average (.288), second in ERA (3.25) and fourth in fielding percentage (.974). Wichita State also finished last season above the league averages of .276 at the plate, 3.81 on the mound and .971 in the field.

Close Games
In Indiana State's four seasons under head coach Rick Heller, the Sycamores are 61-45 (.581) in games decided by three runs or less. In games decided by four or more runs since 2010, Indiana State carries a 46-23 (.667) record. This season, Indiana State is 1-2 in games decided by three runs or less.

Weekend Success
ISU came away winners on 12 of their 14 weekends in 2012, including a string of 12 straight from Feb. 24-26 through May 11-13. Below is a look at last season's weekend results.

Feb. 17-19, at Southeastern Louisiana -- L, 0-3         Apr. 6-8, at Creighton -- W, 2-1
Feb. 24-26, Bulldog Classic -- W, 4-0                        Apr. 13-15, at Bradley -- W, 2-1
Mar. 3-4, at Eastern Kentucky -- W, 2-1                     Apr. 20-22, vs. Dallas Baptist -- W, 2-1
Mar. 9-11, vs. UT Martin -- W, 3-0                            Apr. 27-29, vs. Nebraska Omaha -- W, 2-1
Mar. 15-18, Irish Classic -- W, 4-0                            May 4-6, vs. Wichita State -- W, 2-1
Mar. 23-25, at Evansville -- W, 2-1                            May 11-13, at Southern Illinois -- W, 3-0
Mar. 30-Apr. 1, vs. Illinois State -- W, 2-1                  May 17-19, vs. Missouri State -- L, 1-2

40 Wins
Indiana State's 10-4 win over Southern Illinois on May 13 last season gave the Sycamores their 40th win of the season, the 10th time in program history that ISU broke the 40-win barrier. ISU's 41 wins in 2012 tied for seventh-most in school history and was the team's best since winning 42 games back in 1991. Below is a quick look at the 40-win seasons in ISU history:

2012: 41-19, First Place MVC, NCAA At-Large Bid       1987: 45-18-1, NCAA At-Large Bid
1992: 40-19, Third Place MVC                                  1986: 48-21, MVC Tournament Champions
1991: 42-23, Third Place MVC                                  1985: 57-22, T-First Place MVC
1990: 43-21, Fourth Place MVC                                1982: 40-20, First Place MVC East Division
1989: 48-21, MVC Tournament Champions                1979: 41-11, MVC Tournament Champions

Welcome Aboard
Indiana State added 14 newcomers to the team this offseason, with five freshmen and nine transfers joining the Sycamore baseball program. Below is a quick look at the new faces on the Sycamore baseball roster.

No.       Name                        Year      Pos.       Ht.       Wt.          Hometown
4          Taylor Steen                Fr.         C         6-3       190         Grand Fork, N.D.
11         Hunter Owen               Fr.        INF       6-0       175         Evansville, Ind.
12         Jeff Smith                    Jr.         C         6-0       190         Valparaiso, Ind.
17         Logan Willard               Jr.       RHP       6-2       210         Eagle Grove, Iowa
20         Taylor Shaw               R-Sr.       C         6-2       210         Pleasant View, Utah
22         Mike Fitzgerald             Jr.        OF        6-1       210         Rochester, Ill.
28         Cody Zimmerman         Jr.        INF       5-9       200         Newark, Calif.
30         Jeff Degano                 Jr.        LHP       6-4       200         Surrey, British Columbia
31         A.J. McElderry              Jr.        LHP       6-2       210         Batavia, Iowa
32         Tony Rosselli               Fr.        OF        6-2       185         Terre Haute, Ind.
33         Daniel Peterson            Jr.       RHP       6-6       182         Lenexa, Kan.
36         Bobby Boynton            Fr.       RHP       6-1       215         Decatur, Ill.
37         Nick Martin                  Fr.       RHP       6-0       205         Lake of the Hills, Ill.
38         Josh Dove                    Jr.       RHP       6-2       235         Terre Haute, Ind.

On To The Next One...
ISU plays their first midweek games of the season next week, traveling to Austin Peay on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

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