Junior left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea went nine strong innings on Friday night
inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, leading the Indiana State baseball
team to a 2-1 series-opening victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Indiana State improves to 6-6 on the season with the victory while Minnesota drops to 11-7 overall.
Manaea (2-1) led the Sycamores with his first complete game of his career, striking out nine batters over nine innings while allowing six hits and one unearned run. The ISU junior threw 111 pitches in his complete game with 87 going for strikes. Minnesota's Tom Windle (2-2) was just as good on the mound, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) on a 114-pitch no-hitter.
Indiana State broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning, as sophomore Landon Curry led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Junior Cody Zimmerman sent Curry around to third base with a hit-and-run single to right field to put runners on the corners. Junior Mike Fitzgerald gave ISU a 1-0 lead when he came up next, scoring Curry with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Sycamores went in front by a 2-0 score in the sixth inning after taking advantage of a fielding miscue by the Golden Gophers. With Curry on first base, Zimmerman picked up his second consecutive hit to put two runners with one out. Curry took off for third base during Fitzgerald's at-bat and stole third base before scoring when Kurt Schlangen's throw from behind the plate went into left field.
Minnesota tallied their lone run of the game in the seventh inning, also taking advantage of an error in the field. Dan Olinger was hit by a pitch with two outs and went around to third base when Manaea's pickoff throw went into the right-field corner. Ryan Abrahamson cut the ISU lead in half when he brought Olinger home with his bloop single into shallow right field.
The Golden Gophers rallied in the ninth inning, loading the bases with two outs. Manaea was facing UM's Troy Larson with two outs and the bases full when his pitch got away from Fitzgerald behind the plate. Schlangen attempted to tie the game as he ran home from third base, but Fitzgerald's flip to Manaea covering at home was just in time and ended the game for a 2-1 Indiana State victory.
Curry scored both of Indiana State's runs on Friday while Zimmerman went 2-for-4.
An excellent pitchers' duel, Manaea and Windle combined for allow just 10 singles and two walks in their 18 innings on the mound.
Manaea also went nine innings in ISU's 2-0 victory at Creighton on April 7 last season, the game were CU's Erik Mattingly no-hit the Sycamores for nine innings before Jon Hedges provided a two-run single in the top of the 12th inning.
Game two of the series between Indiana State and Minnesota inside the Metrodome will be on Saturday, March 16. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. (ET), 2:00 p.m. locally in Minneapolis and can be heard live online for free on GoSycamores.com.