TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State baseball team opened Missouri Valley Conference play with an 8-1 victory over the visiting Southern Illinois Salukis on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium, using seven shutout innings from junior Sean Manaea and four runs batted in from senior Robby Ort to win their third consecutive game.
Indiana State improves to 9-7 overall and 1-0 in the MVC with the win while Southern Illinois drops to 9-12, 0-1 in the league play. The Sycamores have now won their first game in league play for three consecutive seasons.
The Sycamores got moving quickly on Friday, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Redshirt senior Koby Kraemer lined a double down the left field line with one out, scoring when Ort came up next and drove a single through the left side of the infield.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of Indiana State until the fifth inning as both Manaea and SIU’s Sam Coonrod pitched well. Manaea struck out seven batters and allowed just one hit through five innings while Coonrod allowed three hits with six strikeouts before the fifth inning.
Junior Tyler Wampler led off the fifth inning by reaching on a throwing error and Indiana State took advantage of the extra out. Wampler went to third on a hit-and-run single to right by sophomore Landon Curry and scored on Kraemer’s double that was lost in the sun by Rennie Troggio in centerfield. Ort made it 3-0 ISU when he hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Curry from third.
Indiana State broke the game open in the seventh inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring five runs in the frame. Ort started the scoring, plating redshirt sophomore Jacob Hayes and Curry with a one-out bases loaded single to left. After a sacrifice fly to center by senior Casey McCurdy, SIU pitching walked three ISU batters to bring in two more runs. Indiana State led 8-0 after the seventh inning.
Southern Illinois broke up the shutout bid for Indiana State in the eighth, as Jake Welch hit a solo home run down the right field line.
Manaea threw an even 100 pitches on Friday with 69 for strikes, fanning eight batters while allowing three hits over seven shutout innings. The junior lefthander improved to 3-1 on the season and dropped his ERA to 0.84. Junior Kurt Kudrecki pitched the final two innings, striking out four of the seven batters he faced.
Ort led the way at the plate, driving in four runs with a 2-for-4 effort. Curry and Kraemer also scored twice as the top three in ISU’s batting combined for six hits, five runs scored and five RBIs.
Indiana State and Southern Illinois will play a doubleheader on Saturday to avoid the winter weather storm moving into the Wabash Valley. First pitch of the twinbill is set for 1:00 p.m.