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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Sycamores Host League-Leading Bluejays At Bob Warn Field
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Danny Pfrank

The Indiana State baseball team welcomes the Missouri Valley Conference-leading and nationally-ranked Creighton Bluejays to Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium this weekend.

All three games of the series can be heard live on WIBQ 98.5 FM and on the Nelligan Sports Marketing Radio Network as Brian Fritz calls all the action on the diamond. A free video stream is also available through SycamoreVision on GoSycamores.com.

Indiana State (14-13, 4-5 MVC) has won three of their last five games, totaling three consecutive games with double-digit hits at the plate. Creighton (18-6, 5-1 MVC) swept Bradley in Omaha last weekend, earning the No. 30 national ranking from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

Weekend Schedule
Friday: 6:30 p.m. – Breast Cancer Awareness Night honoring ISU’s women in sports and the Council of Domestic Abuse
Saturday: 2:00 p.m. – Football Day with ISU’s Mike Sanford and staff
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – ISU Camper Day, inviting all those that attended an ISU baseball camp over the summer

Probable Weekend Indiana State Pitching Rotation
Friday: Devin Moore (Sr. -- RHP -- 6-3 -- 210 -- Springfield, Ill. -- Lincoln Land CC)

Notes: 17 hits allowed in his last 26.2 IP ... ISU has scored just three runs in his last four starts
2013 Season Stats: 2-3 record ... 2.85 ERA ... 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 Ks at Wichita State last Friday
Saturday: Sean Manaea (Jr. -- LHP -- 6-5 -- 235 -- Wanatah, Ind. -- Andrean HS)

Notes: Sixth in ISU history with 252 career strikeouts ... at least eight Ks in five of his seven starts
2013 Season Stats: 4-2 record ... 0.99 ERA ... 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 9 Ks at Wichita State last Sunday
Sunday: Daniel Peterson (Jr. -- RHP -- 6-6 -- 182 -- Lenexa, Kan. -- Neosho County CC)

Notes: Earned his first win at ISU with three scoreless innings of relief work on Tuesday vs. Purdue
2013 Season Stats: 1-3 record ... 4.81 ERA ... 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 Ks at Wichita State last Sunday

A Little History
This weekend’s series will be the 126th, 127th and 128th all-time meetings between Indiana State and Creighton, with the Bluejays leading the series by a 74-51 margin. Home field advantage has not been kind to either ISU or CU over the past four seasons, as the road team has claimed each of the last four series and is 9-3 since 2009. The Bluejays have seen plenty of recent success in Terre Haute, winning 10 of their last 12 games on the road since 2005 while holding a 7-4-3 all-time edge in series played in Indiana. Indiana State’s last series win at home came back in 2001 (3-1). Under fourth-year head coach Rick Heller, Indiana State is 6-6 overall and 0-3 at home against Creighton.

Scouting The Bluejays
Creighton enters the weekend at 18-6 on the season and in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference at 5-1, earning the No. 30 national ranking from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The Bluejays took two out of three games on the road at Evansville (March 22-24) before sweeping Bradley in Omaha last weekend. CU is 8-2 in true road games and 11-4 away from TD Ameritrade Park this season, winning seven of their last eight games overall since the series finale against the Purple Aces. Sophomore Jake Peter ranks second in the MVC with a .402 (41-for-102) batting average this season, also scoring 20 runs and stealing six bases. Junior Federico Castagnini was named the MVC Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .545 (6-for-11) with four runs scored against the Braves.

Game-by-Game – Creighton
Below is a quick look at the last 10 games in the series between Indiana State and Creighton.

May 22, 2012 at Springfield, Mo. -- L, 0-5                  April 16, 2011 at Indiana State -- L, 5-9
April 8, 2012 at Creighton -- L, 0-8                            April 15, 2011 at Indiana State -- L, 0-4
April 7, 2012 at Creighton -- W, 2-0 (12)                    May 27, 2010 at Wichita, Kan. -- W, 9-7
April 6, 2012 at Creighton -- W, 6-3                           May 25, 2010 at Wichita, Kan. -- W, 8-7 (10)
April 17, 2011 at Indiana State -- L, 5-6                     April 4, 2010 at Creighton -- L, 6-7

At Home Under Head Coach Rick Heller
Under head coach Rick Heller, Indiana State is 58-24 (.707) in home games since the start of the 2010 season. In MVC action, the Sycamores are 18-15 (.545) in Terre Haute. This season, Indiana State is 7-2 at home and 3-0 within the conference at Bob Warn Field.

Three Consecutive 10-Hit Games
The Sycamores posted 11 hits on Saturday, 10 hits on Sunday at Wichita State and 14 hits last Tuesday against Purdue, three of the eight time this season that ISU has tallied at least 10 hits in a game. The last time that Indiana State went for double-digit hits in three consecutive games was during a five-game stretch from April 11-17 last season.

Indiana State Ends Tough Schedule Stretch This Weekend
The Sycamores ended March and began April with an 11-game stretch against four of the top teams in the Midwest, traveling to Missouri State, Purdue and Wichita State for seven straight games before hosting Purdue and Creighton this week. The Bears, Boilermakers and Shockers combined for 120 wins last season and won 66% of their games while Missouri State, Purdue and Creighton all joined Indiana State in the postseason in 2012. The Sycamores enter the weekend at 3-5 during this tough stretch of the 2013 schedule.

All Nine Starters Post At Least One Hit Against Purdue
Led by senior Jordan Pearson’s three hits, all nine position starters for Indiana State tallied at least one hit in ISU’s 10-5 victory over Purdue on Tuesday. The last time that the Sycamores saw all nine of their starters total at least one hit was on March 11 of last season in a 15-4 victory over UT Martin at Bob Warn Field.

4-1 Against The Big Ten Conference This Season
Indiana State completed a two-game series sweep of Purdue last Tuesday, moving the Sycamores to 4-1 against the Big Ten Conference this season with four out of those five games coming on the road. The Sycamores took two out of three games inside the Metrodome against Minnesota in mid-March before sweeping a home-and-home midweek series with the Boilermakers over the last two weeks. If Indiana State were inserted into the Big Ten standings, the Sycamores would be second in winning percentage behind Indiana (8-1, .889).

Kraemer Named MVC Scholar-Athlete Of The Week
Redshirt senior Koby Kraemer led the Sycamores with a .700 (7-for-10) batting average during their weekend set at Wichita State last week and has been named the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week. Kraemer joins senior Devin Moore (March 27) and sophomore Landon Curry (March 20) on the list of baseball student-athletes that have earned the weekly award this season.

The Terre Haute native and South Vigo High School product tallied three multi-hit games and three doubles during ISU’s series in Wichita, Kan., scoring three runs over the weekend. Kraemer posted another multi-hit game with a double against Purdue on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored.

Kraemer, Hayes Swinging Hot Bats
Redshirt senior Koby Kraemer and redshirt sophomore Jacob Hayes have been swinging two of the hottest bats in the batting order, leading the Sycamores to wins in three of their last five games. Kraemer is 9-for-14 (.643) since last Friday, posting four consecutive multi-hit games with four doubles and five runs scored. Hayes is 7-for-14 (.500) over his last five games, totaling two doubles and four runs batted in.

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 Ranks 31st Nationally, Sixth In ISU History In Strikeouts
Junior Sean Manaea struck out nine batters last weekend at Wichita State, continuing his climb up the career rankings at Indiana State. Manaea totaled 115 Ks in his sophomore season, ranking in a tie for third in school history for single-season strikeouts. The Sycamore southpaw enters the week with 55 strikeouts this season, good for 31st in the nation. Below is a quick look at the Top 10 in career strikeouts at Indiana State.

1. Casey Whitten (1991-93) – 299                             6. Sean Manaea (2011-present) – 252
2. Mike Gardiner (1984-87) – 296                              7. Mike Farrell (1988-91) – 248
3. Brad Finken (1994-97) – 275                                 T8. John Howes (1982-86) – 217
4. Blaise Ilsley (1983-85) – 274                                 T8. Tom Browning (1993-96) – 217
5. Mitch Stetter (2000-03) – 254                                10. Paul Quizner (1983-86) – 214

Manaea, Moore Combine For Three MVC Pitcher Of The Week Awards
Junior Sean Manaea and senior Devin Moore have combined for three MVC Pitcher of the Week awards, highlighting a Sycamore pitching staff that ranks third in the conference with a 3.71 ERA this season. Manaea was selected on Feb. 22 following his six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against College of Charleston and on March 18 after fanning nine batters in a complete game six-hitter at Minnesota. Moore earned the award on March 25 following his two-hit complete game shutout of Southern Illinois.

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

Productive At The Plate: Part I
Senior Robby Ort enters the week with 175 career RBIs at the plate, ranking in a tie for fourth 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. Mike Eberle (1984-87) – 174
2. Chad McDonald (1988-90) – 198                           7. Bob Zeihen (1985-88) – 159
3. Dan Frye (1989-92) – 186                                    8. Mike Lexa (1984-86) – 154
T4. John LaMar (1989-92) – 175                               9. Dan Olson (1994-96) – 153
T4. Robby Ort (2010-present) – 175                  10. Kevin Egli (2000-03) – 151

Productive At The Plate: Part II
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. Ort enters the weekend with a team-leading 18 RBIs.

Steady At Short
Junior Tyler Wampler has been a mainstay on defense for the Sycamores, starting 120 games at shortstop over his three seasons. Wampler has tallied 399 fielding assists (140 as a freshman in 2011, 184 as a sophomore in 2012, 75 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. Wampler enters the weekend with a career fielding percentage of .962 (24 errors in 137 games).

Off And Running
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, ranking third in the conference with 12 stolen bases this season. For his career, Curry is 28-for-34 in stolen base attempts.

Ninth Inning Scoring
From March 27th to April 3rd, 11 of Indiana State’s last 14 runs scored over five games came in the ninth inning. ISU scored two runs in the ninth in their 4-2 loss to Illinois (Chicago), seven runs in their 8-7 loss in 11 innings at Missouri State and two runs in their 4-3 victory at Purdue. The Sycamores also scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning at home against Southern Illinois on Sunday, March 23, earning the series sweep with an 8-4 win.

Seven-Run Ninth At Missouri State
ISU’s seven-run ninth inning in the series finale at Missouri State was ISU’s most runs in a single inning since plating eight runs in the second inning at Bradley last season on April 15.

No Errors
Defense led the Sycamores to their series sweep over Southern Illinois, as Indiana State did not make an error in the field in their three-game set with the Salukis. The last time that Indiana State did not make an error over a weekend series was during the 2010 season when ISU took two out of three games at home over Missouri State on April 30 through May 2. Indiana State opened MVC play with a three-game sweep of Southern Illinois, the second season in a row that the Sycamores have blanked the Salukis over a weekend matchup.

Kraemer’s Grand Slam Highlights Series Win At Minnesota
Redshirt senior Koby Kraemer hit a grand slam in the sixth inning inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, sending the Sycamores to a 9-4 win in the rubber match on Sunday, March 17. Indiana State earned a 2-1 victory on Friday night against the Golden Gophers as junior Sean Manaea pitched his first complete game with nine strikeouts.

Best Winning Percentage In The MVC Since 2009
Indiana State has posted 152 wins and a .603 winning percentage since the 2009 season, the best winning percentage in that span among teams in the MVC. ISU is second to Wichita State (162) in overall wins, but leads the way in winning percentage due to playing 24 fewer games.

Getting To The Seventh
Under head coach Rick Heller, ISU is 87-14 (.861) in games that they hold a lead heading into the seventh inning. When the Sycamores have trailed after the sixth inning, ISU is 18-57 (.240).

Against The Best
ISU is 3-4 against the RPI Top 60 this season, with wins over Mercer (26), Austin Peay (27) and College of Charleston (59). Last season, the Sycamores were 14-13 against the RPI Top 100.

Indiana State Tied For The MVC Lead With 40 Stolen Bases
Led by sophomore Landon Curry’s 12 stolen bases, the Sycamores are tied with Illinois State at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings with 40 steals as a team this season. Indiana State finished second in the conference in 2010 with 105 swipes in head coach Rick Heller’s first season at ISU, led by Ryan Strausborger’s team-leading 41 steals.

Allowing Big Innings
Under head coach Rick Heller, the Sycamores are 78-25 (.757) 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 41-54 (.432) record.

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 70-11 (.864) over the past four seasons. When opponents score four runs or more, ISU holds a 49-68 (.419) record.

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. That trend has continued into 2013, as Indiana State is 10-2 when scoring first and 5-1 when scoring in the opening inning.

Double-Digit Hits
ISU recorded at least 10 hits in a game 29 times last season, going 26-3 when posting double-digit hits. ISU’s only losses when tallying 10 hits came in walk-off wins for their opponents. So far in 2013, ISU is 6-2 when posting 10 hits or more and 8-11 when going for nine hits or less.

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, ISU had a 37-run advantage, scoring 58 runs to their opposition’s 21. In 2013, Indiana State has a six-run advantage in the first five innings, leading 62-56, and has scored 12 first-inning runs.

All About Defense
The Sycamores rank 30th in the country in fielding percentage heading into the week, as the Sycamores check in with a .975 fielding percentage. Under head coach Rick Heller, Indiana State is 56-20 (.737) when they do not make an error in a game, including a 7-5 record this season. When the Sycamores have made a fielding miscue in Heller’s four seasons, the team sits just above the .500 mark at 63-59.

Strong In The Field
Indiana State has ranked in the Top 35 in fielding percentage from 2010-12 under head coach Rick Heller, one of only nine teams in the nation to do so over each of the previous three seasons. Three of the nine from around the nation are from the Missouri Valley Conference, as Evansville and Creighton are also in the select group. CU (11th), ISU (30th) and UE (45th) are all in the Top 45 in fielding this season.

Close Games
In Indiana State’s four seasons under head coach Rick Heller, the Sycamores are 67-50 (.573) in games decided by three runs or less. In games decided by four or more runs since 2010, the Sycamores carry a 52-28 (.650) record. This season, Indiana State is 7-7 in games decided by three runs or less.

Indiana State Around The NCAA
The Sycamores are among the nation’s best in several offensive and defensive categories. Below is a look at where Indiana State ranks around the NCAA entering the week:

Category                                      ISU Rank     ISU Total           NCAA Leader / Total
Sacrifice Flies                                 T-25th           18                 VMI, Campbell / 30
Fielding Percentage                           30th           .975                  Oregon / .988
Strikeouts Per 9 IP                            41st            7.9                Arkansas State / 9.7
Stolen Bases Per Game                     48th            1.54                 Wofford / 3.06
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio                     68th            2.24           Cal State Fullerton / 4.98
Hits Allowed Per 9 IP                         77th           8.61                 Arkansas / 6.17
Earned Run Average                          84th           3.66                Arkansas / 1.59
Total Stolen Bases                           T-85th           40                   Wofford / 104
WHIP (BB + Hits / IP)                         87th           1.35                Arkansas / 0.94

Saint Patrick’s Day Success
Indiana State defeated Minnesota on Saint Patrick’s Day this season, picking a 9-4 victory on Sunday, March 17, inside the Metrodome. The Sycamores are now 22-10 all-time on the holiday, including a six-game winning streak. Last season, Indiana State defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day in San Antonio, Texas, winning 6-4 in 10 innings.

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. Indiana State 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. During Indiana State’s 17-year run from 1977 to 1993, the Sycamores posted a 675-354-7 record and made six NCAA appearances.

On To The Next One...
Indiana State closes out their six-game homestand with a pair of midweek games next week, hosting Butler on Tuesday and SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday. Next weekend, Indiana State hits the road for a weekend series at Illinois State on April 19-21.

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