EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Indiana State Sycamores dropped their second straight game of the season and lost their Missouri Valley Conference opener for the first time in four years as the Evansville Purple Aces held off the Sycamores 5-2 Friday night at Braun Stadium
Indiana State (14-4) lost in back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to stop that streak tomorrow when they take on Evansville (11-6) in the second game of the three-game series at 3 p.m. (ET). The final game of the series will be played at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
Junior David Stagg (4-1) lost his first game of the season in his sixth start as he was charged with five runs, all earned, on five hits while striking out two and walking five. He also hit three batters in 4.2 innings of work. Nick Kolarik took over in the fifth and finished the game, shutting down the Aces on two hits while striking out five and walking one. He also hit one batter.
The Aces struck first in the bottom of the second after Boomer Synek walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a double to left field form Jonathan Ramon.
Indiana State came right back in the top of the third. Derek Hannahs led off with a single as he has now hit safely in 10 straight games. Connor McClain followed with a single and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. Hannahs scored the tying run when Landon Curry flew out to deep left field.
Evansville regained the lead in the fourth Synek led off with a single. Ramon walked and both advanced on a Eric McKibban sacrifice bunt. Synek scored when Shain Showers grounded out to second.
Back came the Sycamores in the top of the fourth. McClain was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a Cody Zimmerman single which extended his hitting streak to 12 games. McClain scored the tying run on a Jacob Hayes single.
The Aces broke out on top 5-2 with three runs in their half of the fifth. Evansville loaded the bases on a single and two walks, scoring the go ahead run when Ramon was hit by a pitch. Another scored on a McKibban sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Showers. That ended the night for Stagg with Nick Kolarik coming on and retiring the side.
The Sycamores loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with no outs after Mike Fitzgerald and Michael Eberle led off with singles and Tyler Wampler reached after being hit by a pitch. Jeff Zahn hit into a fielder’s choice that got Fitzgerald out at the plate. However, Indiana State was unable to take advantage as the next two batters struck out.
Indiana State had nine hits in the game but did not have an extra base hit for the first time this season. Tyler Wampler had two singles in three trips to the plate to lead the Sycamore offense while Landon Curry, Cody Zimmerman, Jacob Hayes, Mike Fitzgerald, Michael Eberle, Derek Hannahs, and Connor McClain each had a single.
The Sycamores had won three straight Valley openers with their last loss coming at home to the Illinois State 6-1 in 2010.