EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The team that scored first won each of the games in Evansville this weekend. Unfortunately for Indiana State, the Sycamores scored first in just one of them and that was not Sunday when the Evansville Purple Aces took the early lead and held off Indiana State for a 5-2 Missouri Valley Conference victory.
“You cannot keep playing from behind,” Mitch Hannahs, Indiana State baseball coach said. “We had opportunities but just could not take advantage of them. We will take this, learn, and keep getting better.”
Indiana State fell to 15-5 on the season and 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference with the loss while Evansville improved to 12-7 overall and 2-1 in the Valley. The Sycamores, who have played 17 of their first 20 games on the road, will be on the home field for the next two weeks beginning on Wednesday when they host the Indiana Hoosiers in a 6 p.m. (ET) non-conference contest.
The Sycamores left nine runners aboard during the course of the game as they had opportunities to score in each inning except the first when they were retired in order. Evansville left six on base but was able to get their lead off runner on in seven of their eight at-bats during the game.
Evansville opened the scoring in the second after Boomer Synek tripled down the right field line against Sycamore starter Kurt Kudrecki and scored on a Jonathan Ramon sacrifice fly to left. Jarod Perry led off the Aces third with a single, Josh Jyawook and both advanced on Jake Mahon’s sacrifice bunt. Perry scored on a double by Kevin Kaczmarski but the Sycamore defense averted a disastrous inning as Kyle Pollock hit into a double play that got Jyawook trying to score on the hit and Pollock trying to go from to second.
The Aces lead grew to 5-0 in the sixth as Kaczmarski and Pollock hit back-to-back doubles, Synek singled both in and scored on a Eric McKibban single.
One more run came in for the Sycamores in the eighth when Mike Fitzgerald belted the only home run of the weekend, this one over the right centerfield fence to cut the Indiana State deficit to 5-2. That lead was almost cut to two but Brian Romero’s hit was caught at the fence by the Aces right fielder.
Kudrecki (3-2) was the losing pitcher for Indiana State as he went five innings in allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out none and walking one. Ryan Keaffaber got in three innings of work in relief, giving up a run on four hits with no strike outs or walks.
Hannahs led the Sycamores at the plate ith three singles in four trips to the plate. Hayes had a triple, his fourth this season, and a single while Fitzgerald had a home run, his third of the season. Zahn added a double and Curry a single.