- For the fifth time in Missouri Valley Conference play the Indiana State
baseball team opened a series with a victory, scoring three runs in the first
inning en route to a 6-3 victory over Southern Illinois on Friday afternoon
from Abe Martin Field.
Indiana State (38-12, 11-5 MVC) took advantage of a SIU fielding error to put three runs on the scoreboard in the first inning, as redshirt junior Koby Kraemer's sharply hit grounder to third got past SIU third baseman Austin Montgomery. After a walk to junior Jeremy Lucas, fellow junior Rob Ort dropped a single into shallow left-center to plate Kraemer from second and begin a string of three consecutive run-scoring at-bats. Senior Jon Hedges followed with a sacrifice fly to left before senior Lucas Hileman, making his first start and second appearance since April 21, drove a ball to center to give ISU a 3-0 lead.
Southern Illinois (25-24, 9-10 MVC) cut the ISU lead to one run in the second inning as Nick Johnson and Donny Duschinsky picked up back-to-back RBIs.
The Sycamores responded with a run in the top half of the following inning after Lucas drew a leadoff walk. Hedges hit a one-out double deep into the left-center field gap to move Lucas to third before Hileman picked up his second RBI with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Salukis cut the ISU lead to one run again in the sixth, using a leadoff double by Jordan Sivertsen to get the inning going. Sivertsen scored with two outs on Johnson's sharp single to sophomore Tyler Wampler at short.
Junior Dakota Bacus kept the Sycamores in front by one run with a strong seventh and eighth inning, allowing just one baserunner in the late innings.
Indiana State scored a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the ninth inning, with junior Jordan Pearson scoring on a balk before Lucas brought home freshman Landon Curry with a two-out single to left.
Bacus started the ninth inning, but allowed a leadoff walk before senior Reggie Hochstedler was brought into the game. Hochstedler earned his third save of the season by retiring the next three batters. Bacus improved to 6-3 on the season.
Curry tied his season high with four hits in the game, while Ort also picked up two. Hileman led the team with a pair of RBIs. Lucas pushed his MVC-leading total for runs scored to 49 in the game, scoring twice.
Indiana State and Southern Illinois play game two of their series at 3:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow from Abe Martin Field in Carbondale. A pair of lefthanders will go to the mound for ISU and SIU, in sophomore Sean Manaea (4-1, 3.07 ERA) for the Sycamores against junior Nathan Dorris (6-3, 4.77 ERA) for the Salukis.