SHREVEPORT, La. - The Indiana State University baseball team headed south to warmer temperatures to start to 2010 season and their bats warmed up as well, as the Sycamores pounded out 16 hits and 15 runs in a 15-6 win over Texas Southern University at Shehee Stadium on the campus of Centenary College in Shreveport, La.
The Sycamores got off to a fast start on Friday afternoon, plating three runs, all with two outs, in the inning. Junior first baseman Phil Liniger got the inning going with a double over the right fielders head and was brought home when senior third baseman Luke Fieser singled up the middle. Freshman right fielder Robby Ort came to the plate next and doubled to the left field wall to bring home Fieser from first. Ort did not have to wait on the bases long, as he was brought home by a single to left field by sophomore left fielder Kyle Burnam.
Four of the nine starters for Indiana State, in Liniger, Ort, freshman Jeremy Lucas and freshman Jordan Pearson, are new to the program this season. In Friday's game against the Tigers, those four players combined to go 5-15 at the plate with seven runs scored and six batted in.
"Having the young guys play like that is going to be key for us all season," said Fieser. "It was good to see them step up and get these at-bats. It's just one game, but it's a good start for us."
Texas Southern cut the Indiana State lead to two runs by plating a run in the bottom of the first frame, but the Sycamores would add two more runs in the top of the third inning. Ort drew a one-out walk and, after advancing to third on a single by Burnam, would cross the plate on a sacrifice fly by Lucas. After Pearson drew a walk, senior shortstop Ben Ferrell would drive Burnam in with a single to left field to give the Sycamores a 5-1 lead after three innings.
Texas Southern would close the ISU lead to one run after both the fifth and sixth innings, the Sycamores exploded for nine runs in the top of the seventh to take a commanding 15-5 lead.
Freshman Steve Ball got his first at-bat of his college career when he pitch hit for Pearson during the inning. Ball came up twice in the inning, picking up an RBI double and an RBI single in the process. A total of 13 Sycamores would come to plate in the seventh inning, as ISU pounded out seven hits including back-to-back triples by Fieser and Ort.
"I was a little nervous with this being my first career game at the college level, but it gives me confidence that I can do the things that I need to do to make this team become successful," said Ort. "Coming into the first game, you don't expect that much output, but we came out good. It's going to be on heck of a season if we can keep this up."
For the game, ISU totaled 16 hits, stole three bases and tallied seven extra base hits.
Individually, the Sycamores were led by Fieser, who fell a home run short of the cycle on opening day. Fieser finished the game 4-6 with three RBI and two runs scored. Ort, Liniger, Lucas, Ball and Ferrell all finished with a pair of RBI, with Burnam also knocking in a single runner.
Junior Jacob Petricka picked up the victory for ISU, tossing five innings, while striking out six TSU batters. Senior Kevin Mann came in from the bullpen and pitched the final four innings of the game, allowing just four hits and striking out four batters.
"It was definitely nice to get the first win out of the way," said Petricka. "I'm very happy with the way the team hit and the way some of the younger guys treated it just like another game."
The Sycamores (1-0) and Tigers (0-1) will play a doubleheader at Shehee Stadium on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET.