SAN ANTONIO - The Indiana State University baseball team tallied three runs in the second inning and held their lead for the rest of the game, taking the series finale with the University of Texas at San Antonio by a score of 10-9 at Roadrunner Field in San Antonio, Texas.
Junior first baseman Phil Liniger and senior catcher Tyler Graham both totaled three hits on Sunday to lead ISU, who pounded out 15 hits for the game. Seniors Grant Grgurich and Ben Ferrell both finished with two RBI on the day, with Liniger leading the team with three runs scored.
Indiana State took an early lead with three runs in the top of the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Grgurich singled to right field to drive in Liniger from third, but UTSA made a fielding error on the play to allow both freshman Robby Ort and Graham to score on the play as well to give the Sycamores an early 3-0 lead.
The Sycamores would stretch their early lead to 4-0 when Graham doubled to left field with two outs to drive in senior Luke Fieser from first base.
UTSA would plate a single run in the bottom of the frame, only to see ISU tally two of its own in the top of the fourth. With one out, Ferrell knocked a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Liniger. The next batter, senior Ryan Strausborger, tripled to left-center field, allowing freshman Jeremy Lucas to score to put the Sycamores in front 6-1. The Roadrunners would cut the ISU lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the inning on a pair of home runs.
The score would remain 6-4 until the seventh inning when the Sycamores notched three runs in the inning. With one out, Grgurich would hit the first pitch he saw to left field to plate Ort from third and move Liniger to second base. A pair of UTSA wild pitches would move Liniger from second to third and from third to home for the second run of the inning. With Grgurich on third, Ferrell would crack a double to left-center field for his second RBI of the day and the third ISU run of the inning.
UTSA would cut the ISU lead to 9-8 with four runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh. The Sycamores responded, however, getting a crucial insurance run in the top of the ninth inning off the bat of sophomore Kyle Burnam to put ISU up 10-8 heading into the bottom of the ninth. UTSA would plate a single run in the bottom of the frame, with freshman Tyler Browning striking out a Roadrunner pinch hitter to close the game for a Sycamores victory.
Junior Blake Drake started the game for the Sycamores, allowing four runs on four hits over 3.1 innings on the mound. Drake struck out three UTSA batters and allowed three walks. Senior Kevin Mann (1-0) picked up the victory in relief, also allowing four runs over three innings on the rubber. Mann surrendered three hits and one walk while striking out a pair of batters. A trio of Sycamore relievers, in senior Scott Harlan, sophomore Brandon Flora and Browning, combined to pitch the final 2.2 innings of the game, allowing only two hits and one run to secure the victory for Indiana State. Browning picked up the first save of the season for ISU with his strikeout in the ninth.
The Sycamores (4-3) were scheduled to open the 2010 season at home on Tuesday, March 2, against the Indiana University Hoosiers, but due to the weather conditions in the Terre Haute area, the field will be unplayable for that date. The game with IU will be attempted to be rescheduled for later in the season. With the postponement of the Indiana game, the Sycamores will have this upcoming week off, tentatively opening the 2010 home season on Friday, March 5, at 3:00 p.m. against the University of Tennessee at Martin.