TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - After mustering just six hits and one run over the games first seven innings, the Indiana State University baseball team used a seven run eighth inning rally to defeat the visiting Eastern Illinois University Panthers, 8-2, at Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium in front of 112 fans.
With one out and the game tied at 1-1 in the eighth inning, senior Tyler Graham got the rally started by drawing a walk. Graham would go first to third on a single through the left side of the infield by junior Phil Liniger. Sophomore Bryan Chestnut entered the game to pinch run for Liniger and would cross the plate with Graham when freshman Robby Ort crushed a triple to straight-away center field to break the inning open. After a walk and a steal by freshman Jeremy Lucas, junior Levi Ferguson would plate Ort with a single to center field and would move to second on the throw to the plate.
With runners on second and third, pinch hitter Ben Caple drove in a run with a fielder's choice ground ball to second base. The throw came home on the play, but Lucas made it home before the tag for another ISU run. An RBI single from senior Ryan Strausborger and a bunt single from sophomore Kyle Burnam loaded the bases for senior Luke Fieser. Fieser knocked a sacrifice fly to center field and when an errant throw came to the infield, Strausborger took advantage and scored on the play as well. In the eighth inning alone, the Sycamores tallied seven runs on five hits.
The Sycamores fell behind early in the non-conference contest, when the Panthers totaled back-to-back-to-back singles in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Indiana State would come back to tie the score in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Ort again. Fieser led off the inning with a double to right-center field and, with two outs, Ort brought Fieser home with a single to left field to tie the score.
Junior JT Stenftenagel started the game for the Sycamores, tossing the first three inning of game. Six ISU pitchers each took the mound for a single inning after that, with senior Kevin Mann (2-0) picking up his second victory of the season in the process.
Ort led Indiana State at the plate, going 2-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Strausborger, Fieser, Ferguson and Caple all tallied a single RBI with Lucas stealing a pair of bases in the win over Eastern Illinois.
With the win, the Sycamores improve to 7-4 overall while Eastern Illinois falls to 1-9. EIU and ISU will meet one more time this season, when Indiana State travels to Charleston, Ill., on Friday, May 14. The Sycamores will return to the field next when they travel to Dayton, Ohio, to take part in the Dayton Classic. The Sycamores are scheduled to play Dayton on Friday, Wright State on Saturday and Oakland on Sunday. All three games can be heard live on 89.7 WISU.