CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Indiana State University baseball team fell victim to a walk-off hit from The Citadel on Friday, as the Bulldogs rallied from a one-run deficit in the ninth inning to take the opening game of the series by a score of 4-3 at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.
For the fifth straight game, the Sycamores (18-9) jumped out to an early lead with a single run in the top of the first inning. Senior Ryan Strausborger looped the first pitch he saw from Bulldog starter Asher Wojciechoski into right field for a single. Strausborger would use his speed to move around the bases after that, stealing both second and third base, before scoring on a throwing error as the Bulldog catcher tried to get him at third.
The 1-0 ISU lead would only last until the third inning, when The Citadel (23-9) tied up the game with a two-out home run off the bat of designated hitter Brad Felder.
The game remained knotted at 1-1 for the next two innings, before freshman Robby Ort came to the plate in the top of the sixth inning. Ort sent the first pitch he saw during his at-bat with Wojciechoski high into the air over the right field fence for his second home run this season to give the Sycamores a 2-1 lead.
The Bulldogs plated a run of their own in their half of the sixth on an RBI single off the bat of second baseman Josh Pless to tie the game at 2-2.
Ort delivered again in his next at-bat, this time sending a pitch down the left field line that would clip the foul pole for a home run, the freshman's second of the game and third of the season.
The Sycamores held that slim 3-2 lead until the ninth, when The Citadel rallied with two hits off of senior Scott Harlan (1-1), before freshman closer Tyler Browning entered the game. Browning would hit the first batter he faced, before getting called for a balk to allow the tying run to cross the plate. After an intentional walk to create the force out at the plate, Bulldog first baseman Justin Mackert delivered the winning hit on a single to center field.
Junior Jacob Petricka started the game for the Sycamores, tossing six strong innings on the mound. Petricka scattered seven hits and two runs, while striking out five batters and allowing two walks. Asher Wojciechowski started the game for the Bulldogs, entering the game tied for the national lead with seven wins in seven starts while also leading the nation in strikeouts. The Sycamores gave Wojciechowski his first no-decision of the season, as the Bulldog starter tossed eight innings on the mound, giving up six hits and three runs while striking out six.
Ort led ISU at the plate, going 3-4 on the day with a pair of home runs. Freshman Jake Hartley followed up his impressive college debut with a pair of hits at the plate, with senior Luke Fieser and Strausborger also picking up hits.
The Sycamores and Bulldogs will face off again tomorrow at Riley Park, with a pair of left-handed pitchers taking the mound. ISU will send senior Joe Rodriguez (2-1, 4.85 ERA) against The Citadel's Matt Talley (2-1, 5.17 ERA). First pitch on Saturday is set for 2:00 p.m. and can be heard live online at http://www.indstate.edu/wisu.