CONWAY, Ark. - The Indiana State baseball team opened their weekend series against the Central Arkansas Bears with a 10-5 victory on Friday, scoring in six of the nine innings played at Bear Stadium in Conway, Ark.
After a scoreless first inning, Indiana State (3-4) struck first on Friday, tallying a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Junior Lucas Hileman reached base with a one-out single, scoring on the next pitch of the game when sophomore Koby Kraemer laced the first pitch he saw from UCA starter Evan Cox for a double into the left-center field gap to plate Hileman from first. After stealing third base, Kraemer would score when junior Jon Hedges hit a sacrifice fly to right to give ISU a 2-0 lead.
ISU went up 3-0 in the third inning, taking advantage of a fielding miscue by the Bears. After freshman Tyler Wampler singled to lead off the inning, senior Levi Ferguson dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance Wampler to second, but the throw to second got away from first baseman Jonathan Houston, putting Wampler on third and Ferguson to first. Junior Kyle Burnam brought Wampler home later in the inning with a groundout to second base.
The Bears (6-3) cut the Sycamore lead to one-run in the bottom of the third inning, but Hedges put ISU back in front by three with a two-run home run with two outs in the fourth inning. In the fifth, the Sycamores pushed their lead to 6-2 when sophomore Robby Ort pulled a single through the right side of the infield to plate Ferguson from second base.
ISU plated three more insurance runs in the seventh inning, coming on base-hits from Burnam, Ort and Hileman. Ort worked his way around the bases in the ninth inning to score the final run of the game for the Sycamores, reaching base with a walk before stealing second, moving to third on a flyout by sophomore Jake Hartley and scoring on a wild pitch.
ISU's pair of junior transfers from St. Petersburg Community College and Northern Iowa were the only two hurlers to take the mound for the Sycamores, with Colin Rea tossing six innings and Reggie Hochstedler completing the final three. Rea threw 121 pitches on Friday, allowing four hits and two runs (both earned) while striking out seven and walking three. Hochstedler picked up his first save of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, while striking out five and walking a pair on 66 pitches.
Wampler led ISU with three hits, while Hedges tallied three RBIs. Burnam and Ort both picked up a pair of RBIs.
The Sycamores and Bears are set to play a doubleheader on Saturday at Bear Stadium beginning at 2:00 p.m. (ET). Senior right-hander Jason Van Skike and freshman southpaw Sean Manaea are scheduled to take the mound for Indiana State, with the game being available live online through 89.7 FM WISU at http://indstate.edu/wisu.