TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State baseball team scored all five of their runs in the opening three innings of Wednesday's in-state battle, using that early offense to top the Ball State Cardinals, 5-3, in front of 411 fans inside Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The Sycamores will carry a six-game winning streak into Friday's Missouri Valley Conference opener with Bradley, with Wednesday's win improving ISU's record to 17-10 while Ball State falls to 6-20.
Sophomore Koby Kraemer got Indiana State going in the first inning, recording ISU's first hit of the night with a double to left field. Kraemer scored when fellow sophomore Robby Ort came to the plate next, as Ort singled to right to give ISU a 1-0 lead.
The Sycamores doubled their lead in the second inning on the same double-single combination, this time coming in the form of a leadoff double by junior Kyle Burnam and an RBI single by sophomore Jeremy Lucas.
The big hit of the night came in the third inning, as junior Jon Hedges gave ISU a 5-0 lead with a three-run home run over the left field fence. With two outs in the inning, Kraemer and Ort both reached base with singles, as Kraemer knocked a pitch through the left side of the infield and Ort placed a bunt down the third base line. That brought Hedges to the plate, as the ISU first baseman sent the first pitch he saw out of the park for his third long ball of the season.
The Cardinals got back into striking distance over the middle three innings, scoring once in the fifth on a single by Tim Issler and twice in the sixth on a run-producing double play and a one-run double by Cody Campbell to cut ISU's lead to 5-3 after six innings.
The combination of junior Reggie Hochstedler (2-0) and senior Blake Drake closed out the night for the Sycamores, allowing just three baserunners over the final three innings. Hochstedler earned the win in relief while Drake recorded his second save of the season by finishing off the Cardinals in the ninth.
Senior Jason Van Skike started and tossed the opening two innings on Wednesday, allowing just one hit while striking out three on 25 pitches. Freshmen Greg Kuhlman and Kurt Kudrecki combined to throw the middle 3.2 innings against Ball State, allowing three runs on six hits.
Ort led ISU with three hits, tallying singles in each of his first three trips to the plate, while Hedges picked up three RBIs on his home run in the third. Ort and Lucas also tallied RBIs, with Kraemer scoring twice.
The Sycamores begin conference play on Friday when they welcome the Bradley Braves to Terre Haute. ISU and BU begin their series at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, before continuing on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and wrapping up their three games on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. All three games can be heard live on ESPN Radio 92.7 FM.
Postgame recap with head coach Rick Heller: