NORMAL, Ill. - Freshman southpaw Sean Manaea tossed seven strong innings on Saturday afternoon, leading the Indiana State Sycamores to a 3-1 victory to even their Missouri Valley Conference series with the Illinois State Redbirds at Duffy Bass Field.
The win improves ISU to 22-19 on the season and 4-7 in league play, while Illinois State falls to 26-13 overall, 6-5 in the MVC.
The Redbirds took the early lead on Saturday, as senior Tyler McNeely hit a solo home run down the left field line with one out in the second inning. That would be all the scoring that Illinois State could do off Manaea, as the Sycamores scored the next three runs to earn the victory.
Indiana State tied the game in the fourth inning, as junior Kyle Burnam led off the inning by drawing a walk before moving to third when junior Jon Hedges doubled down the left field line. Burnam crossed the plate next as freshman Tyler Wampler grounded out to second base to bring the junior outfielder home.
The Sycamores took the lead in the sixth on one swing of the bat, as Burnam led off the inning with solo shot down the left field line. The home run was the second of the season for the junior from Marshall, Ill.
ISU added to their lead in the following inning, starting the frame with a one-out single by junior Lucas Hileman. Hileman went to third after that, when a grounder by sophomore Koby Kraemer went past Illinois State's Ryan Court at third. Sophomore Robby Ort picked up the RBI, popping a bunt over sophomore Brad Sorkin's leaping glove on the mound for an infield single and a 3-1 lead.
Junior Chris Machado came out of the bullpen to record the final six outs of the game, picking up his second save of the season. Manaea (4-3) earned the victory, tossing seven innings with just three hits while walking four and striking out five on a season-high 117 pitches.
Hileman and Ort both picked up a pair of hits at the plate on Saturday, with Ort, Burnam and Wampler all recording one run batted in.
The Sycamores will go for the series win on Sunday with senior Jason Van Skike on the mound. Indiana State and Illinois State will hit the field at 2:00 p.m. (ET) at Duffy Bass Field.
Postgame recap with head coach Rick Heller: