TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Senior Jason Van Skike scattered six hits over nine innings from the center of the diamond on Sunday, leading the Indiana State baseball team to a 4-1 victory over the University of Evansville Purple Aces from Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The Sunday victory secured ISU's second Missouri Valley Conference series win of the season, improving the Sycamores to 24-21 overall and 6-9 in league play. The Purple Aces fall to 26-17, 6-8 MVC.
Van Skike (4-3) was dominant on Sunday afternoon, leading the Sycamores to their first win in the final game of a conference series since their first set of the 2010 season against Illinois State on March 27, 2010. The senior hurler from Gig Harbor, Wash., threw his second complete game of the season on 123 pitches, allowing just one run late in the game while striking out four and walking four. On the afternoon, the Purple Aces only moved a runner to second base on three occasions and never brought more than five batters to the plate in a single inning.
Indiana State took advantage of an Evansville error in the second inning to score a pair of unearned runs for an early 2-0 advantage. Sophomore Jeremy Lucas led off the inning with a single to right, before moving to second when UE first baseman Jake Mahon's throw to second base following a grounder by junior Jon Hedges pulled the shortstop off the bag. After a sacrifice bunt by junior Lucas Hileman moved both runners into scoring position, freshman Tyler Wampler and senior Adam Richart both picked up RBIs for the Sycamores.
The game remained 2-0 in favor of the Sycamores until the sixth inning, when Hedges doubled the ISU lead with one swing of the bat. After Lucas led off the inning with a single into shallow left-center field, Hedges sent the first pitch he saw from senior Cody Fick over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season.
A key at-bat in the seventh inning kept the momentum within the Indiana State dugout. After Ryan Oesterle singled to lead off the seventh, Van Skike and UE leftfielder Brett Wiley batted through a 12-pitch at-bat, coming to a close with Van Skike forcing a 6-4-3 double play.
The Purple Aces tacked on their lone run in the series finale in the eighth, taking advantage of a pair of wild pitches before senior Greg Wallace grounded out to Hedges at first to bring Mahon across the plate.
Lucas led ISU with two hits on Sunday, while Hedges picked up a pair of RBIs with his two-run homer in the sixth. Both Lucas and Hedges also scored a pair of runs. Fick (6-3) led UE both at the plate and on the mound, going 2-for-4 at the plate while tossing a 125-pitch complete game on the mound. Fick allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The Sycamores play their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, when the team travels to Edwardsville, Ill., for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) matchup with the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville. This will be the third meeting of the season between ISU and SIUE, with the home team winning in both of the previous games this season. SIUE won 4-2 at home on April 19, before ISU won 3-0 on Bob Warn Field on April 26.
Postgame recap with head coach Rick Heller: