TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State
baseball team scored runs in six of their eight innings at the plate, earning a
series victory over the visiting Illinois State Redbirds with an 11-3 win on Sunday
on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The Sycamores (23-6, 4-2 MVC) have opened Missouri Valley Conference play with back-to-back series wins over Evansville and Illinois State, the first time ISU has posted back-to-back series wins to start a league season since 1998 when ISU swept a four-game set with UNI before taking three out of four games from Missouri State.
Indiana State scored first for the ninth straight game, plating one run in the bottom of the first inning a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of senior Jon Hedges that brought home freshman Landon Curry from third.
ISU went up 3-0 in the third, starting the inning with a solo home run by junior Jeremy Lucas to left field. Lucas is tied for the MVC lead in home runs with Southern Illinois' Chris Serritella, now with seven on the season. Junior Robby Ort reached base next when he was hit by a pitch, scoring two batters later when senior Ryan Walterhouse singled through the left side of the infield.
Illinois State (17-8, 1-2 MVC) tied the game in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a pair of Indiana State errors in the inning to score three runs with two outs.
The Sycamores regained the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth inning, using a two-out rally of their own. Senior Kyle Burnam started the rally by being hit by a pitch before Lucas drew a walk to put two runners on. The go-ahead hit came off the bat of Ort, when he sent a pitch deep into the right-center field gap that scored both runners and give ISU a 5-3 lead.
Curry (single) and Lucas (walk) both picked up RBIs with the bases loaded in the fifth, before sophomore Tyler Wampler, junior Jordan Pearson and Curry tallied three straight RBI singles to put ISU in front 10-3 after six innings.
Hedges put the final run of the afternoon on the scoreboard in the seventh, sending a pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run, his fifth of the season.
Junior Ryan Torgerson (5-0) earned the victory by scattering four hits in five innings on the mound, allowing three runs (two earned) with a pair of strikeouts. Senior Devin Moore, senior Brandon Flora, sophomore Tyler Browning and senior Chris Machado combined to allow just two hits to Illinois State in four shutout innings of work out of the bullpen.
Curry led ISU with three hits on Sunday, also joining Lucas, Ort and Hedges with a pair of runs batted in. As a team, the Sycamores tallied 13 hits in the series finale, their most hits in six MVC games.
Indiana State begins an eight-game road swing next week, when the Sycamores travel to Chicago to face UIC on Tuesday, April 3, at 7:05 p.m. (ET). ISU heads to Omaha, Neb., to face Creighton next weekend.