In a game that took exactly four hours, the Indiana State baseball team got
back-to-back RBI singles from seniors Jon Hedges and Lucas Hileman in the top
of the 12th inning and held off another rally from the University of
Illinois at Chicago, picking up an 8-7 extra-inning victory at Les Miller
Indiana State (24-6) scored first for the 11th straight game, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Freshman Landon Curry, senior Kyle Burnam and junior Jeremy Lucas led off the game with three straight singles, with Lucas' bringing Curry home from second base. Two batters later, Burnam scored to make it 2-0 ISU on a fielder's choice to center off the bat of Hedges.
Illinois Chicago (11-15) got on the board in the bottom half of the first inning with a two-out RBI single to center, before taking a 4-2 lead in the second inning with three runs on five hits. UIC started the second with four straight hits off freshman Kyle Rupe, taking the lead on a two-run double into the right-center field gap by Alex Grunenwald. The Flames chased Rupe from the game with two outs in the inning on Ryan Boss' RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Flames added another run in the fourth inning, as Boss tallied his second two-out RBI of the game with a single to right.
The Sycamores got back within a run in the seventh inning, as Hedges and Hileman led off the inning with back-to-back singles before both came home on senior Ryan Walterhouse's two-run triple to right-center field to cut the UIC lead to 5-4. ISU was unable to tie the game with Walterhouse on third and no outs, as UIC starter Tim Tarter was able to pick up back-to-back strikeouts of junior Koby Kraemer and sophomore Tyler Wampler after lengthy at-bats before Curry popped up to short to end the inning.
Indiana State plated two more runs in the top of the eighth inning, taking advantage of a pair of UIC errors to score two unearned runs. Burnam led off the inning with a bunt down the first base line that Tarter fielded, but threw high to first base. Lucas followed by being hit by a pitch, before Ort's sacrifice bunt to the third base side was also thrown high to first base, allowing Burnam to score on the play to tie the game. After Hedges was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Hileman gave ISU a 6-5 lead with a sacrifice fly to center.
Illinois Chicago tied the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, using a solo home run down the left field line by Nick Addison to knot things up at 6-6. After back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with one out, sophomore Tyler Browning came into the game out of the ISU bullpen. On Browning's first pitch home, the Flames attempted a suicide squeeze that was missed at the plate and the Sycamores were able to get the runner charging home from third. Browning closed out the ninth with a strikeout to send the game to extra innings.
ISU worked out a jam in the 10th, as the Flames loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Browning picked a full-count called strikeout of Cody Dykema before forcing a soft groundout to Hedges at first base to end the inning.
The Sycamores rallied for the lead in the 12th inning, using a single up the middle by Lucas to start the charge. Lucas moved up to second on Ort's single to shallow center, advancing to third when the ball was bobbled by the centerfielder. Hedges gave Indiana State the lead on the first pitch he saw in the 12th, lacing a pitch under the third baseman's glove for a RBI single. Hileman followed and doubled ISU's lead, driving a pitch to right field to score Ort from second base.
The Flames rallied once again in the bottom of the 12th, getting an RBI double by Alex Lee off the left field wall to cut the ISU lead to 8-7. After a walk, senior Brandon Flora recorded the next two outs of popups to rightfield to close out the game.
10 pitchers took the mound for the Sycamores, with senior Reggie Hochstedler (1-0) earning the win and Flora picking up his first save of the season. By contrast, UIC used just two pitchers as their starter Tarter when seven innings with Matt Heaslip (0-3) tossing the final five.
Hedges led ISU with three hits and two RBIs, with Hileman and Walterhouse also driving in two runs.
Indiana State continues their eight-game roadtrip this weekend, playing three games in Omaha, Neb., against Creighton.