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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Sycamores Rally For Series-Opening Win Over Braves
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Danny Pfrank

PEORIA, Ill. - The Indiana State baseball team picked up their third extra-inning win the last six games on Friday, scoring five unanswered runs to grab a 5-4 series-opening Missouri Valley Conference victory in 11 innings over the Bradley Braves from O'Brien Field.

Indiana State (27-8, 7-3 MVC) remains in first place in the MVC standings, as Missouri State (4-2 MVC) held a 7-0 lead over Illinois State in the sixth inning before their game was suspended due to weather and Wichita State (4-3 MVC) dropped a 4-1 decision at Evansville.

Bradley (17-13-1, 3-4 MVC) put a pair of runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning, using a two-run home run by freshman Chris Godinez over the left field wall. The Braves doubled their lead in the fifth, plating a pair of unearned runs on a two-out, two-run single through the middle of the infield by Max Murphy.

ISU put runners on base in six of their first seven innings against BU starting pitcher Joe Bircher, but put that runner into scoring position just two times, in the first and seventh innings.

The ISU rally began in the eighth inning off Bircher as senior Jeff Miera reached on an error by Godinez and freshman Landon Curry singled through the middle of the infield to chase Bircher from the game. Four straight Sycamores drove in runs during the eight inning to tie the score, as senior Kyle Burnam and junior Jeremy Lucas hit back-to-back RBI doubles before junior Robby Ort and senior Jon Hedges picked up back-to-back run-scoring groundouts to knot the game at 4-4.

The Indiana State bullpen combination of senior Brandon Dorsett, senior Brandon Flora, junior Devin Moore and senior Reggie Hochstedler closed out the game, allowing just two hits in six scoreless innings in relief of ISU starter Dakota Bacus. Bacus allowed eight hits and four runs (two earned) with six strikeouts in five innings.

Indiana State's 11
th inning rally began with a one-out single by redshirt junior Koby Kraemer, before senior Ryan Walterhouse was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with one out. Sophomore Tyler Wampler gave the Sycamores the lead, sending a ground ball through the right side of the infield to put ISU in front 5-4 as Kraemer scored from second.

Bradley picked up a one-out single in the bottom half of the inning, but Walterhouse made a leaping grab to take away a potential game-tying double at third base before Hochstedler forced a game-ending groundout to Wampler at short.

ISU gave Bradley their first loss of the season with leading after six innings, as the Braves entered the game at a perfect 15-0 on the season. Bircher took a tough-luck no decision, after striking out seven batters in seven innings to become the all-time leader in strikeouts at Bradley.

Burnam, Kraemer and Wampler all picked up two hits, with Burnam, Lucas, Ort, Hedges and Wampler all driving in one run.

Indiana State and Bradley are back in action at O'Brien Field at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, with sophomore southpaw Sean Manaea (3-1, 3.29 ERA) heading to the mound for the Sycamores against right-hander Justin Ziegler (2-3, 6.69 ERA) for the Braves.

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