- The Indiana State baseball team claimed their 12th straight series
win and sixth consecutive in Missouri Valley Conference play, taking advantage
of four errors by the Southern Illinois defense in the second inning en route
to a 7-5 victory at Abe Martin Field.
Indiana State (39-12, 12-5 MVC) moves into sole possession of first place in the conference with the win, as Missouri State dropped a 3-1 decision to Evansville. The Sycamores also won their first series in Carbondale since 2000.
The Sycamores tallied six unearned runs in the second inning, as the Salukis made four errors in the frame. The miscues started when junior Rob Ort rolled a ground ball to first baseman Chris Serritella, who bobbled the ball and could not get a hustling Ort at first base. Senior Jon Hedges came up next and hit a ground ball to third that Austin Montgomery bobbled, allowing Ort to slide in safely ahead of the throw at second base. Donny Duschinsky then threw the ball to first base to try to get Hedges, but his throw went wide of the bag and advanced Ort to third.
Senior Lucas Hileman got ISU on the scoreboard, dropping a RBI single to center before ISU loaded the bases on senior Ryan Walterhouse's walk. Sophomore Owen Conway made it 2-0 ISU with a sacrifice fly to center when he came up next. SIU made their fourth error of the inning when sophomore Tyler Wampler drew a walk with Hileman on second and Walterhouse on first. Hileman and Walterhouse were running on the full-count pitch, but Luke Mottashed's throw to third base sailed into left field and allowed Hileman to score. Freshman Landon Curry (RBI sacrifice bunt), redshirt junior Koby Kraemer (single to center) and Ort (double to right) all followed with RBIs at the Sycamores took a 6-0 lead.
ISU tacked on their seventh run of the game in the sixth when Kraemer sent a sacrifice fly to center that scored Conway.
Indiana State took a 7-3 lead to the bottom of the ninth inning, but Southern Illinois did not go down quietly. Brian Bajer started the inning with a single to left before Rennie Troggio drew a walk from junior Devin Moore. Senior Reggie Hochstedler came into the game in relief, retiring Jake Welch before Duschinsky load the bases with a walk and Serritella made it 7-4 with a walk of his own. With the winning run at the plate, Hochstedler and Montgomery battled through a lengthy at-bat, as Montgomery narrowly missing a potentially bases-clearing doubled down the left field line as his long drive fell just foul. Montgomery would end his at-bat with a sacrifice fly to left to cut the ISU lead to 7-5.
Senior Chris Machado came in from the bullpen with two on and two outs, ending the game by forcing a lineout to center by Jordan Sivertsen. Machado picked up his third save of the season.
Sophomore Sean Manaea earned the win and improved to 5-1 on the season, striking out seven in 5.1 innings of work while scattering six hits. Senior Brandon Dorsett relieved Manaea in the sixth, entering the game with the bases loaded and one out, but did not allow a run in the inning. Redshirt freshman Tyler Pazik also worked 1.1 scoreless innings on the mound.
Ort, Hileman and Conway all picked up two hits on Saturday, with Kraemer driving in a pair of runs.
Indiana State goes for the series sweep at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, sending junior Ryan Torgerson (7-2, 2.92 ERA) to the mound against Sam Coonrod (2-4, 5.25 ERA) for Southern Illinois. ISU has not swept an MVC opponent since taking three from Evansville in Terre Haute at the end of the 2009 season. ISU's last sweep of SIU on the road came in a three-game series back in 1992.