TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State baseball team completed the weekend sweep of the No. 30 Creighton Bluejays on Sunday, riding junior Mike Fitzgerald’s go-ahead two-run home run to a 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Indiana State pushed their winning streak to five games, improving to 17-13 overall and 7-5 in the MVC. Creighton drops to 18-9 on the season, 5-4 within the league. The Sycamores are now 6-0 at home during conference games and 10-2 overall in Terre Haute this season.
The Sycamores touched the scoreboard first in the second inning as senior Robby Ort led off the frame with a double into the gap in left-center. Redshirt sophomore Jacob Hayes moved Ort to third on a groundout before senior Casey McCurdy lined out to left for a sacrifice fly.
The Bluejays took the lead for the first time over the weekend in the fifth inning, plating three runs on four hits. Brad McKewon (RBI double), Jake Peter (sacrifice fly) and Mike Gerber (RBI triple) all drove in runs in the inning. Gerber’s triple was the first three-base hit that the Sycamores have allowed this season.
Indiana State took advantage of a miscue on defense in the sixth inning as Federico Castagnini made a nice stop on junior Owen Conway’s sharp ground ball down the third base line, but his throw to first sailed high and allowed McCurdy, who had drawn a two-out walk, to circle the bases and cut the CU lead to 3-2. Fitzgerald pinch-hit against CU reliever Bryan Sova and sent 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center, putting the Sycamores in front, 4-3.
The home run was Fitzgerald’s second of the season, the fifth on the year for the Sycamores.
Sophomore Landon Curry took a run away from the Bluejays in the top half of the seventh inning, ranging to the warning track in right-center to track down a fly ball off the bat of Peter with Castagnini on first base. The Sycamores were able to double-off Castagnini on the play, as Curry, redshirt sophomore Derek Hannahs and Ort combined on the twin killing.
The Sycamores tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the seventh as Ort drove in Hannahs with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Bluejays put two runners on with one out in the top of the ninth inning, but junior A.J. McElderry induced a ground ball off the bat of Peter to end the game.
Junior Daniel Peterson started the game for Indiana State, allowing three runs on eight hits over five innings. Junior Josh Negele (2-0) earned the win in relief as he combined with redshirt senior Tyler Fehringer and McElderry for four innings of shutout relief work by the Sycamore bullpen. The save was McElderry’s first of the season.
Ort went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored while Conway also tallied two hits.
The series sweep over Creighton was the first for Indiana State since the 1986 season when the Sycamores took four games in Omaha, Neb. The Sycamores are also 4-1 against nationally-ranked opponents this season, splitting two games with #28 Mercer in early March and sweeping the #30 Bluejays this weekend.
For the weekend, Indiana State hit .303 (30-for-99) at the plate with five stolen bases and just one error on defense.
Indiana State continues their six-game homestand with a pair of midweek contests next week, hosting Butler on Tuesday, April 16, and SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday, April 17. First pitch for both games is set for 6:00 p.m.