TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State baseball team tied a season-best with 16 hits on Thursday night, picking up their fifth consecutive victory after a 9-5 win over the Bradley Braves from Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Indiana State moves back above the .500 mark for the first time since April 20th, improving their record to 23-22 on the season and 8-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Sycamores secured the sixth seed in next week’s MVC Tournament in Normal, Ill., as Southern Illinois (6-13 MVC) dropped a home game to Illinois State on Thursday afternoon. Bradley (16-29, 1-18 MVC) lost in conference play for the 16th consecutive time.
The Sycamores scored first for the seventh straight game, as senior Robby Ort lined a solo home run to right field with two outs in the first inning. The home run was Ort’s team-leading third of the season.
The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Sycamores until the fifth inning, when Bradley took advantage of a passed ball to tie the score. Both sides got their offense going against the opponent’s bullpen over the final four innings, combining for 12 runs from the bottom of the fifth inning forward.
Redshirt sophomore Jacob Hayes put Indiana State back in front in the fifth inning, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field. After Bradley tied the score at 2-2 in the sixth, Indiana State tallied three runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a two-run single by redshirt sophomore Derek Hannahs.
Bradley took advantage of another ISU miscue in the seventh, totaling three runs (one earned) to tie the game at 5-5. The Sycamores regained the lead for the third consecutive inning after the seventh inning stretch, as senior Casey McCurdy turned around a 2-2 pitch for a three-run home run over the fence in right-center.
The Sycamores would tack on another run in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by redshirt sophomore Connor McClain.
All nine starters for Indiana State tallied at least one hit in the game, led Hannahs and McClain each posting three. Hannahs extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
Junior Sean Manaea pitched five innings on Thursday, striking out five batters and allowing one unearned run on five hits. Manaea lowered his ERA to 1.47 on the season. Junior A.J. McElderry (1-2) earned the victory in relief.
Indiana State and Bradley return to the field on Friday night, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.