WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Indiana State Sycamores rebounded from a 3-2 setback at the hands of home standing UNC-Wilmington on Friday to sweep a double-header Saturday, taking the first game 11-5 and then posting a 6-1 win in the nightcap. Sunday’s game was moved up to Saturday due to the possibility of strong thunderstorms moving into the Wilmington area on Sunday.
“I was extremely proud of the way our guys responded to a tough loss yesterday,” Mitch Hannahs, Indiana State baseball coach said. “They really worked their tails off today and I am extremely proud. It was a total team effort because when we didn’t get it done a couple of times, different guys stepped up. The ninth inning of the second game was a great example as we scored four runs with two outs. It was just a good day. We lost a tough game Friday, had a short turn-around and they played their tails off today.”
Indiana State improves to 14-2 on the season and won their third weekend series of the year by taking two of the three games against UNC-Wilmington. The Sycamores will visit Illinois on Tuesday in a 4 p.m. (ET) start before starting Missouri Valley Conference on the road at Evansville next weekend. UNC-Wilmington fell to 8-10 on the year with the two losses Saturday.
A.J. McElderry picked up his first win of the season in the opening game of the double header as he pitched to just one batter but got the batter to hit into a double play. Brad Lombard went 6.1 innings in giving up five runs on five hits while striking out six and walking four. Nick Kolarik pitched to one batter in the seventh and gave up a single and Ryan Keaffaber came on to throw the last two innings in shutting down the Seahawks while striking out three.
Indiana State found themselves down 3-0 after the first inning of play as the first four batters for UNC-Wilmington reached safely with Casey Golden leading off with a double, Robbie Thorburn singled to score the first run, Ryan LaGrange was hit by a pitch and Corey Dick singled to score Thornburn. Luke Dunlap was hit by a pitch but was out at second when Teddy Cillis grounded into a double play that also allowed LaGrange to score and put UNCW up 3-0.
The Sycamores came back in the top of the second as Brian Romero led off with a single and advanced to second when Tyler Wampler was hit by a pitch. Jeff Zahn singled with the runners moving up and Romero scoring as the Seahawks shortstop’s throw to first got past the first baseman. Derek Hannahs put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Wampler and cut the UNCW lead to one.
Indiana State was able to tie the game up in the third as Landon Curry and Cody Zimmerman hit back to back singles to lead off the inning. Mike Fitzgerald picked up his team leading 13th RBI of the season with a single to score Curry with the tying run but Indiana State could not get another run across the plate.
The Seahawks scored a run in the sixth to back on top 4-3 on a walk and a double but the Sycamores came back again to tie the game in the seventh. Curry led off with a walk and came around to score on Cody Zimmerman’s RBI double but Indiana State was unable to push another across the plate.
Lombard gave up two one-out walks and was relieved by Nick Kolarik who faced one batter and gave up an RBI single to left. A.J. McElderry was then called to the mound and forced UNCW’s Dick to hit into an inning double play but the Seahawks were aback on top 5-4.
The Sycamores took control of the game in the top of the eighth inning, pushing across five runs on five hits to take a 9-5 lead. Wampler led off with a single and went to second after Zahn was hit by a pitch. Derek Hannahs had an infield single to load the bases and Connor McClain singled to right center to score Wampler with the tying run.
Curry followed with a bases clearing double to left center to put the Sycamores up 8-5. The Sycamore shortstop went to third as Zimmerman flew out to right and scored on a triple to right center by Hayes. Indiana State had two runners on with just one out after Fitzgerald was hit by a pitch but the Sycamores could not push another run across the plate.
Indiana State capped their scoring in the top of the ninth after Zahn singled and Hannahs walked. McClain pushed both runners up with a sacrifice bunt and both scored on an RBI single to right by Curry.
The Sycamores had a season high 17 hits and tied their season high of 11 runs in the game. Indiana State posted 16 hits in a 10-3 win at New Orleans on March 1 and scored 11 runs in an 11-4 win at New Orleans on March 2.
Zimmerman finished the game with a double and three singles in six trips to the plate to lead Indiana State. Curry tied his career game high with five RBI in the game on a double and two singles. Romero, Zahn, and Hannahs each had two singles with Hayes belting a triple, and Fitzgerald, Wampler, and McClain a single each.
In the second game, Kurt Kudrecki was the winning pitcher (3-1) as he went 6.1 innings in allowing a run on seven hits while striking out six and walking two. A.J. McElderry and Nick Kolarick each pitched to a batter in the seventh before Trent Lunsford came on to finish the game and earn his second save of the season. Lunsford did not allow a run on one hit while striking out two and walking one.
The Sycamores took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Curry led off with a single, stole his 11th base of the season, and scored when Hayes hit a one-out double down the right field line.
Another Indiana State run can across in the fourth inning. Hayes led off with a triple, his 10th extra base hit of the season, and stayed at third when Romero walked. Wampler hit into a fielder’s choice that got Romero at second but Hayes was able to score to put the Sycamores up 2-0.
The Seahawks threatened to tie the game or take the lead in the bottom half of the fourth. UNCW’s Corey singled for the 14th straight game and Luke Dunlap also singled before Daniel Stack walked with one out to load the bases. Terence Connelly followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Dick but that was all the Seahawks could get as they trailed Indiana State 2-1.
Indiana State put the game away in the ninth, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four times to build a 6-1 advantage. Wampler opened the frame with a walk, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch. He was stranded there as Zahn fouled out to the catcher and Hannahs struck out.
But then the flood gates opened for the Sycamores. McClain singled in Wampler, stole second and scored as Taylor Steen singled. Curry followed with a walk before Zimmerman singled down the right field line which allowed Steen to come around and score. Curry also ran home from first on a throwing error by the Seahawks right fielder to push the Indiana State lead to 6-1.
Hayes led the Sycamore offense with a triple and a double while Taylor Steen had a pair of singles, and Curry, Zimmerman, Hannahs and McClain had a single each.