TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – It was not your typical Indiana State game but a determined group of Sycamores were still able to post a 10-7 victory over the Missouri State Bears in the opening game of their three-game Missouri Valley Conference set on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Indiana State (31-13, 10-6 MVC) and Missouri State (21-26, 7-9 MVC) will meet again on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. (ET). The series will wrap up on Sunday as will the Indiana State regular season home schedule with a 1 p.m. (ET) start. Severn seniors will be honored during pre-game ceremonies Sunday.
“This was not your typical Indiana State game,” Mitch Hannahs, Indiana State baseball coach, said. “We just don’t make some of the mistakes we made tonight.”
David Stagg started on the mound for Indiana State and lasted 5.2 innings in giving up seven runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking four.
“I had a pretty rough outing,” Stagg said. “But the guys really picked me up with their hitting tonight.”
Nick Kolarik (5-1) took over in the sixth to earn the win as he shut down the Bears on two hits with one walk in two-thirds of an inning. Ryan Keaffaber came on in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. He struck out the side in the inning and went on to retire the next six batters he faced to earn his 10th save of the season.
Keaffaber is now tied for third for saves in a season with current teammate Tyler Browning who had 10 in 2010. John Trisler has the school record with 13 saves in 1991 while Craig Kozolowski had 12 during the 1986 season.
Missouri State opened up the scoring in the top of the first on back-to-back doubles. Three more Bears scored in the third on two hits and a walk as Missouri State took a 4-09 lead.
Indiana State came back with a vengeance in the bottom of the third, scoring six runs in an inning for the second time this season. Connor McClain got the Sycamores off to a flying start with a triple down the right field line and scored on a Derek Hannahs single through the right side. After Landon Curry was hit by a pitch, Hannahs and Curry were moved up a base as Cody Zimmerman put down a perfect sacrifice bunt.
Jacob Hayes was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Mike Fitzgerald forced one in as he walked on four pitches. Brian Romero then singled to center with the ball scooting underneath the glove of the Bears centerfield allowing three runs to score. Romero also scored as Tyler Wampler singled which put Indiana State up 6-4.
Missouri State was not done and scored three times with two outs in the top of the sixth before Stagg was relieved by Kolarik with the bases loaded. Kolarik got the final out to stop the Bears rally.
As they have all season long, Indiana State came back as they scored four times on three extra base hits and a single. Jeff Zahn led off the inning with a single to center and went to third as McClain doubled to right field. Zahn scored when Hannahs singled to left but McClain was out at third on an interference call. Cody Zimmerman followed with a two out double and then Hayes stepped to the plate and crushed an 0-2 offering over the right field fence for a three-run home run. It was his fourth home run of the season.
Missouri State threatened again in the top of the seventh with a lead-off single, a walk, and an infield single that loaded the bases with one out. Keaffaber was then called up and struck out the final two batters to prevent the Bears from scoring.
Indiana State scored 10 runs on 12 hits with McClain leading the way with a triple, double, and a single in four trips to the plate. Wampler had a double and a single, Hannahs two singles, Hayes a home run, Zimmerman a double, and Curry, Romero, and Zahn had a single each.