TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Everyone knew that it was coming. The Missouri State Bears knew it, the fans knew it, and the Sycamores knew it. Indiana State was held scoreless for six innings Sunday on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium as the Bears built a 3-0 lead. The Sycamores rallied to tie the game in the seventh and then earned a sweep of the weekend series by scoring a run in the eighth for a 4-3 victory.
Senior right hander Kurt Kudrecki started on the mound for Indiana State and had retired four of the first five batters before the Bears scored three times in the top of the second inning on three hits and two walks. Kudrecki settled down and worked out of a bases loaded jam and proceeded to retire the next 14 Missouri State batters he faced.
Trent Lunsford came in to finish the seventh and Ryan Keaffaber came out of the bullpen in the eighth. Missouri State did not mount a threat against the Sycamores in the final seven innings as Keaffaber improved to 3-1 on the season in earning the win in relief.
Indiana State had trouble against Missouri State right handed starter Clay Murphy through the first six innings of the game.
“He certainly had control of his pitches and we struggled early,” Hannahs said. “But the guys never gave up and kept fighting.”
The big inning for Indiana State came in the bottom of the seventh. Brian Romero led off with a double into right center and scored the Sycamores first run on a Jeff Zahn single to right. Connor McClain also singled to right before Murphy was pulled and replaced by Matt Hall. Landon Curry came up and on a short chopper on the right side which was picked up by Hall and tossed to the Bears first baseman Conner Wilson. However, Wilson could not make the catch with Zahn and McClain both scoring to tie the game.
Indiana State took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the eighth after Jacob Hayes and Manuel Estevez both reached on singles. Zahn came through with a two-out single to right field that allowed Hayes to score the winning run.
It was “Senior Day” and “Mother’s Day” at the ball park as seven seniors and their parents were honored in pre-game ceremonies. Each of the mothers took a turn throwing out the first pitch of the game to their sons.
Indiana State (33-13 overall and 12-6 in the Missouri Valley) has won their last five games and nine of their last 10. The Sycamores will be on the road for the final week of the season as they visit Purdue on Tuesday (6:30 p.m. start) and then travel to Bradley for the final MVC series of the season on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Missouri State (21-28 overall and 7-11 in the MVC) will be back in Terre Haute in just over a week for the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference baseball championships.