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May 15, 2014

Sycamores secure No. 2 seed in MVC Tournament with win at Bradley

ISU improves to 34-13 overall, 13-6 in league play

PEORIA, ILL. — Indiana State dodged the rain to post its sixth straight victory and fourth straight in Missouri Valley Conference baseball Thursday as it broke away midway through the game to defeat host Bradley 9-2 in a game played at Dozer Park.

Rain fell before the teams arrived at the ballpark and fell again as the game ended, but in between were some breaks in the clouds and a bit of sun on a cool day in Peoria. Rain is again expected today.

Indiana State improved to 34-13 overall and 13-6 in the MVC with the victory while Bradley fell to 22-24 on the season and 4-15 in league play.

The same two teams will square off at 7 p.m. today and wrap up their three-game series with a 2 p.m. game on Saturday.

David Stagg (7-3) went seven innings to earn the victory, limiting the Braves to a run on five hits while striking out five and walking three. Josh Dove threw the final two frames and gave up a run on three hits while striking out none and walking none.

Indiana State broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning as they scored two runs on two hits. Jacob Hayes led off the inning by doubling down the right-field line and scored when Mike Fitzgerald doubled down the left-field line to put the Sycamores in front for good. Fitzgerald went to third as Brian Romero grounded out and scored the second run when Tyler Wampler grounded out to short.

Bradley cut the lead in half when right fielder Max Murphy belted his team-leading 11th home run of the season, a solo shot, with one out. It was the first home run hit off Stagg in his last eight outings and just the third in 87 innings of work this season. Stagg retired the next two batters to end the inning.

The Sycamores put up two more in the top of the fifth with one out. Indiana State had the leadoff batter reach safely for the second straight inning when Connor McClain singled up the middle. McClain raced to third when Derek Hannahs reached on an error by the Braves third baseman which also allowed Hannahs to get into scoring position at second base. Both scored when Cody Zimmerman singled to center.

The Braves tried to get something going in the bottom of the fifth when Drew Carlile opened with a single. He was gunned down trying to steal by Fitzgerald. Evan Gruener then walked but he was subsequently picked off by Stagg who then struck out Austin Jarvis to end the inning.

Indiana State was able to increase its lead in the top of the seventh after Landon Curry hit a two-out triple to right center. The Sycamore center fielder scored on a wild pitch to put the Sycamores in front 5-1.

One more Sycamore run came across in the top of the eighth without the benefit of a hit. Fitzgerald led off the inning with a walk and went to second after Wampler was hit by a pitch. Both advanced a base when Zahn grounded out to the first for the second out of the inning. The bases were full of Sycamores after McClain was hit by a pitch. Hannahs then reached on an error by the second baseman which allowed Fitzgerald to score. Wampler was gunned down at the plate as he also tried to score on the play.

Indiana State added three more in the top of the ninth on three hits and another Bradley error. Curry led off the inning with a walk and raced around to score as Zimmerman doubled into left center. Hayes reached on an infield single that pushed Zimmerman to third from where he scored on Fitzgerald’s single to left. After Manuel Estevez grounded into a double play, Wampler reached on a throwing error by the Braves third baseman which allowed Hayes to finish off the Sycamore scoring.

Bradley tacked on a run in the bottom half of the ninth after Tyler Leffler singled and scored on Carlile’s double to right center.

Indiana State scored nine runs on nine hits with Zimmerman, Hayes and Fitzgerald, the 2-3-4 hitters in the Sycamore lineup, each hitting a double and a single in four trips to the plate.

Five pitchers worked from the mound for the Braves. Elliot Ashbeck (5-3) went the first six innings in being charged with the loss.

 

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