No one wanted to say it out loud at the time, but the Indiana State baseball team had an up-and-down month of May.
On one hand, the Sycamores took two-out-of-three in what turned out to be a crucial series against Wichita State at the start of the month, swept Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., in the middle, and clinched the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship in their first try against Missouri State near the end.
On the other hand, ISU lost the remaining games against the Bears in the three-game home series, went 0-for-the MVC Tournament in Springfield, Mo., and capped the month with a harrowing five-day stay on the NCAA Tournament at-large bubble.
In the end, it all worked for ISU as the Sycamores were selected Monday to play in an NCAA Tournament Regional at the University of Oregon. ISU plays Cal State-Fullerton at 5 p.m. Friday at Oregon’s PK Park.
But for the jubilation experienced Monday and the sense of validation it gave the Sycamores for their 41-17 season, there was also the vibe of unrealized redemption.
Yes, the NCAA selection committee had deemed the Sycamores worthy of inclusion in the tournament, but the Sycamores themselves want to show that their late-season inconsistency was an outlier, not a matter of a team reverting to its true level.
“We didn’t finish the regular season very strongly, but the committee looked at our body of work. We got a second chance and we’ll be able to take full advantage of that. We can prove to the country what kind of team we are,” ISU senior left fielder Kyle Burnam said.
Once the Sycamores were selected to play in the field, ISU coach Rick Heller was blunt about the fact that the Sycamores didn’t play the way they were capable of playing in the last month of the year.
“For third-quarters of the season, we executed right, that’s the team we were. Once we won the championship, we got away from that a little,” Heller said. “We were 7-6 in May and had some things happen that didn’t happen earlier in the year. This gives us a second chance to be that team we were and things will go back to norm.”
In a sense, ISU’s long wait on the NCAA Tournament at-large bubble should serve as a cautionary tale for the Sycamores. Let your guard down and everything positive the team did through the course of the season can go down the drain.
With Fullerton (35-19) and Oregon (42-17) providing stiff competition in ISU’s regional, Heller knows the margin for error is non-existent.
“The way I look at it is that we’re a team that plays well when we’re doing everything right. It’s not like we have three or four first-round draft picks and it depends on whether they hit a home run that day to determine our fate,” Heller said.
“If we play our game and play it well, we can beat anybody, but it has to be that. Any deviation from that will make us a good team that’s going to get beat if we don’t play our style of baseball,” Heller added.
That mantra goes for any of ISU’s opponents this weekend.
“It really doesn’t matter who we play. We’ve beaten teams just as good and we’ve lost to teams far worse. It all stems from how we control ourselves,” Heller said.
ISU’s players seemed to take to heart the close call they had in making the field. They hope the sense of renewal carries over to results.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get to Omaha [site of the College World Series]. Now we can do that. Who knows how far we can go? It’s all up to us now. We want to make people know our name,” ISU catcher Jeremy Lucas said.
• Regular rotation to be used — Heller indicated that he will use ISU’s regular starting rotation in the regional. No. 1 starter Dakota Bacus is scheduled to start Friday against Fullerton.
Heller changed the rotation at the MVC Tournament as he elected to go with No. 2 starter Sean Manaea in game one of the tournament and Bacus in the second game.
The decision didn’t really have a discernible effect on the two games. Creighton’s Ty Blach one-hit the Sycamores in game one and Bacus struggled in the second game.
ISU will practice at PK Park at 11 a.m. (PDT) Thursday. The Sycamores will get about 24 hours of rest before they face Fullerton.
• Hitchin’ a ride — ISU chartered a flight to Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday. Before it made the long trek out west, it detoured to Nashville, Tenn., to pick up Austin Peay (38-22), the fourth-seeded team in the Oregon Regional.
It seemed apropos that another connection had been made to one of the regional participants as ISU, or members of its coaching staff, have links to each of the other three teams in some fashion.
“It’s funny how things work. [Oregon coach] George Horton was Ronnie Prettyman’s coach at Fullerton [Prettyman is a volunteer assistant coach for ISU] and a friend of mine from the All-American committee,” Heller said. “[Former ISU men’s basketball coach] Kevin McKenna and Megan [McKenna, former member of the ISU athletic department] are out there from the old basketball staff.
“Austin Peay is there. [APSU coach] Gary McClure and I grew up playing each other in two dinky towns 15 miles apart in Iowa and here we are going to Oregon to play in a regional against each other,” Heller added.
No one wanted to say it out loud at the time, but the Indiana State baseball team had an up-and-down month of May.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan over Indiana
Glenn Robinson scored 20 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, and Jordan Morgan had a double-double in his final home game to help No. 12 Michigan finish off its Big Ten championship season with an 84-80 victory over Indiana on Saturday night.
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year’s defeat in the last game of the regular season. In that game, Morgan’s tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program
Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.
Rose-Hulman wins third straight HCAC tournament crown
Tied with Hanover 26-26 at halftime of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship game Saturday night, host Rose-Hulman knew it had a couple of things in its favor.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?
If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.
Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.
VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home
Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.
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