News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 31, 2014

ISU baseball can't find lifeline

Sycamores knocked out of NCAA regional by Youngstown State

BLOOMINGTON — After a loss to Stanford in Friday's opening game of the NCAA Bloomington Regional, Indiana State's baseball team was looking for someone, anyone, to lift them out of the mire they suddenly found themselves in.

A pitcher, batter, or preferably, both, would do. It didn't matter who. ISU had to have someone save them Saturday against Youngstown State.

The Sycamores never found their man. Youngstown State, a team 225 spots below ISU in RPI, ended the Sycamores' season with a 5-2 victory in an elimination game at Indiana's Bart Kaufman Field.

The Penguins (17-37) won their first NCAA regional game in school history and advanced to a Sunday elimination game against either Stanford or Indiana.

ISU was left to ponder what happened on the short ride home to Terre Haute. There were reasons to be found on the mound and at the plate for the Sycamores.

ISU starter David Stagg struggled. ISU was hoping the junior could give the Sycamores quality innings and perhaps go the distance to save arms. Instead, Stagg went 3 2/3 innings and have up all of the Penguins' runs.

Stagg was able to throw strikes on the outside of the strike zone, but had difficulty throwing inside. ISU coach Mitch Hannahs diagnosed other issues too.

"I thought he was getting around some of his pitches and was getting them in the inner half. The other thing was if he's throwing his fastball 87 and his breaking ball 81-to-82, it's barely worth throwing the breaking ball," Hannahs said.

ISU also struggled to produce consistent offense. It doesn't appear that way in the box score as ISU out-hit YSU 10-to-8, but ISU's 2 of 10 performance with runners in scoring position spoke volumes. As did YSU's .375 average in when it had Penguins in a similar spot.

"It was extremely frustrating. I feel like that's been happening the last couple of weeks for us. We haven't been able to get the double when he needed it," ISU shortstop Tyler Wampler said.

ISU (35-18) took its only lead of the regional in the first as Landon Curry led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch.

YSU replied in the second and set a pattern that would dog the Sycamores for most of the game. The first four Penguins of the inning reached base.

A perfect Curry throw to home plate to nail Kevin Hix saved ISU from initial damage, but a RBI single by Lorenzo Arcuri on the next at-bat put YSU on the board and tied the game. Stagg got out of further trouble, but left the bases loaded and had worked a high pitch count.

The pattern repeated itself in the third. Phil Lipari drew a leadoff walk and Alex Larivee singled. Brent Gillespie's sacrifice fly to right knocked in Lipari to make it 2-1. A bases loaded hit-by-pitch drawn by Shane Willoughby made it 3-1. Eight Penguins batted in the third.

After ISU scratched back a run in the fourth on a Connor McClain single to make it 3-2, seven Penguins batted in the fourth with a similar end game for the Sycamores.

A leadoff walk and single and a sacrifice fly by Larivee negated ISU's run in the top half of the inning. A RBI single by Josh White knocked in Lipari and made it 5-2.

Kurt Kudrecki relieved Stagg and didn't allow a run the rest of the way, but the Sycamores couldn't muster any runs either. ISU had runners on base in every inning from the fourth on, but only scored in that fourth inning.

"This can be a tough game when you play from behind. It seemed like the last month we were looking at it every game. After a while, that takes a toll," Hannahs said.

The loss was tough for the Sycamores. It was the second time in three seasons that ISU went 0-2 at a NCAA regional. ISU ended the season with a five-game losing streak, eerily similar to the six-game losing streak it finished its 2012 NCAA regional campaign with.

The players wanted to keep it in perspective. Very little was expected from the Sycamores in 2014 and the season ended in a NCAA regional.

"It's been tough, but we have to deal with it. We had a great year. We have to remember everything we did to get up the ladder instead of down the ladder," said Kudrecki, who pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

"It was super-satisfying. No one thought we'd finish top seven in our league and we finished second and had a tremendous year. We have nothing to hang our heads about. We weren't supposed to be here and we made it. It is what it is," Wampler said.

INDIANA STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Curry cf 5-1-2-0, Zimmerman 3b 4-0-0-0, Hayes rf 4-0-1-0, Fitzgerald c 4-0-0-0, Keaffaber dh 0-0-0-0, Estevez dh 4-0-1-0, Wampler ss 4-1-1-0, Zahn 1b 4-0-2-0, McClain lf 4-0-2-1, Hannahs 2b 3-0-1-0. TOTALS 36-2-10-1.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Lipari 2b 4-2-1-0, Larivee lf 4-1-1-1, Gillespie 1b 3-0-1-1, Sullivan 3b 1-0-0-0, White c 4-0-2-1, Hix cf 4-0-0-0, Willoughby ss 3-1-1-1, Arcuri dh 3-0-1-1, Accardi ph 1-0-0-0, Laver rf 2-1-1-0. TOTALS 29-5-8-5.

Indiana State=100=100=000=--=2

Youngstown State=012=200=00X=--=5


E -- Hayes (2), Wampler (8), Hannahs (11). LOB -- ISU 11, YSU 9. 2B -- Curry (4). S -- Hannahs (9). SF -- Larivee (2), Gillespie (2). SB -- Hayes (14), Wampler (12); Lipari 2 (8).

Indiana State

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


Stagg (L, 7-5)=3 2/3=6=5=4=3=5

Kudrecki=4 1/3=2=0=0=3=4

Youngstown State

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


O'Brien (W, 3-10)=6 1/3=8=2=2=3=2

North=1 2/3=1=0=0=0=3

Frey=1=1=0=0=0=0

WP -- O'Brien 2 (9). HBP -- by Stagg (Willoughby). A -- 2,163. T -- 2:36.

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