TERRE HAUTE —
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
The victory over the Tigers cannot be extrapolated into anything more than what it was — a win over an NCAA Division III team — but ISU pitched well, and after early struggles, hit the ball too.
“It was a good game to get back out and play. It’s a stressful time with finals still going on. It’s good to get a win and hopefully feel good going into Friday’s game against Evansville,” ISU coach Rick Heller said.
Heller was most pleased with ISU’s pitching. Starter Greg Kuhlman allowed two hits in three innings of work and was sharp.
Tyler Fehringer, Tyler Browning, Josh Negele, Josh Dove, Daniel Peterson and Kurt Kudrecki all blanked the opposition.
“I was really happy with our pitchers. Seven guys came in and threw strikes. DePauw is a pretty good hitting team. With good defense behind them, it looked like we didn’t skip a beat,” Heller said.
ISU mustered just two hits in the first four innings — a Jacob Hayes RBI single in the first was one of them. The offense worked its way into the swing of things in the fifth. Derek Hannahs extended his hitting streak to seven to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Curry triple. It was ISU’s first multi-hit inning of the game and Curry’s three-bagger made it 2-0.
In the sixth, after Robby Ort drew a walk, Mike Fitzgerald doubled into the left field corner to score Ort and make it 3-0. Fitzgerald scored on a Jordan Pearson double to make it 4-0.
With ISU’s pitching staff holding down the fort, DePauw offered no resistance. The Sycamores tacked on two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings on a Koby Kraemer RBI single and a Fitzgerald RBI single respectively.
Curry, Kraemer, Hayes and Fitzgerald all had multi-hit games as ISU wrapped 11 base hits overall.
The game against DePauw is the first of 12 home games for ISU at Bob Warn Field in May. With Evansville coming to town for a Missouri Valley Conference series starting Friday, the potential is there to build momentum.
“These next two weekends of conference play are when we need to play our hardest,” Fitzgerald said. “If we can get on a hot streak before regionals, I tell you what, when we get Sean [Manaea] back to being healthy, I think we can roll through the conference tournament. I’m pretty excited because I think everything’s starting to click.”
• Manaea update — Even if ISU had played last weekend at UT-Martin, ace Manaea wouldn’t have played. Heller intended to give Manaea rest to ease the pain of an ailing hip.
Heller plans to use Manaea for Saturday’s game against Evansville. Manaea had an injection done to his hip Tuesday and he won’t pitch Friday as he needs time to recover from the shot.
“He had an impingement in his hip and he had an injection Tuesday. Hopefully, it will ease the pain and release the pressure a bit so his rehab doesn’t hurt him as much. We’re hopeful it will make things better,” Heller said.
ISU 7, DePauw 0
DEPAUW (AB-R-H-RBI) — Galyean rf 4-0-2-0, McCallum ss 3-0-2-0, Stein lf 3-0-0-0, Henry lf 0-0-0-0, Cohen 3b 3-0-0-0, Allee ph 1-0-0-0, Pashia cf 3-0-0-0, Italiano ph 0-0-0-0, Einerston 1b 3-0-1-0, Mpistolarides 3b 1-0-1-0, Meixner dh 4-0-2-0, Dorsett c 3-0-0-0, Lyons 2b 3-0-0-0. TOTALS 31-0-8-0.
INDIANA STATE (AB-R-H-RBI) — Curry cf 5-2-2-1, McClain lf 1-1-0-0, Conway ph 1-0-0-1, Kraemer 3b 3-0-2-1, Ort 1b 3-1-0-0, Hayes rf 3-0-2-1, Zahn pr 0-1-0-0, Fitzgerald c 4-1-2-2, Steen c 0-0-0-0, McCurdy dh 2-0-0-0, Zimmerman ph 1-0-0-0, Hannahs 2b 2-0-1-1, Pearson 2b 2-0-1-1, Wampler ss 3-0-1-0. TOTALS 30-7-11-7.
DePauw 000 000 000 — 0
Indiana State 100 022 11x — 7
DP — DU 1, ISU 2. LOB — DU 8, ISU 6. 2B — Fitzgerald (6), Pearson (4). 3B — Curry (1). SH — McCallum (5); Hayes (4), Wampler (2). SB — Curry (16), McClain (1), Hayes (7). CS — McCallum (2).
IP H R ER BB SO
Stuart (L, 1-2) 3 2 1 1 2 1
Heneghan 2 1/3 3 4 4 2 1
Sheldon 1 2/3 3 1 1 1 0
Spector 1 3 1 1 0 0
IP H R ER BB SO
Kuhlman (W, 2-1) 3 2 0 0 2 2
Fehringer 1 1 0 0 0 0
Browning 1 1 0 0 0 1
Negele 1 1/3 0 0 0 0 1
Dove 2/3 1 0 0 0 0
Peterson 1 1 0 0 0 1
Kudrecki 1 2 0 0 1 1
WP — Sheldon (6), Spector (3). T — 2:16. A — 494.
Next — ISU (18-18) plays Evansville at 6:30 p.m. Friday.