News From Terre Haute, Indiana


March 30, 2014

Bad day for Sycamores

ISU falls 11-1 to Illinois St. on diamond

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State’s baseball team has had more good days than bad so far this season.

Sunday, however, was bad in every way.

Illinois State defeated ISU 11-1 in seven inning as the Redbirds took two games out of three in the Missouri Valley Conference series.

It was ISU’s worst loss since a nine-inning 15-2 loss to Dallas Baptist on April 20, 2012, and it’s the first time ISU has been run-ruled since a 14-2 defeat in eight innings at the hands of Missouri State on April 22, 2011.

ISU coach Mitch Hannahs was surprised to see the Sycamores come out flat.

“I liked the approach we had when we got to the park today. We had good energy, but we didn’t play well,” Hannahs said.

There was no area in which ISU didn’t have an off day, but it started on the mound. Starting pitcher Kurt Kudrecki struggled with his control, and the Redbirds pounced. Kudrecki walked five in 3 1/3 innings as he gave up nine runs (five earned) and six hits. He was hit hardest in Illinois State’s decisive seven-run third inning.

“Kurt wasn’t close to what he normally is. You’re going to have those at times during the year. Unfortunately, they got a great start when we had a below-average one,” Hannahs said.

ISU’s usually reliable defense didn’t give Kudrecki much respite either. The Sycamores uncharacteristically had three errors, including two on one play in the third inning that loomed large in the Redbirds’ big push.

“I felt like we got on our heels a little bit. Give them credit, they took advantage,” Hannahs said.

Even if ISU’s pitching and defense had been on-task, it would’ve been a tough day anyway as Illinois State starting pitcher Jeremy Rhoades was stout. Using a fastball and slider to devastating effect, he struck out 12 Sycamores and allowed only three hits over seven innings.

Trouble started for ISU in the third. Kudrecki loaded the bases with two walks and a single for the third man in Illinois State’s lineup — third baseman Paul DeJong — who made ISU pay with a double into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and make it 3-0.

That opened the floodgates. Two more runs came home on what was scored a double-error by Cody Zimmerman and Connor McClain. A two-run triple by ninth hitter Dennis Colon took care of the rest.

Illinois State (17-8, 4-2) scored four more in the seventh. The big blow was a RBI double by Mike Hollenbeck and a two-run single by Colon off ISU reliever A.J. McElderry.

It was 11-0 by the time an ISU batter reached base. Zimmerman’s infield single was the first blemish for Rhoades. ISU (17-7, 2-4) lost its second MVC series of the season.

“For the most part, we didn’t pack it in. We got down 11-0 and could’ve easily packed some things in,” Hannahs said.

ISU plays host to Austin Peay on Wednesday. Wichita State comes to Terre Haute on Friday to begin ISU’s next three-game conference series.

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