Indiana State Rallies Late for Second Straight Win Over MSU
May 10, 2014
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to complete a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Missouri State Saturday, marking the second time in as many days the Sycamores have erased a four-run deficit to defeat the Bears.
After Jacob Hayes tied the game with a run-scoring single to center, Tyler Wampler's chopper to first with the bases loaded brought in the winning run to keep the Sycamores' MVC title hopes alive. ISU, which trailed 4-0 at the game's midway point, gradually chipped away at the Bears' lead until getting three straight singles to start the deciding rally.
Brian Romero led the way for the Sycamores, going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored, and Cody Zimmerman added two hits as well. Hayes reached safely in four of his five trips to the plate, drawing three walks and driving in two runs.
For the second straight day in the series, Missouri State jumped on top of the Sycamores early to build a 4-0 lead. Eric Cheray's RBI double opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, and Patrick Drake followed with an RBI single to stake the Bears to a 2-0 advantage.
MSU added to its lead the following inning after the first three Bears reached base to start the scoring rally. Blake Graham earned a base after being hit by a Brad Lombard pitch, before Tate Matheny delivered the first of his two singles on the day. Next, Dylan Becker laid a bunt single down the third base line, and catcher Mike Fitzgerald's throw to first sailed wide of the bag, allowing both baserunners to cross the plate for a four-run Bears' lead.
Bears starting pitcher Jon Harris appeared to have the game under control, picking off a baserunner and rolling a pair of double-play balls to work his way out of three early jams. The sophomore right-hander turned in four scoreless innings to start the game and quickly dispatched the first two hitters of the fifth before a passed ball on a third strike to Derek Hannahs opened the door for the first ISU scoring rally. Harris momentarily lost command, issuing three consecutive walks to force in the Sycamores first run, before coming up with a big strikeout of Fitzgerald to avoid further damage.
The Sycamores kept the pressure on Harris and the Bears in the sixth, as Romero initiated another scoring opportunity with a leadoff hit, and back-to-back run-producing hits from Jeff Zahn and Connor McClain pulled the home club to within 4-3. Jake Powers, who took over for Harris with one out in the inning, stranded the potential tying run at second base by inducing a ground ball to shortstop and a pop up to third.
MSU would tack on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, as ISU reliever Josh Dove beaned Conor Smith, then threw errantly to second on Trey Massenberg's comebacker. A single by Joey Hawkins loaded the bases, and Dove hit Matheny to force in a run and make it a 5-3 game.
Following a 1-2-3 seventh, Powers would yield his first run in six appearances in the eighth thanks to a leadoff triple by Romero on what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right. Drake could not locate the ball in the sun, and Wampler came through with an RBI single to cut the MSU lead to one run. Powers once again came up with a rally-killing out to preserve the lead, however, retiring McClain on a grounder to the right side and Hannahs on a liner to first.
Landon Curry got the ball rolling in the decisive ninth, drilling a leadoff single to right before Zimmerman and Hayes added hits to bring in the tying run. An intentional pass to Fitzgerald loaded the bases, and Romero's bouncer to third resulted in a force out at the plate.
But Wampler's grounder to first would get the job done for ISU, as Smith's throw home caromed off the Sycamore shortstop, who was ruled to be within the first base running lane.
Dove (3-1) earned the victory with three innings of relief over which he allowed just one hit.
Powers (2-5) shouldered the tough-luck loss after allowing the final three ISU runs of the day. The senior surrendered six hits and a walk in his 3.0 innings, after Harris permitted three runs (two earned) on six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 frames.
In addition to Matheny's two-hit game, both Hawkins and Spencer Johnson added 2-for-4 days at the plate for MSU, which touched up four ISU hurlers for 11 hits.
The Bears (21-27, 7-10 MVC) and Sycamores (32-13, 11-6 MVC) wrap up the weekend Sunday (May 11) with a Noon contest at Bob Warn Field.