EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Indiana State Baseball battled adversity in the series finals with Evansville on Saturday afternoon at Braun Stadium. The Sycamores recovered from an eight-point deficit to win 13-10 to secure second place at the Missouri Valley conference tournament.
Max Wright was dominant at home plate, finishing 3-for-5 with three runs scored, six RBIs to go with a step. The senior had two home runs in the game to help the Sycamores (27-17, 14-10 MVC) win the series with the Aces. Jordan schaffer finished 3-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored while Miguel rivera and Josue Urdaneta counted two hits each.
Tyler grauer (3-2) saved his best relief appearance of the season for the last as the southpaw pitched 4.1 innings and allowed just two basic hits while striking out three Purple Aces. At one point, Grauer struck out 10 straight batters as he earned his third win of the season.
Evansville (28-26, 11-16 MVC) wasted no time taking the lead, scoring four runs on two hits and a pair of errors at Indiana State in the first inning. The first round of the game came home when Brian Fuentes sought to throw a double play on a ground ball first, but the ball sailed to the left. Tanner Craig of the EU drove two more with a helicopter over third base. A low toss to the tail of what could have been a late inning double play allowed the fourth inning to cross.
The Aces doubled their lead in the second after sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four more runs to extend their lead to 8-0.
The Sycamores started the attack in the third inning, sending 10 hitters to home plate, registering six hits and scoring five runs to cut the Aces lead. The bottom of the order reaches everyone on the base hits as a nine hole hitter Sean ross doubled in the first two descents of the day for the Sycamores.
Schaffer chose to place the runners in the corners to bring Wright to home plate. The senior delivered his 13e home run of the season with the three-point shot to shoot ISU in three points.
The ISU continued its momentum from third to fourth as the team hit three more runs on five hits. With two outs on the board, the ISU started their rally by picking up a single from Schaffer and a few steps from Ellison Hanna II. The Sycamores then resumed back-to-back RBI singles from Wright, Rivera and Evansville. Aaron Beck to tie the game.
The EU responded to the fifth with two points to regain the lead. Ben Komonosky had a single with Danny Borgstrom who started the round with a single. ISU went to the pen for Tyler grauer which induced a double play before allowing a runner to come home from third place on wild ground before a groundout ended the round.
Hanna II started the sixth with a walk, moved up to second on wild terrain, and then to third on a lead. Wright then sent his second home run of the day over the wall into right field to tie the game at 10 – the fifth and sixth RBI of the game for the Toronto native.
Indiana State took its first lead of the day in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, Dominic cusumano drew a walk from Evansville closer to Jakob Meyer to bring home the kickoff. Rivera scored an insurance run for the Sycamores as he walked home on grass pitch that went to the safety net.
Rivera drew a base-laden step across the top of the ninth to give the Sycamores a three-point cushion ahead Connor fenlong entered with a runner in the bottom half to secure his sixth stoppage of the season.
Overall, the ISU have won 11 free goals after scoring nine goals and being shot twice. The Sycamores continued to struggle with the runners, blocking 10 runners against three for the Aces.
Javin drake only made 1.1 innings for the Sycamores, allowing five earned runs at the start and Matt Jachec threw 2.2 innings of relief before Grauer entered.
EU starting pitcher Caleb Reinhardt allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings. Shane Harris allowed three more runs before the Aces turned their backs for the rest of the game – using eight pitchers in total, including a positional player.
Eric Roberts (0-2) took the loss to the Aces after giving the go-ahead in the eighth.
Three EU hitters had two baselines led by Tanner Craig who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of runs batted in.
The Sycamores will travel to Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale, Ill. For the 2021 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament hosted by Southern Illinois University. Indiana State will play Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET. All tournament matches will be broadcast on ESPN +.
For more information on the 2021 MVC Baseball Tournament, visit Central Championship.