The Sycamores and Braves (23-25, 5-16 MV C) will meet again Tuesday night in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Indiana State will enter the game as the second seed in the Valley tournament while Bradley secured the seventh seed with the win.
“It is always tough to beat a team three straight games and it is always tough to try to win when you are playing from behind,” Mitch Hannahs, Indiana State head baseball coach, said. “But I believe this will make the guys hungry again and they will be ready to compete in the conference tournament.”
For the second straight game and the fifth time in the last six games, Indiana State fell behind early as starting pitcher Kurt Kudrecki gave up a leadoff walk to Chris Godinez and back-to-back singles to Spencer Gaa and Max Murphy that put Indiana State down 1-0. The Braves went on to load the bases in the inning but Kudrecki retired the final two batters he faced to work out of the jam.
Indiana State came back to tie the game in the top of the second without the benefit of a hit. Manual Estevez and Mike Fitzgerald led off the inning with walks and Tyler Wampler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jeff Zahn then grounded out to second which allowed Estevez to score the tying run. Hannahs followed with a walk but Indiana State left the bases loaded when Curry grounded out to second.
The Braves regained the advantage in the bottom of the fourth on two hits. Tyler Leffler led off the inning with a double down the left field line and was able to score on Austin Jarvis’ two-out single to center.
The Sycamores had the bases loaded in the sixth and threatened to score again in the eighth but failed to cross the plate in either inning.
Kudrecki (6-4) went 5.1 innings in being charged with the loss in allowing two runs on five hits while striking out two and walking one which was the only walk given up by the Sycamore pitching staff on the day. Several relievers were able to get some work in including A.J. McElderry (0.1 innings), Austin Conway (1.2), Trent Lunsford (0.1), and Nick Martin (0.1). Conway had the only other strikeout in the game and that came as he closed the sixth inning.
Matt Dennis (5-4) went 5.2 innings to earn the win for Bradley as he allowed a run on four hits while striking out five and walking four. Cameron Roegner finished the game for his first save of the season as he shut down the Sycamores on four hits while striking out one and walking none.
Hayes had the only extra base hit for Indiana State when he doubled off the right field fence in the third. Connor McClain continued his hot hitting with two singles in three trips to the plate while Landon Curry, Cody Zimmerman, Manuel Estevez, Mike Fitzgerald, and Jeff Zahn had a single each.
Tyler Leffler had two singles for Bradley with Spencer Gaa, Max Murphy, and Austin Jarvis each hitting a single.
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