TERRE HAUTE —
First place is there is for the taking for Indiana State's baseball team this weekend … so is redemption.
ISU opens a three-game series with Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. tonight. ISU has a 11⁄2-game lead in the Missouri Valley Conference over the Bears.
If the Sycamores win one game in the series, they will clinch their first MVC regular season baseball championship since 1985.
If it feels like déjà vu, it is. ISU was in the same boat against the same opponent in 2009 — and failed to win a single game against the Bears. In fact, ISU failed to win a single game for the remainder of the 2009 season as it went 0-for-the-MVC Tournament as well.
That was then and this is now. At least ISU hopes so.
“As veterans, we need to make the team understand it’s not going to be given to us and it’s not going to be easy. We have to take it when the opportunity presents itself. I think we’ll be ready to play this weekend,” said ISU senior left fielder Kyle Burnam, one of three players left from the 2009 team.
One notable difference between 2009 and 2012 is that the conference-deciding series is in Terre Haute instead of Springfield, Mo. The Sycamores will have the benefit of clinching on its home field, where it has lost just four out of 21 games this season.
Another notable difference between 2009 and 2012 is pitching. Baseball has changed since 2009 with less-explosive bats, but it doesn’t complete account for ISU’s pitching improvement. The Sycamores were last in the MVC in 2009 with an ERA of 5.94.
ISU had no starter with an ERA below 4.76 in 2009. This year, all three of ISU’s weekend rotation are below 3.09, along with fourth-starter Kyle Rupe. ISU’s team ERA is 3.03, second-best in the league.
Missouri State (35-17, 11-6) has an excellent pitching staff of its own. The Bears have a MVC-best team ERA of 2.56.
The Sycamores will also have to solve a Rubik’s Cube no other MVC team has figured out all season — MSU No. 1 starter Nick Petree.
Petree, the MVC’s Freshman of the Year last season, has an ERA of 0.00 in MVC action. He currently has a remarkable scoreless innings streak of 38 innings and an unearned run streak of 721⁄3 innings.
Scoreless innings is not an official record kept by the NCAA, but Petree has shattered the unofficial mark held by Tennessee’s Todd Helton, who went 471⁄3 innings without an earned run in 1994. Helton is still playing in the majors as a first baseman for the Colorado Rockies.
Petree does not have an overpowering fastball. He has baffling off-speed stuff and talismanic breaking balls. He throws from multiple arm angles and has the savvy to throw the right pitch at the right time.
“He pitches from the first base side of the rubber and throws from a backwards angle from what right-handers usually throw. It’s a funky angle. He’s got a quick arm and his change-up drops right off the table. His slider is good too. He’s tough to hit,” ISU coach Rick Heller said.
ISU (40-13, 13-5) comes into the game fresh off a disappointing 10-inning 2-1 loss Tuesday to Purdue in which the Boilermakers tied the game in their last at-bat. The Sycamores had runners on in eight innings, but only scored during one of them.
Whatever happens in the Missouri State series, ISU will either have the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the MVC Tournament, which begins next Tuesday at Missouri State. Spots in the rest of the conference are wide-open, there is just a 41⁄2 game-game gap between third-place and eighth-place.
ISU is also hoping to protect serve if it needs a NCAA Tournament at-large bid. As of press time, ISU had a RPI of 44. Most college baseball experts believe that’s good enough for the Sycamores to make the field. But ISU’s position is still precarious and a late-season swoon would damage
“During our captain’s meeting, we talked about one pitch at a time. You can’t think ahead and think we just need one. Baseball doesn’t work that way. It’s going to have to be execution and locked in to the way you play all the time. We’re playing a great team with awesome pitching. We’ll be ready,” Heller said.
n Special ticket price — ISU will sell single-game general admission seating for $2 and chairback seats for $5 for this weekend's series.
Pitching matchups for the Indiana State-Missouri State series:
Today (6:30 p.m.)
ISU RHP Dakota Bacus (6-3, 2.09) vs. MSU RHP Nick Petree (10-2, 0.58)
Friday (6:30 p.m.)
ISU LHP Sean Manaea (5-1, 3.09) vs. MSU RHP Cody Schumacher (7-1, 4.02)
Saturday (1 p.m.)
ISU RHP Ryan Torgerson (8-2, 3.04) vs. MSU RHP Pierce Johnson (2-6, 2.85)
Sycamores can clinch league crown with one win in weekend series vs. Missouri State
TERRE HAUTE —
First place is there is for the taking for Indiana State's baseball team this weekend … so is redemption.
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
Indiana State women add five transfers, including experienced D-I point guard
Indiana State coach Teri Moren believes the addition of five more newcomers to the program — in addition to the five who had already joined the program earlier this calendar year — will provide her coaching staff the athleticism and depth it needs to play a successful, up-tempo brand of basketball next season.
Metro roundup: Woods softball takes seventh in national tournament
The St. Mary-of-the-Woods softball team finished seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournament on Tuesday at Firestone Stadium.
Metro Roundup: Indiana State’s Shakir Bell on Performance Awards watch list
College Football Performance Awards has announced its watch list for the 2013 CFPA FCS Running Back Award, and Indiana State’s Shakir Bell earned a spot on the list.
ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
Johnson, Lyke win MVC titles for ISU
Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson and Maurice Lyke were both crowned Missouri Valley Conference champions on Saturday during the MVC Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
Metro roundup: RHIT’s Evans sets Div. III record in high jump
For the third time this season, Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans topped the NCAA Division III all-time national record in the outdoor high jump Friday night.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
The will is there for the Sycamores to pull out of their worst slump of the season, but the results are not. The suffering continued on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field as Eastern Illinois defeated ISU 5-3.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU men's track picked first in MVC Championships, women second
The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
That may change this year, but the Sycamores will face some stiff competition in their quest for the championships.
North grad Welker helps Whitson earn first NCAA bid as coach
Eastern Kentucky girls golf coach Mike Whitson, an alumnus of his employer, enjoyed his stay in Terre Haute as coach of Indiana State, where he started the women’s golf program.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman wins HCAC all-sports trophy
Rose-Hulman has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophy for the fifth time in the past six year, the league announced Monday.
Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman tennis falls in HCAC semifinal
Rose-Hulman’s hot streak in men’s tennis came to an end Saturday in the semifinal round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at the West Indy Racquet Club.
Manaea fights off bad hip, wet weather to toss four innings
Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
ISU track enjoys big night at IU's Billy Hayes Invitational
The Indiana State Sycamores either won or finished as the top collegian in 12 events, led by the record-breaking performance of senior Brandon Pounds at the 2013 Billy Hayes Invitational Friday at Indiana University.
Pounds broke his own school record to win the men’s hammer throw.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
Secret weapon: Kelsey Rosselli finishing Woods career with a bang
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, reporting game results to the Tribune-Star after a win or a loss is not always a high priority.
So when one of its athletes enjoys an outstanding season, like senior Kelsey Rosselli is doing for the Pomeroys’ softball team in 2013, media publicity doesn’t always follow.
In fact, her efforts almost seem like a government secret.
Rosselli’s name might sound familiar to longtime Terre Haute softball followers because she was a standout for North High School, from where she graduated in 2009.
Since then, she’s helped The Woods finish runner-up in three straight U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national tournaments in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
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.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose baseball wins another thriller
Rose-Hulman earned its third victory in its last at-bat in the last five days with a 6-5 win over Franklin in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
ISU relay teams enjoy strong day at Drake Relays
It was a day for the relay teams to shine at the 104th Drake Relays Saturday as four of the five Indiana State relay teams that competed ran times that put the team among the top five in school history for their respective events.
Indiana State baseball series canceled
Heavy rain from Thursday through Saturday has forced Indiana State and Tennessee Martin to cancel their three-game weekend baseball series in northwest Tennessee.
Metro roundup; Five Wabash Valley players on Terre Haute Rex team
The Terre Haute Rex will look to three-peat as Prospect League Western Division champions with a roster that includes a quartet of Wabash Valley players. Indiana State University standouts Tyler Wampler and Josh Dove will reunite with former Little League and high school rivals Cody Gardner (Wright State), Tim Johnson (Vincennes) and Bryan Nacke (Vincennes) for the summer season.
Indiana State loses 2 in MVC softball
Indiana State aspired to upset Illinois State to get at least a doubleheader split in Missouri Valley Conference softball Thursday at Price Field as the Sycamores opened an eight-game season-ending homestand.
Paige Schreiner hit a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the fifth inning and junior Shelby Wilson delivered a sizzling RBI triple down the right-field line in the sixth as ISU ended the day playing well against the league’s highest-scoring offense.
The result was still a 5-3 loss to the Redbirds (26-18, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference) as freshman Halle Humphrey gave up four runs in the first two innings. Humphrey, called upon to pitch the opener as well — she’s the only full-time pitcher remaining on the team — gave up six runs and eight hits as the Sycamores dropped a 6-1 game to start the day.
Sycamores fall: Slumping ISU drops 8-1 decision to No. 19-ranked IU
The margin in baseball between success and failure is so tight.
Indiana State learned that lesson the hard way against No. 19-ranked Indiana on Wednesday.
For most of the contest, ISU matched IU hit-for-hit, but couldn’t match the Hoosiers run-for-run as IU took maximum advantage of its baserunners to post an 8-1 victory at IU’s new Bart Kaufman Field.
IU — winners of four in a row and owners of a 19-game win streak earlier this season — proved its quality by putting the foot on the gas in the last three innings of the contest. The Hoosiers scored five of their runs in that period.
But up until that point, the game was in either team’s hands, but the Hoosiers took it with better situational hitting. IU’s first baserunners in three separate innings came around to score; two of them did so with two outs on the board.
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