Sycamore Baseball Visits Ball State Wednesday To Start Final Two Weeks Of Season
May 7, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Sycamore baseball is coming off a 10-day period where they did not play a game but the coaching staff made sure that the players have stayed sharp and are ready for the final two weeks of the regular season. With some spirited practices and motivated work on certain aspects of the game, Indiana State should be primed for their final eight games of the regular season.
Indiana State (29-13) begins their final two weeks with a road game at Ball State (32-15) on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET) and the game can be heard live on WIBQ 1300AM with veteran announcer Brian Fritz providing the play-by-play.
The Cardinals will be the last top 100 RPI team that the Sycamores will face before the end of the regular season but the Sycamores will not lack for strong competition down the stretch. Indiana State will conclude the home portion of the season by hosting a Missouri State (20-24) team that has won the last five meetings between the two schools. The final week has Indiana State at Purdue (12-32) on Tuesday and then playing their final MVC series at Bradley (20-23) May 15-17.
Catcher Mike Fitzgerald is leading the Sycamores at the plate with a .313 average while second baseman Derek Hannahs is at .310, and third baseman Cody Zimmerman is at .301. Hannahs tops the team in RBI with 29. David Stagg is leading the stable of Sycamore pitchers with a 2.18 ERA while top reliever Ryan Keaffaber is at 2.62.
Ball State Next Up For Sycamores
The Ball State Cardinals will be another good mid-week test for the Sycamores as both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games and both are 5-1 in their last six. The Cardinals played at Akron in a Mid America Conference series this past weekend and lost the Friday opener 6-2. Ball State came back to win the Saturday game 4-3 in 11 innings and then took the series with a 6-3 win on Sunday. The Cardinals lead the West Division of the MAC with a 16-4 record.
Center fielder Sean Godfrey leads the team at the plate with a .357 batting average, 71 hits (19 doubles and eight home runs) and 49 RBI. He is one of four players batting over .300 with third baseman Sean Kennedy at .342, catcher Jarett Rindfleisch .337, and right fielder Alex Call .321. Godfrey also leads the team in stolen bases as he has been successful in 18-of-21 attempts.
Freshman right hander Zach Plesac leads the Cardinal pitching staff with a 2.34 ERA, a 10-2 record, and five saves. He was the winning pitcher in both games against Akron in a relief role.
Missouri State Final Home Series Of Season
Indiana State will host the Missouri State Bears in their final regular season weekend home series May 9-11. The series is not only the final Missouri Valley Conference home series of the year, it will also be the final regular season home appearance for several Sycamores.
Shortstop Tyler Wampler (West Terre Haute, Ind.), third baseman Cody Zimmerman (Newark, Calif.), outfielder Owen Conway (Hillsboro, Mo.), pitcher Tyler Browning (Mount Carmel, Ill.), catcher Mike Fitzgerald (Rochester, Ill.), pitcher Kurt Kudrecki (Dyer, Ind.), and pitcher Josh Dove (Terre Haute, Ind.) are competing in their final season at Indiana State.
The seniors and their families will be honored during ceremonies on Sunday, May 11.
Friday is Salute to Service Night where military, police and fireman active or retired, with a valid ID, receive a free ticket to the game. All additional tickets are $5. It is Baseball Bingo night as well.
Saturday is Little League Day with any little leaguer wearing their jersey receiving two free tickets with additional tickets $5. All little leaguers will get a chance to run the bases after the game, weather permitting.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and Senior Day. We will honor the seven seniors and their parents prior to the game.
Vs. Ball State: This will be the 139th meeting between Indiana State and Ball State with the Sycamores holding an 87-51 edge in the series which began in 1919. Indiana State has won five of the last seven games including the last three with the Sycamores winning 4-3 over the Cardinals in Terre Haute a year ago. The last Ball State win came in 2010 when the Cardinals prevailed 12-5 in Muncie, Ind.
Vs. Missouri State: When Indiana State takes the field against Missouri State on May 9, it will mark the 99th meeting between the two schools since they first began to meet on the baseball field in 1972. The Bears hold a 61-37 lead in the series and have won the last five meetings including a sweep of their conference series a year ago (3-0, 5-1, 8-7). The last Indiana State win came in the opening game of the 2012 series in Terre Haute when the Sycamores prevailed 7-5.
Tight Race For Top Seed At Valley Tournament
The battle for the top seed in the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is far from over with five teams still in the hunt to claim the 2014 regular season championship. Holding onto that top spot after last weekend’s competition is the Evansville Purple Aces (11-4) with the Illinois State Redbirds just a game back (10-5). Three teams are two games back at 9-6 including the Indiana State Sycamores, Dallas Baptist Patriots, and Wichita State Shockers.
Wichita State and Missouri State (currently four games back at 7-8) are the pre-season favorites to be battling for the regular season title. Defending regular season champion Illinois State and Dallas Baptist were third and fourth in the pre-season selections. Evansville was picked to finish sixth and Indiana State seventh.
Three Valley series will be played this weekend including Missouri State at Indiana State, Illinois State at Evansville, and Dallas Baptist at Wichita State. The final series of the regular season has Indiana State at Bradley, Wichita State at Illinois State, Evansville at Missouri State, and Southern Illinois at Dallas Baptist.
Sycamores Receive Votes In Several Polls
Indiana State received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and moved up two spots to 28th in the USA Today-ESPN Poll with 16 points.
Sycamores Ranked High In RPI
Indiana State’s hopes for post-season action are spurred, in part, by their consistently high mark in RPI. The Sycamores are currently 20th in the national RPI standings despite being idle this past weekend. The Sycamores are 3-3 against current Top 50 RPI teams and 10-9 against teams 51-100. Indiana State is 7-3 in their last 10 game.