Sycamores Fall To Stanford 8-1 In Regional Opener; Play Again At 2 PM Saturday
May 30, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana State could not take advantage of opportunities early as the Stanford Cardinal topped the Sycamores 8-1 in the opening game of the Bloomington Regional Friday afternoon.
“I wasn't disappointed with our approach today,” Mitch Hannahs, Indiana State baseball coach said. “I wasn't disappointed with our guys' battle in the box. I just felt like there were a couple of opportunities where if we get a ball to fall, it's a different ballgame. But we strike out six times against a quality guy. He walks two and I think at the end of the da, you have to tip your hat to that guy for settling in and doing a good job.”
The Sycamores had their chances early but could not get the job done.
“I was not disappointed with the way our guys came into the game and the way they played,” Hannahs said. “For the most part I thought it was a game that could have swung either way in those first five innings. I felt like we had a couple opportunities to maybe put a little more pressure on Stanford than we did. Obviously we pushed Keaffaber a little too far.”
Indiana State (35-17) will return to action at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday when they meet the loser of tonight’s Indiana-Youngstown State game which starts at 7:05 p.m. (ET). Stanford (31-23) will meet the winner at 6:00 p.m. Saturday.
Freshman left handed pitcher Ryan Keaffaber (3-2) started on the hill for Indiana State and gave up consecutive two out singles to Alex Blandino, Austin Slater, and Zach Hoffpauir which plated the first run of the game.
“I kind of had some butterflies at the start of the game and got behind on all the counts,” admitted Keaffaber who was making just his third straight of the season.
The freshman responded to the rough start by retiring the next 10 batters he faced before giving up a single in the fifth to Jack Klein. Although the freshman was able to work out of the inning without damage, he did run into trouble in the sixth and it was Klein who delivered the big blow.
Danny Diekroeger and Blandino and Slater opened with back-to-back singles and Slater put them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Hoffpauir walked to load the bases and Brant Whiting hit a sacrifice fly to left with Diekroeger scoring. Klein followed with a three run home run that just cleared the left field fence and put the Cardinal up 5-1.
“I felt fine,” Keaffaber said about going into the sixth inning. “A little more pitches than I'm used to coming out of the bullpen but that kid just put a good swing on a changeup right down the middle.”
The Sycamores scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Landon Curry led off with a single and came around to score on a one-out double into right field from Jacob Hayes.
However, Stanford starter Cal Quantrill was able to retire 11 of the next 12 Sycamore batters to keep the Indiana State from rallying.
The Cardinal added three more runs in the top of the ninth on four singles and a walk.
Keaffaber went six innings, his third longest stint of the season, and was charged with the loss in giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one. Trent Lunsford, Josh Dove, A.J. McElderry, and Nick Kolarik each worked in the final three innings as they combined to allow three runs on four hits while striking out one and walking one.
Hannahs was pleased with the effort of his freshman starter.
“Ryan did a great job settling in,” Hannahs said. “One thing that he did really well as the game progressed was his ability to throw the fastball in off the plate a little bit to keep them honest. He has a lot of poise for a young guy. He's going to be a very good player for us for a long time.”
Curry was one of three Sycamores with a base hit in the game and he had two singles in four trips while also scoring Indiana State’s only run of the game. Jacob Hayes had a double and Tyler Wampler a single.
Quantrill (6-5) threw only his second complete game of the season in allowing a run on four hits while striking out six and walking two.
“Personally, in my first at?bat I saw all changeups, and with a right?handed pitcher throwing to a left?handed hitter, it is kind of tough to pick up,” Hayes said. “My other at?bats I saw fastballs and sliders. What kept us off balance was his just throwing all three pitches for strikes. Whenever they can throw all three pitches for strikes, it is tough to get into a rhythm in the batter's box.
Curry agreed with Hayes’ assessment of Quantrill.
“He basically hit the nail right on the head,” Curry said of Hayes’ comments. “Most guys kind of work off a fastball, and I felt like he worked off a changeup today. I saw the majority of changeups.”
The Sycamores will get another chance to end a four game losing skid this season and a four-game losing streak in regional games on Saturday.