Friday is likely one of the Sycamores … once more | Indiana State Sports activities
For only the second Friday of that season, ISU was able to put their skills to the test on their own diamond on Friday, as hard-hitting southern Illinois was only the second team to recognize the Sycamores’ presence at Bob Warn Field this season.
The first few games of the weekend series are usually played on Friday, and only twice in eleven series – against national forces Tennessee and Dallas Baptist – the Sycamores have fallen in a series opening game.
The Salukis certainly made the Sycamores sweat for another win in the series opening when SIU tied the game in the eighth inning, but the Sycamores got into the clutch when they had to. A brace from Aaron Beck RBI at the end of eighth place turned out to be the difference when ISU scored a 5-4 win in a thrilling, thrilling series opening game.
The series plays with the best pitching team (ISU) against the best hit team (SIU) in the Missouri Valley Conference and both teams have proven their strengths. Of course, the main reason the ISU was so dominant at series openings is ace Geremy Guerrero. He was excellent again, throwing seven innings, scattering seven hits and allowing two runs with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“When you have Geremy on the hill on Friday? You know he’ll keep you in the game. We’re trying to get down to five in the running column on Fridays. I’m proud we didn’t drop our heads and come back in.” the eighth to take it, “said ISU shortstop Jordan Schaffer.
ISU (25-12, 12-5) put pressure on the Salukis (33-16, 10-11) from the start. SIU starter Mike Hansell struggled. He met Jordan Schaffer on the first stroke and the bases were brought into play via a single and an outfield player choice with Wright safe in second place with four clubs.
Jose Urdaneta delivered the ISU’s first run with a base-packed walk. Mitch Barrow later delivered a 2-0 double to 3-0.
The ISU added another run over a Schaffer sacrificial fly in the fourth run to make the 4-1, but when the SIU reached out to their best assistant – Kyle Back – the sycamore maples began to struggle.
The ISU has stranded five runners in the fourth and fifth innings and scored 4-6-3 doubles in the sixth. Given the SIU’s severe offense, as good as Guerrero is, it was unlikely that four runs would make it.
“There were a lot of bats during the game that we were scared of. I don’t know if it’s part of the final [home] Weekend or what it is, “said Hannahs.” It’s unusual for us to pinch with bases loaded in the fifth inning, but I felt we needed it [Brian] Fuentes to get a good swing. It didn’t pay off, but we know how important those innings were. We just didn’t capitalize. “
Sure enough, SIU began to split off. A double from Trey Epps made it 4-2 in the seventh game. In the eighth round, SIU chased Guerrero with a lead-off single and Connor Fenlong came closer.
Fenlong got what he wanted when SIU’s No. 2 batsman JT Weber hit him back on the hill. However, Schaffer pulled Fenlong’s throw for second place out of his pocket. Everyone was safe and SIU was in a convenient place.
Fenlong got the E1 for the piece, but there was more to it than that.
“We switched reporting late. Josue [Urdaneta, second baseman] Normally I would have had the bag on, but we got a late call from the dugout as Conor was already employed. Josue moved two feet to the left, but we couldn’t pass the Connor on. Just one of those things where you have to play spontaneously and I couldn’t hold my bag, “explained Schaffer
Fenlong still took responsibility.
“For me? It’s up to me. I made a mistake. After that? I knew I had to make it big and do what I could,” said Fenlong.
Nick Neville, who was successful in the second round, hit a dribbler on the first baseline to knock in Cody Cleveland. With two outs, Phillip Archer delivered a sharp single to the right to hit Weber and tie the game.
ISU didn’t flinch. Back was now out of the game and ISU faced hard-fought right-hander Trey McDaniel. He retired the first two sycamores, but Schaffer punched a two-out single to keep the ISU inning alive. Then he stole the second.
That’s all Beck needs. He tied a liner into right Feldstromgasse and Schaffer scored easily to make it 5-4. Fenlong shook off his eighth inning and retired the Salukis in ninth order.
“It felt great. Fenlong and G. [Guerrero] were out there and got our butts off and we left a few people on the base. When was the time to help the team? It felt good, “said Beck, explaining his stroke.” I sat fastball for most of the game, but they didn’t come up to me with that. So I sat down curveball and he left one for me. “
The same two teams will play a double header from 1pm on Saturday.
“For the most part, every Friday we came out we got Geremy through it and we didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We figured out how to get enough runs against her Friday guy. We’re not going to turn it off.” We just have to set it up, catch it and figure it out different things to score here and there, “said Hannahs.
The ISU got good news elsewhere in the MVC. The Sycamores recorded a game against MVC leaders Dallas Baptist when the Patriots lost 8-4 at home to Bradley. DBU and Bradley played another game in a double header that ended after the Tribune star’s deadline.