Fenlong's Fourth Save Aids Indiana State Sweep
NORMAL, Ill. – Indiana State baseball opened Missouri Valley Conference action with a doubleheader sweep of Illinois State Friday at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. The Sycamores took the opener from the Redbirds, 4-2, before closing out the day with a 6-1 victory over seven innings in the nightcap.
In the first game Gouverneur's Connor Felong recorded his fourth save of the season.
Indiana State improved to 15-7 on the season and 2-0 in MVC action while Illinois State fell to 11-17 overall and 3-3 in League play.
Max Wright led all Sycamores with a .429 average on the day (3-for-7) to go along with a .556 on-base percentage after drawing two walks. Wright recorded two extra-base hits, including a home run and a double for a 1.000 slugging percentage. Seth Gergely finished with a .375 average (3-for-8) in two games to go with two RBIs.
Game One Recap – Indiana State 4, Illinois State 2
Left-hander Geremy Guerrero recorded the longest outing of his career as the Sycamores rallied back from a two-run deficit to take the opener. Guerrero gave up a two-run home run in the first inning but did not allow another run over his 8.1 inning outing.
The redshirt senior retired 12-straight Illinois State batters before ILS was able to pick up a base hit with an out on the scoreboard in the ninth. That was when the Sycamores went to the bullpen for closer Connor Fenlong who recorded his fourth save of the season as he shut down the comeback attempt with a groundout and a strikeout.
Fenlong has produced a win and four saves in 15.2 innings of work where he has pitched to a 0.57 ERA with 15 strikeouts against only two walks.
Guerrero improved to 6-0 on the season as the Redbirds scattered seven hits against him. The Metamora, Ill. native struck out five and issued just one walk.
It wasn't until the sixth inning that the Sycamores were able to put a run on the scoreboard. Max Wright kickstarted the rally with a single to center followed by a base hit from Brian Fuentes to put runners on the corners. Illinois State committed one of their five errors as first baseman Jake McCaw was not able to hold on to the ball allowing a run to cross the plate. Gergely continued his hot streak with a two-out two-run single to put the Sycamores on top, 3-2.
Indiana State picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Wright recorded his team-leading sixth home run of the season to left-center.
Game Two Recap – Indiana State 6, Illinois State 1
Tristan Weaver (1-2) put together his best outing of the year as he went a season-long six innings on the mound to pick up his first win. The left-hander allowed one run in the first inning before he shut the door on the Redbirds the remainder of the game, striking out five and walking just two.
Dominic Cusumano, who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, drove in the first run of the day for the Sycamores in the first inning with a single to left. The hit scored Wright who started the two-out rally with a double to the gap in left.
A run was gifted to the Redbirds in the bottom of the first when the home plate umpire called obstruction on Wright at the plate after Gines sent a rocket from left, allowing Wright to tag the runner out.
That would be all the offense that Illinois State would get in game two as Weaver worked himself out of several innings as ILS left eight runners on base.
Indiana State continued to put up runs with two in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Fuentes brought in the go-ahead runs in the third with a two-RBI single to center to put ISU on top 3-1 and the Sycamores would not look back.
Cam Edmonson closed out the game for the Sycamores in the seventh inning, picking up two strikeouts in his series debut.
Beck and Cusumano led ISU in the game two with two hits each.
Indiana State will return to action on Saturday with game three scheduled for 4 p.m. ET if weather permits. Stay tuned to GoSycamores.com and @IndStBaseball on Twitter for the latest information.