April 14, 2018
Strong Outing from Polley Wasted as Redbirds Score Eight, Jaco has two hits, plus RBI
By Tim McCaughan
Indiana State Athletics
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Illinois State scored five runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth to rally for an 8-7 victory over Indiana State Saturday afternoon at Bob Warn Field. Illinois State (13-17, 3-5 MVC) entered the eighth with just three base hits on the day, but the Sycamore bullpen was unable to overcome the hot-bats as the Redbirds went for six hits during the stretch as well as a pair of walks and a hit batter.
The loss is made worse after Sycamore (17-12, 3-5 MVC) starting pitcher Triston Polley went seven and a third innings, giving up just three hits and striking out five. It wasn’t until the eighth that the southpaw would even record his lone walk of the afternoon, breaking a streak of 13-straight batters retired.
Polley, an Avon, Indiana native, would exit following the walk after throwing 115 pitches and make way for Tyler Grauer out of the bullpen. Grauer faced just one batter, walking him before the Trees would go to the bullpen once again in right-hander Donnie Ames.
With runners on second and third with one out following a passed ball in the previous at bat, Illinois State would pick up back-to-back RBI singles from the top of the order in John Rave and Owen Miller. Collin Braithwaite would put his mark on the inning though with a three-run home run to give the Redbirds their first lead of the afternoon to cap off a five-run inning.
The Sycamores would answer the call though in the bottom of the eighth inning with two-out walks from Hayden Jaco and Dane Tofteland before Jake Means would put the Trees back out in front on a two-RBI double down the line in left field.
Illinois State wasn’t finished though as they opened the ninth with a hit batter, single on a bunt attempt and a single to the mound to load the bases. Pinch hitter Jordan Libman would come through with a two-RBI double to put the Redbirds back on top 7-6 before the leadoff man Rave recorded an RBI sacrifice fly which would become a much-needed insurance run.
Chris Ayers doubled to right-center for one of his two hits on the day with one out in the ninth. Ayers would be driven in two batters later as Jaco singled through the left side to make it a one run game. The Sycamore bats continued to roll with another single through the left side from Hunter Lewis, but Jaco would be thrown out trying to move from first to third to end the game.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that either team would put a run on the scoreboard. The Sycamores did so with as Chris Ayers went for a solo home run -- the second in as many games for the junior -- with one out in the inning. Jake Means would double home Jaco two batters later to put ISU on top 2-0. The Trees would add a run each in the sixth and seventh innings -- both on solo home runs. The first would come from Dane Giesler and the second would come off the bat of Jake Means. Both Sycamores moved their home run totals to six on the season to lead the team.
Jake Means tallied three hits on the day to lead ISU. Chris Ayers, Dane Giesler and Hayden Jaco added two hits each. The Sycamores outhit Illinois State 12-9 on the day, but left nine runners on base while the Redbirds stranded just four.
Redbird starting pitcher Brady Huffman went six and a third innings, allowing four runs in the no decision. Michael Sebby (1-1) claimed the win after notching the final four outs of the game.
Owen Miller paced ILS at the plate with a 3-for-5 day while Collin Braithwaite drove in three runs on a pair of hits.