NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mike Sears' three-run home run in the top of the fifth broken the game open and No. 22 Indiana State jumped out to a nine-run lead on their way to topping No. 4 Vanderbilt, 10-2, on Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.
All nine Sycamores (23-12) hit safely in the contest as Indiana State took control over the game in the middle innings against Vanderbilt (29-8). The Sycamores scored two in the fourth, three in the fifth, and four in the sixth to pull away and added a Seth Gergely RBI single in the ninth to run ISU's win streak to 11 consecutive games.
Brennyn Cutts (1-3) was effective in the midweek start surrendering just one hit while striking out three over 3.1 innings. The Sycamore bullpen took over the rest of the way with Jacob Pruitt, Cameron Holycross, and Jared Spencer carrying a shutout into the seventh inning before Vanderbilt pushed across two runs late in the contest in the loss.
The Sycamore win on Tuesday night marked ISU's fourth win all-time against Vanderbilt and first since ISU topped the then-No. 1 Commodores, 8-1, back on February 21, 2015, in Port Charlotte, Fla. The victory also avenged an 8-7 extra-inning loss to Vanderbilt last season and snapped a six-game losing streak against VU.
Indiana State's win over the No. 4-ranked Commodores is also ISU's first win against a ranked opponent since the Sycamores took two of three at No. 20 Florida Atlantic (10-2 - May 12, 2021). ISU's win also marked the highest-ranked opponent Indiana State has defeated since topping No. 1 Vanderbilt back in 2015.
The Sycamores and Commodores were locked in a pitcher's duel early as Brennyn Cutts (1-3) and Vanderbilt pitchers Thomas Schultz and J.D. Thompson (2-1) traded zeroes on the scoreboard over the first three innings.
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Indiana State took the lead in the top of the fourth on Parker Stinson's bouncing single up the middle scoring Miguel Rivera. Two batters later, Seth Gergely singled home Stinson to make it a 2-0 Sycamore lead.
The Sycamore bats stayed hot adding seven runs over the next two innings with Sears' 12th home run of the season scoring three runs in the fifth, while ISU sent eight batters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored four more runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead in the sixth. Gergely added a late RBI single in the ninth scoring Stinson for the second time to provide the final ISU tally on the scoreboard.
Cutts gave way to Jacob Pruitt in the bottom of the fourth inning. The freshman surrendered a pair of singles early, but made a pair of key defensive plays in the field to keep the shutout intact through the fifth.
Vanderbilt broke through on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh and added a late run in the ninth, but the game was never in doubt late as Indiana State closed out the win over the Commodores.
Gergely and Stinson both had a pair of multi-hit games to highlight an 11-hit game for the Sycamores.. Gergely added two RBI and reached base five times overall (two walks, one HBP) in the game, while Stinson, Adam Pottinger, and Rivera all scored twice.
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Cutts picked up his first win of the season in the starting effort. Pruitt went 1.2 innings of two-hit relief and struck out two. Holycross went 2.0 innings allowing two hits and one run while striking out one. Jared Spencer closed out the game hurling the final two innings and striking out three.
R.J. Schreck had two of Vanderbilt's hits in the loss as the Commodore offense was limited to six singles on Tuesday night. Enrique Bradfield Jr. and Chris Maldonado had both of Vanderbilt's RBI.
Schultz went 2.0 scoreless innings and struck out three in the no-decision. Thompson took the loss after allowing four hits and two runs over 2.0 innings on the mound, while David Horn, Jack Anderson, and Colton Regen closed out the evening at Hawkins Field.