Overall Record – 40-17
Conference Record – 14-7 (1st place)
How they qualified for a regional – At-large
Last regional appearance – 1995 (1-2 at Oklahoma regional)
RPI/ISR – 49/41 (Big West ISR comparison – Cal Poly 27, Long Beach 48)
SOS – 141 (RPI)/135 (ISR)
Record vs. tournament field – 7-6
Record vs. top 50/top 100 RPI – 5-5/14-12
Indiana State was usually a doormat in the Missouri Valley Conference before athletic director Ron Prettyman hired Lindsay Meggs away from Chico State prior to the 2007 season. Meggs turned things around and had the Sycamores in second place in 2009 with a 33-21 record (15-7 in MVC games) before moving on to coach Washington and he was replaced by Rick Heller, the coach of fellow MVC member Northern Iowa, a program that was discontinued after that season. Indiana State had a solid year in 2010 at 35-19, 10-10 (3rd in the conference) before sliding back in 2011 to 29-28, 8-13 and finishing 6th in the MVC. The Sycamores only hit .272 as a team and averaged just over four runs a game in conference games and had a team ERA of 4.33 that went up to 4.78 in MVC games.
Indiana State thought they would be improved this season because they returned their ten leading hitters from 2011 but probably because they returned only one starting pitcher, they were predicted to finish anywhere from fifth (by the MVC coaches) to seventh (by Baseball America and Easton College Baseball) and only Perfect Game, who predicted they would finish in third, had them end up in the top half of the MVC standings. The Sycamores started the season off on the wrong foot by getting swept at Southeastern Louisiana, a bubble team that was left out of the NCAA tournament, before going 16-1 against the soft underbelly of their schedule and played only four teams who finished with RPI’s under 100 during that run – Missouri, Indiana and Notre Dame.
Indiana State’s schedule didn’t get much more difficult during the first part of their conference schedule as they started out 8-4 in MVC games against the lower level teams and they were sitting at 29-9 going into a home series with regional qualifier Dallas Baptist, who played series against each of the MVC teams this season. The Sycamores won that key series and won another series at home two weeks later against traditional MVC heavyweight Wichita State that pretty much cemented an at-large bid. The only series that Indiana State lost after the opening weekend was against Missouri State during the final weekend of the regular season after the Sycamores won the opening game against Nick Petree, snapping his 38 inning scoreless streak, to clinch their first conference title since 1985 and their first 40 win season since 1992. Indiana State was nervous on selection day after losing two straight games in the MVC tournament but the selection committee rewarded them for winning their conference with an at-large bid for their first regional appearance since 1995.
- Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 88 (decreases offense by 12%).
- Batting Average – .290 (NCAA ranking – 61, conference ranking 3). .257 in MVC games.
- Runs – 369 (34, 2), 6.4 per game. 4.9 per game in MVC games.
- Home Runs – 35 (63, 3). 8 in MVC games.
- Stolen Bases – 48-63 (170, 6). 12-16 in MVC games.
- Slugging Percentage – .402 (77, 3). .348 in MVC games.
- On Base Percentage – .376 (67, 2). .342 in MVC games.
- Walks – 197 (148, 6), 3.4 per game. 61, 3.0 per game in MVC games.
- HBP’s – 104 (4, 1). 36 in MVC games.
- Sac Bunts – 53 (68, 3). 23 in MVC games.
- Strikeouts – 343 (DNR, 7), 5.9 per game. 137 (6.5 per game) in MVC games.
Indiana State is an aggressive team at the plate with six players with over thirty strikeouts and only three players with over twenty walks. The Sycamores hit .307 and averaged over seven runs a game with 36 SB’s against their soft non-conference schedule but had trouble once they got into MVC play, when they hit only .257, ran much less and they were held to two runs or less eight times and were shutout in the opener of the conference tournament. One area that they do excel in, and it’s probably not a coincidence with former Fullerton 3B Ronnie Prettyman on the coaching staff, is getting hit by pitches and the Sycamores were fourth nationally with 104 HBP’s.
DH – FR #23 Landon Curry (LH – .320/.435/.365, 1-27-15) has done a solid job of getting on base and leads the MVC in HBP’s and is fourth in OBP and is third in runs. He is a good athlete who was starting in CF for most of the season and was in the top ten in the MVC in SB’s but only had one SB in conference games. Curry is a good bunter and was in the top ten in the MVC with ten SAC’s. He was honorable mention All-MVC.
LF – SR #3 Kyle Burnam (LH – .319/.399/.362, 1-32-2) is a scrappy little player who has started each of the last three seasons and was 2nd team All-MVC. He does a good job of making pitchers work and has a very good 24/20 BB/K ratio. Burnam is also a good bunter a tied Curry for second on the team with ten SAC’s.
C – JR #32 Jeremy Lucas (RH – .350/.445/.550, 9-52-5) is another three year starter and after being named 2nd team All-MVC the last two seasons, he was the MVP of the conference after finishing in the top ten in the MVC in AVG, R, H, HR, RBI, TB, SLG and OBP and leading the team in each of those categories. He has an outstanding 30/21 BB/K ratio for a power hitter in the middle of the lineup and was hit ten more times. Lucas is the best prospect among the position players and is projected to be drafted in the 8th-10th rounds.
RF – JR #19 Rob Ort (LH – .293/.350/.476, 7-53-6) has been a power bat in the middle of the lineup for three seasons and has been 1st team All-MVC the last two years. He finished in the top ten in HR, RBI, TB and 2B and led the conference with 22 RBI’s in MVC games. Ort will be aggressive looking for a pitch to drive and has a poor 14/38 BB/K ratio.
1B – SR #30 Jon Hedges (RH – .307/.355/.467, 7-42-0) struggled in 2011 and only hit .243 with a .183 AVG in MVC games but has been more consistent this season and ended up in the top ten in HR, H and TB. He only hit .250 in MVC games but was fourth in conference games in RBI. He has a poor 10/28 BB/K ratio and is a big man who doesn’t run well, leading the MVC with seven DP’s.
CF – SR #7 Lucas Hileman (LH – .242/.359/.323, 0-13-5) has good speed and moved into the lineup when Curry was moved to DH. He doesn’t have much power with only seven extra base hits in 124 AB’s and has a solid 19/25 BB/K ratio.
3B – SR #17 Ryan Walterhouse (RH – .256/.316/.413, 5-24-3) has some power with 9 HR’s over the last two seasons and is an aggressive hitter who has been hindered by a poor 16/57 BB/K ratio during that time. He hit only .209 in MVC games.
2B – JR #5 Koby Kraemer (RH – .265/.322/.365, 2-33-3) has some pop in his bat for a little guy with 15 extra base hits. He had one of the better averages on the team in 2011 when he hit .318 with 4 HR’s and 39 RBI but he has scuffled this season and only hit .231 in MVC games. Kraemer had a decent 18/28 BB/K ratio in 2011 but his plate discipline has gone in reverse with a 14/45 BB/K ratio. He is a good bunter and leads the team with 12 SAC’s.
SS – Soph #1 Tyler Wampler (RH – .257/.342/.312, 1-25-6) doesn’t have much power with only eight extra base hits and has struggled after hitting .306 as a FR. He has good speed and is a good bunter with eight SAC’s. Wampler was 2nd team All-MVC, primarily due to his defense.
Fielding .975 (30, 4) – 59 errors. Double Plays – 50 (63, 2). Hedges is a big man who does not move well at 1B, Kraemer and Wampler are very good up the middle, Walterhouse has been below average at 3B. Good defensive OF with Burnam, Hileman and Ort with Hileman and Ort having plus arms.
Stolen Base Attempts – 35-54 (DNR, 1). Indiana State had the fewest SB’s and attempts against them in the MVC because teams didn’t want to run on Curry.
WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 38 (DNR, 3). Curry does a solid of blocking pitches.
Indiana State had pitching issues in 2011 with a 4.33 ERA that went up to 4.78 in MVC games and they lost two of their weekend starters so pitching was a question mark going into the season. Two JC transfers solidified the weekend rotation and a FR gave them a very good midweek starter and what was a weak area in 2011 turned into a strength and the Sycamores ended up with one of the best pitching staffs in the MVC and held teams to three runs or less 37 times.
- ERA – 3.18 (NCAA ranking – 28, conference ranking – 2). 2.89 ERA in MVC games.
- AVG – .251 (DNR, 4). 8.4 H/9 IP is #42 nationally. .238 AVG in MVC games.
- Walks – 167 (DNR, 3). 2.8 BB/9 IP is #30 nationally. 3.1 BB/9 IP in MVC games.
- HBP – 48 (DNR, 4).
- WHIP – 1.25 (40, DNR)
- Strikeouts – 418 (DNR, 2). 7.0 K/9 IP is #90 nationally. 7.2 K/9 IP in MVC games.
- SLG – .356
- HR – 29 (DNR, 4). 10 HR allowed in MVC games.
FRI – JC transfer #31 Dakota Bacus (RHP – 7-4, 2.37 ERA, 15 GS, 3 CG, 2 SHO, 114 IP, 98 H, 28 BB, 89 K, .234 AVG, 6 HR, 7 HBP, 4 WP, 5-10 SB) came into the program with little fanfare, pitched his way into the lead SP position and ended up being the MVC newcomer of the year and 1st team All-MVC, leading the conference in IP and finishing in the top ten in ERA, W, K and AVG and going 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his conference starts. Bacus allowed three runs or less in eleven starts and has only allowed more than four runs in three starts, including a disappointing appearance against Evansville, whom he threw a shut out against with thirteen strikeouts to start MVC play, in the MVC tournament when he allowed 8 R (5 ER) on 11 H in 6 IP. His fastball has been sitting in the low 90’s and he has a good slider and changeup with good control of all three pitches. Bacus is projected to go in the 8th-10th rounds of the draft.
SAT – Soph #18 Sean Manaea (LHP – 5-2, 3.50 ERA, 16 GS, 98 IP, 87 H, 32 BB, 106 K, .246 AVG, 6 HR, 8 HBP, 3 WP, 2-8 SB) is the lone returning starter from 2011, the best prospect on the team and has been projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft in 2013. He has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 range with a slider and changeup but sometimes runs into control trouble because he has so much movement on his pitches. Manaea started the year slowly with a 5.96 ERA in his first five starts but threw much better after that with a 2.19 ERA in his next ten starts, including a 2.30 ERA in MVC games, before he also struggled in his start in the MVC tournament when he allowed 5 R on 9 H in 6 1/3 IP to last place Creighton, which helped to fuel their run through the MVC tournament to a surprise NCAA bid. He was among the top ten in the conference in IP and K and was second team All-MVC. Manaea is very difficult to run on and led the conference with five pickoffs.
SUN – JC transfer #22 Ryan Torgerson (RHP – 8-3, 3.03 ERA, 14 GS, 2 CG, 86 IP, 96 H, 14 BB, 51 K, .283 AVG, 4 HR, 7 HBP, 6 WP, 4-7 SB) also came into the program along with Bacus without much fanfare and worked his way into the Sun SP spot. He doesn’t throw as hard as the other two SP’s with a mid-upper 80’s fastball along with a breaking ball and his best pitch is his changeup but has the best control of their SP’s. Torgerson is a battler who allowed three runs or less in ten of his first eleven starts before allowing 6 R (3 ER) against Wichita State and 4 R in a CG against Southern Illinois before finishing the regular season by allowing 2 R on 9 H in 6 IP against regional team Missouri State. Because he is usually around the plate, he is a pitch to contact pitcher and he allowed at least eight hits in four of his last five starts.
Midweek SP – FR Kyle Rupe (RHP – 6-1, 2.63 ERA, 15 apps, 11 GS, 1 save, 62 IP, 62 H, 17 BB, 32 K, .262 AVG, 0 HR, 5 HBP, 2 WP, 8-10 SB) was expected to have a chance to be one of the weekend SP’s but because the two JC transfers did so well, he was moved into the midweek SP spot and did well, helping Indiana State to have a 10-2 record in midweek games. He would usually go about five-six innings and his best start was his last one against regional host and Big 10 champ Purdue, when he held the Boilermakers scoreless for 6 2/3 IP on two hits and two strikeouts. Rupe has an upper 80’s fastball and a decent changeup and his best pitch is his slider.
Indiana State returned three of their five leaders in appearances from 2011 and figured they would be able to have a deep bullpen. The Sycamores don’t have a shutdown closer and have relied on their depth with six relievers having 20+ appearances and will mix and match according to match-ups at the end of games.
SR #11 Reggie Hochstedler (LHP – 4-2, 3.26 ERA, 25 apps, 3 saves, 30 IP, 30 H, 10 BB, 27 K, .256 AVG, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 3-3 SB) is one of the relievers most likely to pitch late in games and led the team in appearances in 2011.
JC transfer #29 Devin Moore (RHP – 4-3, 3.77 ERA, 28 apps, 2 saves, 31 IP, 26 H, 13 BB, 31 K, .230 AVG, 2 HR, 4 HBP, 2 WP, 2-2 SB) leads the relief corps in apps and IP and is the hardest thrower.
SR #33 Brandon Dorsett (RHP – 2-0, 1.61 ERA, 26 apps, 1 save, 22 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 9 K, .266 AVG, 0 HR, 5 HBP, 4 WP, 3-3 SB) barely pitched in 2011 but has been the most effective middle reliever.
SR #20 Chris Machado (RHP – 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 20 apps, 3 saves, 15 IP, 14 H, 10 BB, 13 K, .255 AVG, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2-2 SB) hasn’t been used as much as some of the other relievers but has been called upon to pitch the ninth at times.
Soph #26 Kurt Kudrecki (RHP – 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 22 apps, 21 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 14 K, .205 AVG, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP, 2-2 SB)
FR #9 Tyler Pazik (LHP – 2-0, 2.33 ERA, 15 apps, 19 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 12 K, .175 AVG, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP, 0-1 SB)
Soph #34 Josh Negele (LHP – 0-0, 3.24 ERA, 11 apps, 8 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 K, .276 AVG, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 0 WP, 1-2 SB)
Indiana State had a great deal of momentum going throughout the season but they haven’t played well lastely, losing four straight games and five out of six while being shut out twice and were held to one run in three of those losses. If the Sycamores are going to have any success in this regional they are going to have to get more production from their offense.
Indiana State is an experienced team but hasn’t appeared in a regional in over fifteen years so they could have some jitters early in their opener with Fullerton. How they handle the pressure of playing in this type of environment will dictate if they are able to get off to a solid start against a Titans team that is used to playing in the post-season.
Fullerton is the better team although there isn’t much margin for error. If the Titans are on their game and play with poise, they should be able to advance to the winner’s bracket game on Saturday. Indiana State has the pitching depth to pitch their way through the loser’s bracket and they will probably be able to split their first two games and still be playing on Sunday.