Sycamores sweep UIC, notch 21st win, lead MVC

Mar. 31—Indiana State baseball is back in a familiar spot — first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The defending MVC champion Sycamores completed a sweep of visiting Illinois-Chicago with a 4-1 victory on Sunday at Bob Warn Field. It was ISU's 21st victory of the season for coach Mitch Hannahs' team.

ISU stands 5-1 in the MVC, ahead of Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Belmont, all tied at 4-2.

In Sunday's win, Mike Sears homered twice and Dominic Krupinski also went deep in support of Luke Hayden's strong start on the mound as Indiana State.

Sears connected on the go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the second inning and followed Parker Stinson's leadoff triple with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to cap his fifth collegiate multi-homer effort, the ISU sports information office reported.

Krupinski added a solo home run over the right center wall to provide Hayden (3-1) all the offensive support he'd need as Indiana State (21-5, 5-1) secured its first MVC sweep of the 2024 season.

Hayden went a season-best 6.2 innings allowing two hits and a run while striking out eight in his seventh start of the 2024 season. The junior right-hander retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and didn't allow a hit until Kendall Ewell's RBI single in the top of the fourth inning in shutting down the high-powered UIC (16-10, 2-4) offense. Hayden finished the day retiring eight of the final 10 batters he faced before turning the ball over to Zach Davidson in the seventh inning.

Davidson allowed one hit over 1.1 innings and recorded three strikeouts in the relief stint, before Cam Edmonson entered and shut down the UIC rally in the top of the ninth getting Zane Zielinski to fly out to Adam Pottinger in center field for the final out. Edmonson got his first save.

Dominic Listi and Sears both had two hits apiece on Sunday afternoon as the Sycamores connected on eight overall on the day. Stinson added his second triple of the season, while Grant Magill and Josue Urdaneta also posted singles on the day.

AJ Henkle, Ewell, and Pambos Nicoloudes collected UIC's three singles on the afternoon as the Sycamores' pitching staff limited the UIC offense to hitting just .209 from the plate over the three-game weekend series.

Kendall Lyons (2-2) took the loss on the mound for the Flames allowing eight hits and four runs while striking out five over 6.0 innings. Ryan Smith went the final two frames in relief striking out three.

ISU is back on the road this week as the Sycamores make the return trip to Bloomington for a Tuesday night clash against Indiana. First pitch at Bart Kaufman Field is set for 6 p.m.