TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State hits the road this weekend as the Sycamores continue to make history this postseason heading to the first Super Regional in program history. The No. 14-seed Sycamores will make the trek to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU in the Fort Worth Super Regional held over the June 9-11 weekend.
Friday’s game time is set for 5 p.m. ET, while Saturday’s contest will be at 6 p.m. The best-of-three series will conclude on Sunday, if necessary, with the game time still to be determined. Friday and Saturday’s games will both be carried live on ESPNU, while “Voice of the Sycamores” John Sherman will call the action on 105.5 The Legend.
Indiana State makes their first appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals since the NCAA made the postseason change back in 1999. The 2023 Sycamores become just the seventh program in Missouri Valley history to advance to the Supers round and first since Dallas Baptist took on Virginia in the Columbia Super Regional back in 2021.
The nationally-seed Sycamores will remain the home team in both the first and potential third games on the weekend held at Lupton Stadium. ISU will be the visiting team in Saturday’s second game due to the NCAA tournament postseason play rules.
Indiana State continues to remain one of the hottest teams in the nation winning 37 of their last 41 games dating back to late March. ISU has not lost a non-conference competition dating back to March 21 including taking all three games in the regional this past weekend.
The Sycamores swept their way through the Terre Haute Regional this past weekend at Bob Warn Field. ISU topped Wright State and Iowa (twice) on their way to continuing their historic season on the field that included winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament, as well as the second regional win in program history.
The Sycamores rallied back against Wright State in the opener and used a five-run eighth-inning to top Iowa in the winner’s bracket championship. In Sunday’s regional finale, Keegan Watson connected on the game-clinching three-run home run, while Simon Gregersen surrendered just one hit over the final 3.1 innings to close out the ISU 11-8 victory over the Hawkeyes.
ISU hosting the Terre Haute Regional marked just the fourth time a Missouri Valley Conference program was selected to host a regional in its current format and first since 2015. ISU joined Dallas Baptist (2015), Missouri State (2015), and Wichita State (2002 & 2007) as the lone regional hosts in the MVC since 2000. Only Wichita State (2007) and Missouri State (2015) advanced to the Super Regional round after hosting. Ironically, the Missouri Valley Conference has already seen a team advance to a Super Regional in Fort Worth with Missouri State traveling to TCU back in 2017.
The Sycamores entered the postseason ranked in all six major national collegiate baseball polls for the first time in the 2023 season. Indiana State ranks as high as No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball News poll, while also sitting No. 18 in Perfect Game, No. 20 in USA Today, No. 23 in NCBWA, No. 23 in D1Baseball, and No. 25 in Baseball America.
The Sycamores’ ranking follows up a strong regular season that featured ISU sitting among the leaders in the NCAA RPI Rankings in four of the last five weeks. ISU enters the postseason sitting No. 9 overall in the RPI following a year that saw the Sycamores sit fifth overall in non-conference strength of schedule and 43rd in total strength of schedule this season.
The Sycamores have not lost a non-conference game since March 21 with wins over NCAA Tournament participants Vanderbilt, Indiana, and Ball State over the stretch. The 37-4 record included a 22-2 mark at Bob Warn Field following the Terre Haute Regional.
Over the 41-game stretch, the Sycamore offense hit .293 from the plate with 54 home runs, 142 extra-base hits, and a .473 slugging percentage. Nine ISU players hit .280 or better from the plate over the 41-game stretch with five hitting above .300. Adam Pottinger (.341), Randal Diaz (.327), Keegan Watson (.315), Luis Hernandez (.308), and Josue Urdaneta (.304) were all above the line to wrap up the season, while Mike Sears hit .276 from the plate with a team-high 15 home runs and 47 RBI over the stretch.
The Sycamore pitchers nearly matched the offense over the stretch with ISU boasting a 2.73 team ERA including six complete games and seven shutouts. ISU’s staff posted a 336:97 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing opponents to hit just .223 from the plate. Connor Fenlong (10-0, 2.26 ERA) and Lane Miller (7-0, 2.77) are both undefeated during the run, while Zach Davidson (2-0, 0.42 ERA, 11 appearances) and Cam Edmonson (3-0, 1.80 ERA), 12 appearances headline a bullpen that has been dominant down the stretch.
Indiana State enters the NCAA Tournament sitting in the 10 in six different team statistical categories. ISU is third in fielding percentage (0.983), third in WHIP (1.23), fourth in ERA (3.83), fifth in shutouts (7), fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (3.09), and sixth in hit by pitch (125). Additionally, ISU is 13th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.00), 14th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.79), and 15th in double plays turned (51).
Indiana State secured the Missouri Valley Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament following a dominant display at the conference tournament this past week in Terre Haute. The Sycamores outscored their opponents 39-12 over five games and the pitching staff combined to put together two shutouts in ISU’s eighth MVC Tournament in program history.
Randal Diaz was named the 2023 MVC Baseball Championships Most Outstanding Player headlining five ISU players honored on the conference’s postseason All-Tournament team. Grant Magill (catcher), Luis Hernandez (designated hitter), Adam Pottinger (outfielder), and Connor Fenlong (pitcher) were also recognized on the MVC postseason squad.
The Sycamores’ tournament win followed up a historic regular season for ISU as the team set new program records for MVC wins (24) and conference series wins (nine). Indiana State’s six-game margin in winning conference’s regular season title was the largest in the MVC since 1998. Indiana State’s 42 wins entering the NCAA marks ISU’s 12th 40-win season in program history and first since 2019.
Eleven Indiana State players were named to the 2023 MVC postseason baseball teams including five on the conference’s First Team. Fenlong (Pitcher of the Year), Magill (Defensive Player of the Year), and Head Coach Mitch Hannahs (Coach of the Year) were honored with three of the conference’s major awards.
Diaz (SS), Magill (C), Matt Jachec (SP), Fenlong (SP), and Jared Spencer (RP) were honored on the MVC First Team, while Pottinger (OF), Lane Miller (SP), and Cameron Holycross (RP) were on the Second Team. Josue Urdaneta (2B) and Mike Sears (3B) earned All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Four Sycamores were also honored on the MVC All-Defensive team with Urdaneta, Sears, Seth Gergely (OF), and Magill all voted to the team.
The Sycamores continued to get it done in the classroom as well with Lane Miller being named the conference’s Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Matt Jachec joined Miller on the First Team. Miller boasted a 3.93 GPA while pursuing a degree in communication, while Jachec held a 3.52 ERA while working on his sport management degree.
Watson enters the Super Regional as Indiana State’s overall leading hitter on the season with a .309 batting average. The redshirt senior has posted 20 extra-base hits on the year including six home runs and 28 RBI, while adding 32 runs scored.
Pottinger is hitting .306 on the season to also sit among ISU’s leaders on the year and enters the Super Regional on 36 game on-base streak (Mitch Hannahs era record) dating back to April 2. The junior outfielder leads the team with 50 runs scored, while adding 55 hits and 11 home runs.
Mike Sears is team’s leader with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs on the year, while five different Sycamores have scored at least 40 runs on the season. Diaz is the team’s leader with 71 hits, while Urdaneta (66) and Hernandez (64) are also over the 60-hit mark on the season.
Indiana State’s weekend rotation has set the tone for the Sycamores this year as the trio of Jachec, Fenlong, and Miller combining for a 24-5 overall record and a 3.45 ERA on the mound. Jachec has been the team’s Friday night starter with a 7-3 mark on the mound with a team-best 97:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Fenlong (11-2, 3.33 ERA) has hurled four complete game shutouts over last seven starts on the mound. Miller is a perfect 7-0 over his 11 starts on the season with a 2.77 ERA and .219 opponent batting average.
Cameron Holycross (4-1, 1.98 ERA) and Zach Davidson (4-1, 2.60 ERA) have been among the many dominant arms out of the bullpen for the Sycamores as eight Indiana State pitchers boast sub-4.00 ERAs in 2023. ISU has combined for a 3.83 ERA on the year with a 519:186 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while allowing opponents to hit .240 from the plate.
The Sycamores boast one of the nation’s top defenses in the NCAA with a .983 fielding percentage in 2023. Two players boast perfect 1.000 percentages with at least 100 chances, while four more players are fielding at a .990 clip or better on the year.
Scouting the Opposition
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU enters the Super Regional with a 40-22 record following their sweep in the Fayetteville Regional this past weekend hosted by the University of Arkansas. The Horned Frogs defeated Arizona (12-4) and the No. 3 National Arkansas twice (20-5 and 12-4). The Horned Frogs head into the Super Regional riding a nine-game winning streak and are winners of 17 of their last 19 games.
TCU advances after winning the second road Regional in program history and first since 2012 after coming out of the loser’s bracket to win the College Station Regional. The Horned Frogs will be playing in their eighth NCAA Super Regional and first since 2017 following their Regional win.
Eight TCU players earned All-Big 12 recognition this season headlined by First Teamer Brayden Taylor, while Anthony Silva and Garrett Wright were both honored on the conference’s second team. Karson Bowen, Cole Fontenelle, Kole Klecker and Louis Rodriguez. Ben Abeldt joined Bowen, Klecker and Silva on the Big 12 All-Freshman squad. TCU’s four representatives on the All-Freshman team were the most in the league.
TCU advanced to the NCAA postseason after locking up the Big 12’s automatic berth following a perfect run through the conference tournament. The Horned Frogs were led by tournament MVP Brayden Taylor, while five players were named to the All-Tournament team overall as TCU topped Kansas State (twice), Kansas, and Oklahoma State over the tournament.
TCU’s bats have been a major story this postseason with the Horned Frogs scoring double-digit runs in six of their seven postseason games including scoring 32 runs over their final two games against Arkansas (20-5 & 12-4 wins).
Karson Bowen (.363) leads six TCU batters hitting over .300 on the season as the Horned Frogs are hitting .302 overall from the plate on the year. Brayden Taylor remains the team’s primary power threat with a team-high 23 home runs and 69 RBI, while Cole Fontenelle has connected on 32 extra-base hits including 19 doubles and 11 homers while hitting .335 from the plate.
Seventeen different TCU pitchers have combined for a 4.80 ERA in the 2023 season. TCU’s staff has featured five pitchers who have made at least eight starts in the 2023 season including staff ace Kole Klecker (9-4, 4.18 ERA). Other potential starters based on the Regional stats include Sam Stoutenborough (4-0, 4.48 ERA) and Cam Brown (3-2, 5.50 ERA), while Braeden Sloan (2-3, 6.63 ERA) and Ryan Vanderhei (4-3, 6.75) have also been among the team’s regular starters this season. Overall, the TCU staff has posted a 528:251 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing opponents to hit .245 from the plate.
Indiana State and TCU have lined up against one common opponent so far in the 2023 season. The Sycamores topped then No. 4 Vanderbilt back on April 18, 10-2. TCU also picked up a win over Vanderbilt in the 2023 season opener with an 11-4 victory over the Commodores.
Indiana State – TCU History
Indiana State and TCU have never taken the field with each other in their respective program histories.
The Sycamores have taken on three current members of the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament. ISU fell to Oklahoma back in 1979 in the Midwestern Regional, 9-2. ISU fell to Oklahoma State in an elimination game in the 1986 College World Series. The Sycamores final matchups against Big 12 schools came in the 1995 season in the Midwest II Regional as ISU fell to both Oklahoma (9-6) and Texas (3-2) in Oklahoma City.