Bears' Late Comeback Falls Short in 6-4 Loss to Tulane
Feb. 17, 2013
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Tulane cashed in a series of two-out scoring opportunities to build a four-run lead and withstood a ninth-inning comeback bid by the Missouri State Bears to come away with a 6-4 victory Sunday at the CenturyLink Bobcat Invitational. MSU mounted a two-out rally of its own to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the deciding inning, but Tulane reliever Brady Wilson came up with a bases-loaded strikeout to hand the Bears their first defeat of the 2013 season.
One day after being shut out by Texas State, the Green Wave (2-1) came through in clutch situations all afternoon, pounding out 14 hits and plating five of their six runs in two-out situations. Tulane's two-run eighth was highlighted by an RBI single off the bat of pinch hitter Tyler Oakley, as well as another two-out, run-producing hit to take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.
While Tulane clicked throughout the day, the Bears' offense couldn't capitalize on several critical scoring opportunities and left 13 runners on base. But Missouri State (2-1) -- which would leave the bases loaded in each of the final two frames -- came up with one final scoring chance. After Dylan Becker led-off with a walk and Luke Voit reached via a hit-by-pitch, the Bears got a two-out, two-run double from Koby Peebles to slice the deficit in half, followed by back-to-back walks to Spencer Johnson and Tate Matheny to load the bases. In his first collegiate at-bat, Tyler Harris worked the count full before swinging and missing at Wilson's payoff pitch, ending the Bears' quest to win their third game in as many days at Bobcat Ballpark.
Peebles clutch hit capped a 2-for-4 day in which the senior also scored a run and drew a base on balls, while Matheny posted the first two hits of his MSU career, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of walks.
After grabbing early leads in each of their first two games of the tournament, the Bears were the ones playing catch-up against the Green Wave. A Missouri State error and a Brandon Boudreaux base hit set up a first-inning Tulane rally against Bears' starter Tyler Thompson, who recovered momentarily to retire cleanup man Sean Potkay on a tap back to the mound for the second out. But after falling behind in the count at 1-2, Garrett Cannizaro lined Thompson's next offering off the wall in left to bring home both baserunners for a 2-0 Green Wave lead.
Tulane starter Kyle McKenzie (1-0) experienced few problems with the Bears early on, holding them hitless until a Voit single to left with one out in the fourth set off a string of four straight MSU hits. Peebles lined McKenzie's next pitch into left-center for a hit, and Conner Wilson bounced one through the right side to plate Voit with MSU's first run of the game. Next, Matheny struck a big blow with his first collegiate hit--a double down the right-field line to chase home Peebles and knot the score at 2-2. McKenzie avoided further damage by fanning Eric Cheray and getting Joey Hawkins on a fly ball to right, however.
The Green Wave offense went back to work in the bottom half of the fourth, as Richard Carthon's two-out triple sparked TU, which would reclaim the lead on Cameron Burns's base hit to right. TU would cash in once again with two out in the fifth to re-establish a two-run cushion. Potkay doubled with one out to get the ball rolling, moved to third on Cannizaro's fly to left, then trotted home on Andrew Garner's base hit to center in front of a diving Matheny. Tim Yandel followed with a double to right to give TU a pair of runners in scoring position, but Grant Gordon relieved Thompson and promptly fanned Carthon to end inning.
MSU put together a pair of prime scoring chances in the seventh and eighth innings, only to come up empty both times. With one out in the seventh, Dylan Becker reached on an error, and Travis McComack followed with a base hit to left. But TU reliever David Napoli coaxed a come-backer on his first offering to Keenen Maddox to get out of the jam and keep it a 4-2 game. The Bears generated an even bigger threat the next inning, as Peebles and Johnson drew one-out walks, and Matheny singled through the left side to load the bases. Garner, now on in relief of Napoli, found a way out of trouble, however, striking out Trey Massenberg on three pitches, then coaxing a fly to center from Conor Smith to end the inning.
TU produced a pair of big insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning, as Oakley delivered against freshman lefty Andy Cheray to plate Garner, and Briggs Barrios single to right with two out to cap the Green Wave scoring.
Barrios, Boudreaux, Potkay and Garner each enjoyed two-hit days for Tulane, while McKenzie earned the win after completing five innings and allowing two runs on four hits.
Thompson (0-1) suffered the setback for the Bears in his first MSU start, surrendering four runs (two earned) on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings.
The Bears return to action Friday (Feb. 22) when they open play at the Southern Miss Invitational in Hattiesburg, Miss., with a 1 p.m. game against Alcorn State.