Seifert, Newcomers Power Bears to First Win of 2012
Feb. 18, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Just one day after being held to their lowest hit total in 12 years, the Missouri State Bears brought their bats out of hibernation to claim their first win of the 2012 campaign, a 10-8 victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park. Brent Seifert's two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning was the decisive blow, breaking a 7-7 tie and capping a 3-for-5 day for the senior third baseman.
The Bears, who were held to one hit in a 4-1 loss to Texas Tech on Friday, pounded out 10 hits and drew nine walks to claim victory in a back-and-forth game with the same Tennessee Tech team that won a 3-2 pitcher's duel in the two clubs' season opener.
Seifert led the MSU hit parade, scoring twice and driving in three runs, and turned in a pair of defensive gems at third as well. Freshman Joey Hawkins, also posted a strong all-around day while filling in at second base for senior All-America candidate Kevin Medrano, who missed his second straight game after sustaining a sprained finger on his throwing hand in the ninth inning of Friday's opener. Hawkins finished the day Saturday 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs scored, while helping the Bears play error-free baseball on the defensive side for the first time in 2012.
Another newcomer, junior transfer Koby Peebles, was also solid at the plate for MSU, reaching base four times in five plate appearances.
Missouri State was able to gain control late thanks to the relief work of a pair of freshmen, as Zach Merciez and Tyler Burgess combined to limit the Golden Eagles to one run on two hits over 4 2/3 innings. Merciez retired five of the first six batters he faced after taking over for starter Cody Schumacher in the fourth and allowed just one hit in 3 2/3 innings. He sat down seven straight before yielding the tying run in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Michael Morris.
Burgess (1-0) earned the victory in his first collegiate appearance, and Grant Gordon closed out the ninth with a pair of strikeouts after allowing a meaningless run on one hit and a walk.
Missouri State fell behind early for the third straight game, as Tech jumped on Schumacher for two runs on four hits in the opening frame. Zach Stephens's single through the left side with one out plated Austin Wulf and Chad Hayes to put the Golden Eagles in front 2-0.
The Bears cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a touch of wildness from Tennessee Tech starting pitcher David Hess. Spiker Helms drew a lead-off walk, advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt and moved to third on a wild pitch before Seifert brought him home with a grounder to short.
Schumacher retired the first two hitters he faced in the second, but Wulf blasted a 1-2 pitch over the wall in rightfield to push the margin back to two runs.
The Bears responded with three runs in the bottom half to take their first lead of the season, thanks in large part to a critical defensive miscue by the Golden Eagles. After Hawkins singled up the middle to lead-off the inning, Eric Cheray hit what appeared to be a routine double-play ball to shortstop, but Hayes couldn't handle it. MSU immediately took advantage of the new life, knotting the score at 3-3 on Trey Massenberg's two-run triple to left. Helms narrowly missed beating out a slow roller to second, but did manage to drive in Massenberg with the go-ahead run.
MSU's lead lasted one inning before Tennessee Tech vaulted back on top courtesy of a three-run triple from Hayes that ended Schumacher's debut as a Bear after 3 1/3 innings.
Once again the Bears answered, getting a two-out double by Seifert--his second of the day--and a two-run homer by Luke Voit to pull even at 6-6. MSU would reclaim the lead in the fifth on Helms's two-out double to right that chased Hawkins home.
Garrett Baugh (0-1) suffered the loss for the Golden Eagles after yielding Seifert's mammoth shot to left with one out in the eight following a lead-off walk to Helms. Wulf led Tech's offense, going 3-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and an RBI, and Hayes contributed three hits as well.
Missouri State (1-2) will wrap up play at the Red Raider Classic with a 2 p.m., game Sunday versus Texas Tech.