Bears Come From Behind to Topple Texas Tech for Second Straight Victory
Feb. 19, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas -- After a slow start to the weekend, the Missouri State Bears closed out their stay at the Red Raider Classic in style with a 4-2 win over host Texas Tech Sunday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park. The Bears (2-2) posted their second straight victory in come-from-behind fashion, scoring twice with two out in the top of the eighth inning, as freshman reliever Tyler Burgess shut down the Red Raider offense for his second victory in as many days.
Burgess (2-0) turned in three perfect innings in support of starter Clay Murphy, who enjoyed a standout performance in his own right Sunday. While Burgess recorded nine outs despite facing just eight batters, Murphy limited Tech to two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out five Red Raiders.
After falling behind 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Missouri State answered quickly as a Keenen Maddox base hit to left, followed by a John Neely balk kicked off the Bears' key rally. Pinch hitter Dylan Becker moved pinch runner Trey Massenberg to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Spiker Helms drew a walk before Neely struck-out Joey Hawkins for out number two.
The Tech closer couldn't finish off the Bears, however, hitting Brent Seifert with a 2-1 pitch, then walking Luke Voit to force home the tying run. After Andre Wheeler replaced Neely, Koby Peebles bounced a slow roller up the third base line that the Tech pitcher fielded cleanly, but fired low to first, allowing Helms to come home with the deciding run.
Helms gave Burgess and the Bears some breathing room in the ninth, delivering a two-out RBI double off the leftfield wall to stretch the margin to two runs. The Bears' senior paced the MSU offense by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs.
Burgess wouldn't need the added insurance, closing out his second win in as many collegiate appearances with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The dramatic ending came on the heels of a quick start to the contest. After being held to one hit in their first meeting with Texas Tech, it took the Bears just one pitch to equal their offensive output from Friday's game. Leadoff man Helms belted the first pitch he saw from Red Raider starting pitcher Daniel Coulombe over the leftfield wall to stake the Bears to an early 1-0 lead.
The Red Raiders (3-1) tallied the equalizer in their half of the first, capitalizing on a two-out defensive miscue. Murphy issued a leadoff walk to Jamodrick McGruder, and Barrett Barnes followed with a ground ball through the left side to put runners on first and second. Murphy appeared to work his way out of trouble, getting a 4-6-3 double play, then coaxing a grounder to second off the bat of Scott LeJeune. But Helms's throw was low to first, allowing McGruder to trot home with the tying run.
Both hurlers settled in to keep it a 1-1 game through...After the leadoff homer, Coulombe retired 15 of the next 16 MSU hitters, including 10 straight at one point. Murphy did his part for the Bears as well, holding the Red Raiders without another hit until Barnes beat out an infield hit with two out in the fifth. The Bears' junior pitcher did run into trouble in the third when he beaned back-to-back hitters, but the right-hander avoided any damage by rolling another double-play ball, this time to No. 3 hitter Reid Redman. After loading the bases in the fifth, Murphy got out of a bases-loaded jam by retiring Redman on another grounder to short.
Missouri State put together its best scoring opportunity of the afternoon in the top of the sixth, as Patrick Drake delivered his first hit of the season to lead off the frame, and Joey Hawkins drew a one-out walk that ended Coulombe's day. Tech countered by bringing in All-America stopper John Neely, who promptly ended the threat with a fly ball and a strikeout.
Texas Tech mounted its go-ahead rally with the help of Helms's second fielding error of the day and a pair of bunt singles. Barnes then came through with his third hit of the game to put the Red Raiders on top, lining Murphy's first offering into left to drive in pinch hitter Matt Eureste for a 2-1 Tech lead.
The Bears avoided further damage in the inning, as Burgess entered for Murphy and retired Redman on a one-hopper to third, before LeJeune lined into an inning-ending double-play.
The Bears will return to the field Friday (Feb. 24) when they open play at the UT Arlington Invitational with a day-night doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin. Game one is slated for an 11 a.m., first pitch, with the night cap to follow at 6 p.m., at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.