New Mexico Stops Bears' Win Streak With 7-0 Shutout
Feb. 23, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Missouri State saw its three-game win streak come to an end Sunday, as New Mexico's Josh Walker blanked the Bears, 7-0 on the final day of the Lobo Invite. Chase Harris belted a three-run home run to snap a scoreless pitcher's duel in the fifth inning, and Walker took care of the rest, holding the Bears to just five hits in the complete-game effort.
Harris led the UNM charge both at the plate and in the field, finishing 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored in addition to throwing a runner out at the plate from right field. His second homer of the season came with one out in the fifth on an 0-1 pitch from MSU starter Clay Murphy after a hit batsman and a fielder's choice put a pair of Lobos on base.
The Lobos (4-3) tacked on three more in the seventh, thanks to Ryan Padilla's two-run double and Andre Vigil's RBI single with two out. Harris plated his fourth baserunner of the day with a sacrifice fly in the eighth after Kirby McGuire--the third UNM hit batsman of the game--reached to start the inning.
Held to just one run on seven hits in the two clubs' first meeting of the weekend Saturday, the Lobos put pressure on Murphy early, using back-to-back singles by Sam Haggerty and Harris with one out in the first to create a scoring opportunity. But Murphy got Alex Real to bounce to second, and Eric Cheray flipped to Hawkins, whose throw to Conor Smith at first completed the inning-ending double play.
The second inning presented another challenge for Murphy and the Bears, as a one-out fielding error and base hits by Padilla and Jered Meek loaded the bases with Lobos. But once again Murphy found a way out of trouble, this time inducing a pair of comebackers to keep UNM off the scoreboard.
Walker, on the other hand, had few issues in the early stages of the contest, as the senior right-hander retired the first nine Bears of the game in order. Aaron Meyer broke up the perfect game with a lead-off single in the fourth, moving to second on Becker's sacrifice. With two out, Cheary's line drive single appeared to give MSU a chance to score the first run of the day, but Harris's throw from right cut down Meyer at the plate to end the inning with the game still scoreless.
The key rally for UNM started with Murphy beaning Jared Holley with a pitch to lead off the fifth. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, Haggerty hit a one-hopper back to the mound, freezing Holley in between second and third. Murphy threw ahead of the runner, but Holley managed to beat Becker's throw to the second-base bag, giving the Lobos a pair of baserunners with one out. Harris, the next hitter, made the Bears pay, lofting a long home run over the left field wall to give Walker more than enough cushion to finish the victory.
In addition to Harris's big day, the Lobos received a lift from Padilla and Meek, who each recorded two-hit games.
Murphy (0-1) took the loss for MSU after allowing three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, while Jordan Knutson was touched up for three more runs on two hits in his inning and a third.
Missouri State (5-2) concludes its eight-game season-opening road swing Tuesday (Feb. 25) with a 3 p.m. game against Oral Roberts in Tulsa. The Bears open the home portion of the schedule Friday (Feb. 28) at Hammons Field with a 3:05 p.m. contest versus Purdue.