Helms, Bears Keep Rolling with 8-3 Victory over SFA
Feb. 24, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Missouri State Bears made the most their five hits, riding another standout performance from Spiker Helms and the pitching duo of Cody Schumacher and Clay Murphy to finish off a two-game sweep of Stephen F. Austin with an 8-3 victory Friday evening at the UTA Invitational. The Bears, who scored all eight runs with two outs, extended their win streak to four games
Helms, who went 5-for-5 in Friday's first game against SFA, delivered the biggest hit of the night--a two-out grand slam in the top of the sixth inning--to turn a 3-1 lead into a six-run cushion. The Bears' senior outfielder would add a double and score three times in the game to finish the day 7-for-9 at the plate.
On the mound, Schumacher picked up his first Missouri State victory, while Murphy shut down the Lumberjacks' offense with 2 2/3 perfect innings of relief.
After falling behind SFA 2-0 in the two clubs' first meeting of the day, the Bears (4-2) struck first in the nightcap, plating three runs on two hits in the top of the third against `Jacks starter Zack Taylor. Joey Hawkins initiated the scoring opportunity by drawing a lead-off walk, and Helms absorbed a 1-1 Taylor pitch in the back to put runners on first and second. Following a Kevin Medrano sacrifice and a Brent Seifert strikeout, Luke Voit delivered the inning's key hit, lining the first pitch he saw into centerfield to drive home both Hawkins and Helms. Koby Peebles capped the scoring with a soft liner into shallow left to stake Schumacher to a 3-0 lead.
SFA (1-5) responded in the bottom of the fourth, plating its first run of the game on Freddy Villalobos's two-out, RBI-single through the left side.
Schumacher avoided further damage in the inning, coaxing a ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Fola Lajide to end the rally. From there, the junior settled into a groove, setting down the next six Lumberjack hitters until Max Lamantia led-off the seventh with a double to left-center.
The Bears put the game on ice in the sixth, using a pair of walks and a hit batsman to set the stage for Helms's second home run of the season.
The `Jacks finally got to Schumacher for two runs on four hits in the inning, before Murphy came on in relief and needed only six pitches to snuff out the SFA rally with a pair of strikeouts.
MSU added a run in the top of the ninth, as a Seifert sacrifice fly drove home Helms to account for the final margin.
Schumacher (1-0) finished the night with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings, permitting three runs on seven hits. Murphy, who notched his first career save, struck out three in his third appearance of the season without allowing an earned run.
Voit also turned in a strong day, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the nightcap.
Villalobos led the SFA offense with a 2-for-4 game at the plate.
The Bears are back in action Saturday, when they take on host UTA at 3 p.m..