Schumacher, Bears Handle Abilene Christian, 12-0
Feb. 28, 2014
ABILENE, Texas - Missouri State recorded its best offensive showing of the season and Cody Schumacher turned in seven shutout innings to lift the Bears to a 12-0 victory over host Abilene Christian Friday at the Bourland-Ardoin Classic at Crutcher Scott Field.
Schumacher, who improved to 3-0 on the season, held the Wildcats to five hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight--a season high for a Bears pitcher. The senior also extended his personal scoreless streak to 16.1 consecutive innings dating back to opening day.
The Bears' offense began the three-game classic on a high note as well, racking up a season-high 12 runs on 12 hits and six walks. Tate Matheny scored three times, while four different MSU hitters registered 2-RBI days at the plate, including sophomore catcher Matt Fultz, who went 2-for-4 with his first home run as a Bear--a two-run shot in the fifth.
After struggling to string together hits in each of their last three games, the Bears broke out the bats early against the Wildcats Friday. Matheny set the tone, belting the first pitch of the game off the right-field wall for a triple, and No. 2 hitter Dylan Becker followed by coaxing a walk from ACU starter Garrett Demeyere after falling behind in the count 0-2. Eric Cheray put MSU on the board with a line drive through the right side of the infield for an RBI single, before a double steal and a throwing error by the ACU shortstop handed the Bears their second run of the night.
Next, Spencer Johnson brought in Cheray from third with a sacrifice fly, and Fultz kept the hit parade going with a base hit to center. Finally, with two out, Patrick Drake delivered his team-leading sixth double of the season to chase home Fultz for a 4-0 MSU advantage.
The Bears (7-2) kept the pressure on the in second, as a lead-off single by Joey Hawkins and a one-out double by Becker set the stage for Cheray's sac fly to left.
Given the early cushion, Schumacher went to work on the ACU lineup. The senior allowed a pair of baserunners in the first, as Seth Spivey singled to start the inning and Tyler Eager drew a two-out walk after Fultz gunned down the runner on a steal attempt and Schumacher fanned Aaron Draper for the first of his eight strikeouts on the night. Still with one on, Schumacher induced an inning-ending pop up to second that kicked off a string of 11 straight ACU hitters retired in a row by the right-hander.
Demeyere settled into a groove following the rough start as well, setting down 10 consecutive MSU hitters from the second through the fifth innings. With two out in the fifth, Johnson put an end to the streak with a long double off the center field wall, before Fultz followed with a towering drive that cleared the fence in left to stake the Bears to a 7-0 lead.
After Schumacher worked out of a seventh-inning, bases-loaded jam to end his night, the Bears broke the game wide open with five runs in the top of the eighth thanks to four walks handed out by ACU pitching. Becker's two-run single through the left side of the Wildcats' infield, and Tyler Harris's pinch single plated two more to highlight the inning.
Sam Perez took over for Schumacher in the eighth and, after allowing a lead-off single, promptly retired the next six ACU hitters--three via strikeouts--to wrap up the Bears' second shutout of the season.
In addition to big nights from Matheny and Fultz, Becker (2-for-4, 2 runs), Cheray (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Johnson (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) also enjoyed standout performances for MSU.
Spivey paced the ACU (5-2) attack with a 3-for-4 night, and Brandon Grudzielanek added two hits in three trips to the plate for the Wildcats. Demeyere (2-1) took the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits over five innings of work.
Up next, the Bears will take on Kansas State in a 7 p.m. game Saturday, then conclude their weekend stay in Abilene with an 11 a.m. game against Grand Canyon.