Schumacher, Bears Finish Three-Game Sweep of Northwestern State
March 4, 2012
NATCHITOCHES, La. - Missouri State got seven shutout innings from junior Cody Schumacher and a seven-run seventh inning to complete a three-game sweep of Northwestern State with a 9-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Brown-Stroud Field. Spiker Helms and Brent Seifert both homered and drove in three runs to help the Bears (9-3) run their win streak to four games and post their best start to a season since 1999.
Schumacher (2-0) continued a familiar storyline for Missouri State pitchers, allowing just five hits while striking-out two Demons (2-9) to give Missouri State its fourth quality start of the week. Over their current win streak, MSU pitchers have combined to allow just four earned runs while holding the opposition to a mere .215 batting average over 36.0 innings.
With Schumacher holding the Demons in check throughout the afternoon, the Bears pounded out 11 hits against six NSU pitchers to notch their sixth-straight double-digit hit total. Seifert capped a big week at the plate by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Helms also recorded two hits and a walk while scoring twice in five trips to the plate. Freshmen Dylan Becker and Eric Cheray enjoyed two hit games, and Keenen Maddox drove in a pair of runs.
The Bears staked Schumacher to an early 2-0 lead, scoring on a Maddox sacrifice fly in the second, and Helms's third home run of the season in the third.
Schumacher took control early in the contest, setting down the first six Demon hitters of the game before Kevin Sanford led-off the bottom of the third with a base hit. A wild pitch and a Ray Frias single set up Northwestern State's first scoring opportunity, putting runners at the corners with just one out. But Schumacher coaxed a one-hopper to first off the bat of Will Watson, and Brock Chaffin fired home to get Sanford and complete a 3-2 double play that ended the inning. The junior right-hander got lifts from his defense again over the next two frames, as catcher Luke Voit gunned down a pair of would-be base-stealers, and Cheray, Kevin Medrano and Chaffin teamed up on an inning-ending double play in the fifth.
The Bears kicked their offense into gear once again in the seventh, scoring seven times on five hits to eliminate any doubts about the final outcome. Becker walked to start the inning and came around on Maddox's double down the left field line. Trey Massenberg dropped in a bunt single to put runners on the corners, and Cheray drove in Maddox with a base hit to center to make it a 4-0 game. Following a pitching change, Helms doubled home both Massenberg and Cheray before Seifert dealt NSU a deflating blow, mashing an Austin Robson offering over the wall in left for a three-run homer.
Schumacher finished his day with an easy 1-2-3 bottom half of the seventh, before freshman Zach Merciez took over in the eighth, when the Demons broke up the shutout bid on Shaun Hoover RBI ground out. Junior Erik Shannahan closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth.
With their season-opening road swing complete, the Bears return to Hammons Field to open the 2012 home slate with a 3 p.m., contest against Oklahoma State Tuesday (March 6) afternoon.