Petree, Merciez Blank SIU Edwardsville to Extend Bears' Win Streak
March 9, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Nick Petree and Zach Merciez teamed up to strike-out 13 SIU Edwardsville hitters while holding the Cougars to just two hits in a 3-0 shutout win for Missouri State Friday afternoon at Hammons Field. Petree claimed his third victory in as many starts, as the Bears pushed their win streak to a season-best six games.
Petree (3-1) was dominant throughout the afternoon, recording all eight of his strikeouts in the first four innings and holding the Cougars hitless through the first five frames. The sophomore right-hander gave up just a pair of infield hits in his six innings of work, before Merciez came on to set down nine of the 10 batters he faced--including five via strikeouts--to ice his second career save and the Bears' first shutout of the season.
With Petree and Merciez controlling the SIU Edwardsville offense, the Bears' offense was able to scratch out single tallies in the third, fifth and eighth innings to seal the outcome. Dylan Becker posted the first three-hit game of his MSU career to lead the way, adding a run scored and a stolen base, and fellow freshman Eric Cheray went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Missouri State (11-3) mounted an early scoring threat in the second, drawing a pair of walks from Cougars' starter Ryan Daniels and getting a base hit to right from Becker to load the bases with one out. But the SIUE right-hander got Trey Massenberg to pop-up to shortstop on a 3-1 pitch, then struck-out Cheray after a 10-pitch duel to end the inning.
The Bears would not be denied the following inning, however. Spiker Helms drew a lead-off walk, moved into scoring position on a balk and trotted home on a Brent Seifert double off the wall in left-center field to hand Petree a 1-0 lead. MSU struck again in the fifth, utilizing a one-out walk to Seifert and back-to-back singles by Luke Voit and Brock Chaffin to make it a two-run game.
MSU pushed its advantage to 3-0 in the eighth thanks to the tandem of Becker and Cheray. Becker singled to left to lead-off the inning, swiped second and scored on Cheray's two-out base hit to center.
The three-run cushion would be more than enough support for Merciez, who retired the final seven batters he faced to close out the victory.
Daniels (1-3) was tagged with the loss after surrendering two runs on seven hits over five innings.
The Bears and Cougars (7-6) conclude their three-game series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday (March 10) at Hammons Field.