ORU Blanks Bears in Series Opener, 1-0
March 15, 2012
TULSA, Okla. - Pierce Johnson matched a career high with 12 strikeouts while holding Oral Roberts to four hits in a complete-game effort, but Missouri State couldn't overcome his counterpart in a 1-0 setback to open its four-game series with the Golden Eagles at J.L. Johnson Stadium Thursday evening. ORU's Drew Bowen turned in a six-hit, complete-game shutout, as Nate Goro's two-out, RBI single in the fourth inning accounted for the only tally of the game.
Bowen, who improved to 3-1 on the season, fanned five Bears and walked just one while holding MSU without an extra-base hit. The blanking marked the first time the Bears had been shutout since an 8-0 loss at Wichita State on May 15, 2010, a span of 81 games.
Pitching was the name of the game early on, as Johnson and Bowen combined to shut down the other side's order through the first three innings. Bowen gave up just a second-inning single by Luke Voit, while Johnson fanned five hitters and surrendered just one hit as well. ORU was the first to break the scoring seal, capitalizing on a lead-off hit by Kevin Cho and a walk to Cam Schiller. Johnson nearly worked out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts of Jared Schlehuber and Brandon King, but Goro lined an 0-2 pitch into right-center for a run-scoring single and a 1-0 ORU lead.
Bowen would make the lead stand, retiring 11 straight hitters after a Trey Massenberg lead-off walk in the third until a one-out Brock Chaffin single in the seventh. The Bears would mount their first serious scoring threat in the eighth, getting an Eric Cheray one-out single and a balk to put the tying run in scoring position with one out.
But Bowen needed just four pitches to work out of the situation, throwing three-straight strikes past Dylan Becker, before retiring Kevin Medrano on a ground ball that appeared to be ticketed for right-center field. Schiller, however, made a diving grab at deep second and fired to first just in time to beat Medrano to the bag.
MSU would threaten again in the ninth when Chaffin and Voit delivered back-to-back singles with two out to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
Bowen finished the job against Koby Peebles, coaxing a long fly to the edge of the warning track in left to end the game.
Johnson (1-3) suffered his second-straight loss after giving up the one run on four hits and three walks. His 12-strikeout performance marked his third-consecutive start of at least 10 punchouts--the first such streak on record for a Missouri State pitcher since at least the 1997 season.
Chaffin and Voit led the MSU attack with two hits apiece.
The Bears (12-6) and Golden Eagles (9-7) will play again Friday at 3 p.m. in Tulsa, before wrapping up the series with two games at Hammons Field, Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).