McComack's Clutch Hit Completes Bears' Comeback Against Western Illinois
March 15, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Travis McComack's two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning and eight strong frames from Nick Petree proved to be the difference in the Missouri State Bears' 3-2 victory over Western Illinois Friday afternoon at Hammons Field. The Bears (12-4) overcame a 2-0 deficit by rallying for two runs in the sixth before plating the game-winner on McComack's line drive through the left side of the Leathernecks' infield.
Petree (3-0) gave the Bears time to mount their comeback by keeping the Leathernecks off the scoreboard in all but one of his eight innings. The junior fanned a season-high nine batters and scattered five hits while walking just one to earn his 22nd career victory as a Bear.
The game's defining moment came after WIU starter John White issued an intentional walk to MSU freshman Tate Matheny, who led the Bears with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. McComack lined White's 1-0 offering into left field to bring in Keenen Maddox--who singled with one out to start the rally--with the go-ahead run.
Petree would hold the lead through the eighth, working around a one-out single by Brent Turner to keep the MSU advantage intact. Tyler Burgess took over from there and closed out his second save of the season with a perfect ninth.
Facing a 2-0 deficit Missouri State battled its way back to tie the game in the sixth without hitting the ball out of the infield. Joey Hawkins got things started by beating out a chopper to second for an infield single, and Matheny lined a pitch off of White's foot for a hit to give the Bears runners at first and second with nobody out. McComack's sacrifice moved both baserunners up a station, and Luke Voit's bouncer to third appeared destined to score Hawkins from third and bring White within one out of escaping the inning with a lead in hand. But Jameson Henning's throw to first careened wide of the bag, allowing both runners to score and even the game at 2-2.
The Leathernecks gained their lead on a clutch two-out single by Turner in the fifth after both starters turned in dominant stretches over the first half of the contest. Petree allowed just two Henning hits--a two-out double in the first and a one-out single in the fourth--before WIU mounted its only scoring rally of the day, keyed by a Travis Stafford single and a walk to Zach Burling, that ended Petree's string of 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
White (0-3) was even more efficient in dispatching the Bears over the first five innings. The Leathernecks' right-hander faced the minimum through three innings and allowed just four baserunners through five innings. He got a lift from his defense as well, turning inning-ending double plays in the first and fourth innings to run MSU's scoreless streak to 10 consecutive innings dating back to Wednesday's 7-5 loss at Arkansas State.
Despite allowing just two earned runs on six hits over eight innings, White was tagged with the loss for Western Illinois, which dropped to 3-12 on the season.
Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, the Bears and Leathernecks will conclude their three-game series with a pair of nine-inning games Saturday (March 16) afternoon. Game one is set to begin at 1 p.m., with the second game to follow 40 minutes after its conclusion.