Bears Rally in Ninth to Topple ORU, 5-3
March 16, 2012
TULSA, Okla. - After being held to one run over the first 17 innings of their series with Oral Roberts, the Missouri State Bears erupted for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to claim a 5-3 victory over the Golden Eagles Friday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium. Luke Voit's three-run double highlighted the key rally, as MSU (13-6) erased a two-run deficit to defeat ORU (9-8) for the ninth time in the two clubs' last 10 meetings.
The Bears, who were shut-out for the first time in 81 games in Thursday's series opener, broke out of a recent offensive slump with a 13-hit afternoon. Derek Mattea led the Bears' hit parade with a 3-for-4 day, while the top four hitters in the Bears' lineup combined to go 8-for-19 with four RBIs and four runs scored.
Missouri State's late rally started with a Mattea base hit to left-center off ORU closer Matt Rush to lead-off the ninth. After a fielder's choice ground ball from Trey Massenberg, Dylan Becker delivered a single to right, and Kevin Medrano lined a double in front of a diving Brandon King in left to chase home Massenberg with the Bears' second run of the game. Next, Rush handed out an intentional pass to Spiker Helms to load the bases, and Voit cleared them by lacing an 0-1 pitch just inside the third base line to hand the Bears their first lead in the series.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Burgess made the lead stand to pick up his fourth save of the season, but not without some drama. After quickly retiring the first two hitters in the bottom of the ninth, Burgess issued a pair of walks to allow the Golden Eagles to bring the winning run to the plate. Nate Goro jumped on a 2-2 pitch and lined it to deep left-center field, but Helms tracked it down to record the final out.
MSU's late-inning heroics made a winner of junior right-hander Grant Gordon (2-0), who relieved starting pitcher Cody Schumacher in the sixth and kept the Bears in the game with three scoreless innings.
The ninth-inning turn of events came after the Golden Eagles led throughout the day, thanks in large part to some clutch two-out hitting for the second-straight game. Cam Schiller broke up a scoreless duel with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the third off Schumacher.
The Bears scratched out a two-out run of their own in the fourth to end a 14-inning scoreless drought. Voit got the ball rolling with a lead-off single to left-center, and Brent Seifert and Eric Cheray drew one-out walks to load the bases. ORU starter Kurt Giller got out number two when Mattea took a called third strike, but Keenen Maddox lined a ball into right to drive in Voit with the Bears' first run of the series. Giller and the Golden Eagles maintained the lead, however, as Seifert was gunned down at the plate for the final out of the frame.
The Golden Eagles came up big in the clutch once again in the bottom half of the inning to reclaim their two-run advantage. King led-off with his second single of the afternoon and, after Schumacher retired the next two hitters, Jake O'Brien kept the inning alive with an infield single. Bennett Pickar then came through with a base hit to bring in King with ORU's third run of the game.
Giller was strong through six innings for ORU, finishing with 10 strikeouts while scattering eight hits. Pickar carried the offensive load for the Golden Eagles, going 4-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
In addition to Mattea's big day at the plate, Becker, Medrano, Helms and Voit all finished with two-hit games to help the Bears win for the seventh time in nine road outings this season.
Up next, the series shifts to Hammons Field for the final two games, beginning with game three Saturday at 2 p.m., and concluding with Sunday's 1 p.m. tilt.