Bears Rout New Mexico to Earn Doubleheader Split
March 19, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Missouri State scored seven times over a two-inning span to run away with an 8-2 game two victory over New Mexico to split a doubleheader with the Lobos Tuesday evening at Isotopes Park.
After dropping a 6-5 decision in 11 innings in the opener, the Bears (14-6) pounded out 11 hits while three MSU pitchers held UNM's potent offense to just two runs on nine hits in the nightcap.
Koby Peebles reached base in each of his final four plate appearances to finish with a career-high three hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while Eric Cheray and Travis McComack drove in two runs apiece to lead the Bears in the game two victory.
On the mound, Matt Hall (1-0) earned his first victory as a Bear, striking out five while scattering four hits and allowing just one run.
After watching a pair of leads slip away in Tuesday's first game, the Bears scored seven times in the fourth and fifth innings to break the second game wide open. With the game tied at 1-1, Peebles ignited a three-run Bears rally in the fourth with the first of his three straight hits. After Trey Massenberg's one-out single off UNM starter Drew Bridges (0-1) moved Peebles into scoring position, McComack put the Bears in front for good with a run-scoring base hit through the right side of the Lobos infield. An errant throw by Bridges on a pickoff attempt at first brought Massenberg home, and Cheray capped the scoring with an RBI single to left.
The Bears kept the pressure on in the fifth, ultimately scoring four more runs on four hits and three walks while sending 10 batters to the plate to stretch their lead to 8-1. Conor Smith got the ball rolling with a one-out triple into the gap in right-center field and scored moments later on the first of two UNM wild pitches in the inning. Peebles and Keenen Maddox delivered back-to-back singles before Patrick Drake drew a walk to load the bases. Next, McComack drew a walk to force home a run, and Cheray followed with his second straight run-scoring hit to make it a 7-1 game. Finally, Joey Hawkins plated one more tally on a fielder's choice that brought home Drake with MSU's fourth run of the inning.
After giving up a 1-0 lead when Chase Harris tripled and scored to start the first, Hall held the Lobos in check over the remainder of his outing. The freshman left-hander worked out of a two-on, nobody out jam in the second by coaxing a 6-4-3 double-play ball off the bat of Josh Melendez, then stranded UNM baserunners in the fourth and fifth frames to preserve the Bears' advantage.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak--the Bears' longest of the season--following a 6-5 setback in the first game of the day. Mitch Garver's one-out single to left in the bottom of the 11th inning drove home the game winning run in the opener, capping a 3-for-4 effort for the Lobos senior All-America candidate. Luke Campbell, who recorded two hits in six trips to the plate, started the deciding rally for UNM with a lead-off single before stealing second to set up Garver's key hit off MSU reliever Grant Gordon (1-1).
Missouri State built leads of 3-0 and 5-3, only to watch the home team rally back to even the score each time. Tate Matheny set the tone for the Bears on the very first pitch of the afternoon, jumping on an Alex Estrella offering and lining a double over the head of right-fielder Chase Harris. A Luke Voit grounder moved Matheny to third base with two out, before Estrella uncorked a wild pitch to bring in the MSU centerfielder with the first run of the game.
The Bears took advantage of a lead-off walk to Drake, a fielding error and another run-scoring wild pitch to stretch their advantage to 3-0 in the third inning. After a Hawkins sacrifice moved Drake into scoring position with one out, Matheny's hot shot to short was mishandled to set up MSU's scoring rally. McComack made the Lobos pay, driving an RBI single into left-center to chase home Drake, before two more Estrella wild pitches brought in Matheny with another two-out tally for a three-run Bears lead. MSU starter Andy Cheray had little trouble with the usually-potent Lobo offense over the first four innings. The left-hander yielded just two walks through four innings and held UNM without a hit until Garver's one-out single kicked off the Lobos' three-run rally in the fifth. Cheray compounded the situation by issuing a walk to Melendez then beaning three of the next four hitters to allow the hosts to even the score at 3-3.
Reliever Erik Shannahan stopped the bleeding by recording the final two outs of the frame to keep the game tied. With the bases loaded, Shannahan got D.J. Peterson to pop up to third before fanning Campbell to end the threat.
The Bears would reclaim the lead in the sixth, as Conner Wilson's one-out, pinch single started a two-run rally. Dylan Becker followed with his second hit of the game and Drake's fly ball to right moved the lead runner to third--a key development moments later when a passed ball allowed Wilson to score with the go-ahead run. Hawkins then came through with a two-out RBI single to bring in Becker for a 5-3 MSU advantage.
New Mexico (9-11) quickly responded in its half of the sixth against Shannahan, using a lead-off walk to Alex Real, a second Garver single and a sacrifice fly by Alex Allbritton to draw to within one run.
Shannahan retired the first two batters of the seventh before Peterson unloaded on a full-count offering for his 11th home run of the season that knotted the score at 5-5.
The Bears bullpen managed to keep the game even over the ensuing three innings, in spite of scoring chances in each for the Lobos. After Shannahan found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, Gordon bailed his fellow senior out by striking out Sam Haggerty to end the frame. Gordon worked his way out of trouble again in the ninth after the Lobos loaded the bases with one out. The right-hander induced a force out at the plate on a one-hopper to third, then squashed the rally with a grounder to short off the bat of Allbritton to send the game into extra innings.
In stark contrast, New Mexico's bullpen enjoyed smooth sailing in the late innings, as three Lobo relievers combined to hold the Bears scoreless on just two hits from the seventh inning on. Gabe Aguilar allowed just a two-out walk in the ninth over two scoreless frames, and Josh Walker (2-0) earned the win with two more shutout innings to allow the Lobos time to mount their game-clinching rally.
Hawkins led MSU's 11-hit attack with a career-best three hits, while Becker and Matheny turned in two-hit efforts.
Peebles finished the doubleheader with four hits in eight at-bats, and McComack drove in three runs in the two-game series.
After enjoying a break in the schedule this weekend, the Bears return to Hammons Field to open a five-game home stand next Tuesday (March 26) with a 6:30 p.m. non-conference contest against Kansas.