Bears Drop Second-Straight Valley Game to Shockers, 5-1
March 22, 2014
WICHITA, Kan. - Wichita State's Cale Elam held Missouri State's offense in check for 8 2/3 innings to help the Shockers to a 5-1 victory and extend the Bears' losing streak to nine games Saturday at Eck Stadium.
Elam kept the Bears (8-12, 0-2 MVC) off the scoreboard until Spencer Johnson's sacrifice fly to right with one out in the ninth ended the right-hander's shutout bid, as well as MSU's 58-inning scoreless drought. The senior scattered eight hits--all but one of which came after the first two outs had been recorded in a given inning--and fanned eight over his 8.2 frames to improve to 4-0 on the year.
Casey Gillaspie powered the Shockers' 11-hit attack by driving in the first four runs of the game with a 2-for-3 performance, while Tanner Dearman went 2-for-3 and scored twice. Micah Greene also came through for WSU with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, and Dayne Parker added two hits and scored a run.
Wichita State (14-7, 2-0 MVC) rode the hot hitting of Dearman to grab a 1-0 lead in the third against MSU starter Jon Harris. The Shockers' sophomore designated hitter got the ball rolling with his second lead-off single in as many at-bats, then moved to third on a hit-and-run base hit by Parker. Gillaspie lifted a liner to center, giving Dearman ample time to trot home with the first tally of the day.
A sloppy fourth inning by the Bears led to the Shockers' second run, as the third lead-off hit in an inning for WSU came home to roost. Green's infield single--the first of three consecutive hits for the senior outfielder--was followed by a fielding error that put runners at first and second. Harris recovered to strike out Joe Haddox before Dearman sacrificed to move both runners into scoring position. But Harris plunked Parker with a 1-2 pitch, then walked in a run with a free pass to Gillaspie to make it a 2-0 game.
The Shockers opened up a 4-0 lead on Gillaspie's two-run double with one out in the sixth. Harris struck out Haddox once again for the first out, but ran into trouble with back-to-back walks to Dearman and Parker before Gillaspie laced a two-bagger into left-center. Garrett Bayliff's RBI single with two out in the eighth handed Elam a five-run cushion after Parker singled, and pinch runner Wes Phillips moved to second on a grounder to third.
Elam was dominant through the middle innings, retiring 15 of 16 hitters from the third inning until MSU mounted a two-out threat in the eighth when Aaron Meyer singled to start a string of three consecutive hits for the Bears. With runners on first and second, Tate Matheny's line drive to right appeared that it might end the Bears' offensive dry spell, but Bayliff came up firing to hold Meyer at third, and Elam induced an inning-ending ground ball to first off the bat of Cheray to keep the shutout intact.
But Matt Fultz's lead-off double in the ninth sparked the Bears' first scoring rally since a Matheny home run in the fourth inning of MSU's March 11 game at SEMO. Pinch runner Matt Dezort tagged up and moved to third on Conor Smith's fly ball to center before Johnson's liner to right was deep enough to score the runner from third.
Aaron LaBrie took over for Elam following a single to right by Trey Hair--the first of the freshman's MSU career--and a fielding error on Joey Hawkins's bouncer to short kept the Bears' rally alive. But LaBrie finished off the victory for WSU by getting Tyler Harris on a fielder's choice grounder to short, extending the second-longest losing streak in Bears' history one more game.
Harris (1-3) suffered the loss for MSU after giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and five walks over 5.1 innings.
Dylan Becker logged a 2-for-4 afternoon at the plate to lead the Bears, who finished with eight hits for the second straight day and saw seven of their nine starters record at least one safety.
The Bears and Shockers wrap up their weekend series with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.