Bears Clip Shockers in Ninth for First MVC Victory
March 23, 2014
WICHITA, Kan. - Missouri State snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Wichita State Sunday at Eck Stadium after Matt Dezort's ninth-inning pinch single drove in the go-ahead run. The Bears (9-12, 1-2 MVC) got a lift from their bullpen, as three hurlers combined to hold the Shockers to a single unearned run over 7 1/3 innings.
After Wichita State (14-8, 2-1 MVC) evened the score on Casey Gillaspie's double with two out in the bottom of the eighth, Aaron Meyer started the Bears' winning rally with a one-out double, before Dezort lined a 2-1 pitch from Drew Palmer into right-center field. Adam Anawalt wrapped up the win and his fourth save with a scoreless ninth, coaxing a game-ending bouncer to short after a pair of two-out singles put the potential tying run in scoring position.
MSU's late rally made a winner out of senior Jake Powers (1-1), who turned in 5.2 innings in relief, fanning five Shockers and allowing just three hits to go along with four walks after taking over for Andy Cheray in the third inning. The Bears bullpen was pressed into early duty after starter Matt Hall struggled with his command, needing 40 pitches to work his way out of a first-inning jam and walking three and giving up three hits overall in just an inning-and-two-thirds. Cheray relieved Hall and worked two-thirds of an inning before Powers entered the fray.
The Bears, who stopped a 58-inning scoreless drought Saturday, opened the scoring in the top of the second inning thanks to back-to-back two-out singles by Trey Hair and Joey Hawkins drove home Matt Fultz, who led off the frame with a base hit to right. WSU responded in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Tanner Dearman singled home Micah Green, before Dayne Parker's sacrifice fly to right brought in Erik Harbutz.
Hair came through again in the third, driving home two with a two-out single off WSU starter Sam Tewes. Fultz's second hit of the game started the rally with two outs, and an error by Dearman in left field on a Conor Smith pop up kept it alive. Spencer Johnson drew a walk, and Hair lined the second of his career-high three hits up the middle to make it a 3-2 game.
Powers worked his way into and out of trouble in the third, issuing three walks to load the bases before getting an inning-ending fly ball to center off the bat of pinch hitter Cody Bobbit. The right-hander avoided danger in nearly every inning, as the Shockers put at least one runner in scoring position in four consecutive innings before Gillaspie's double finally pulled WSU even in the eighth.
WSU would strand 15 men on base, including two more in the ninth after Anawalt quickly dispatched the first two batters of the inning. Both Green and Harbutz bounced singles back through the box, but Hawkins got to Bobbit's grounder and fired to first just in time to beat the runner and finish off the first Bears victory since March 7.
Hair finished the day 3-for-4 with his first two RBIs as a Bear, while Fultz, Meyer and Tate Matheny each added two hits for MSU.
Harbutz tallied three hits in four at-bats for the Shockers, and Green went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Up next, the Bears travel to Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday (March 25) for a 6:30 p.m. contest with Oklahoma State, before coming home to play Arkansas State Wednesday evening at 6:35 p.m.