Medrano, Gordon Spark Bears' Late-Inning Heroics in 9-8 Win Over Kansas
March 27, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Kevin Medrano's one-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth capped a wild offensive battle and handed the Missouri State Bears a hard-fought 9-8 win over Kansas Tuesday night at Hammons Field. The Bears rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a five-run lead, only to watch the Jayhawks come all the way back to even the score before Medrano's game-winner gave MSU its eighth-consecutive victory.
Medrano (4-for-6) teamed up with fellow senior Spiker Helms (3-for-5) to power the Bears' offensive attack, as the duo scored four times and accounted for seven of MSU's season-high 15 hits on the night.
But none of the Bears' hits were bigger than Medrano's base hit into left-center field that chased home Eric Cheray with the winning run. It was Cheray's one-out double down the right-field line that kicked off the critical MSU rally, which was aided by a walk, a hit batsman and a wild pitch from KU reliever Tanner Poppe (0-4) before Medrano delivered his fourth hit of the night with a line drive through a drawn-in infield, just beyond the reach of a diving Kevin Kuntz at shortstop.
The walk-off win for Missouri State (20-6) made a victor of junior reliever Grant Gordon (4-0), who came through with three perfect innings to take control of a game that had been dominated by the offenses through the first six innings.
The roller-coaster of a game started with an offensive barrage, as the two clubs combined for eight runs and eight hits in the first inning alone. Kansas (10-14) set the offensive tone for the contest, striking for three runs on three hits off MSU starter Cody Schumacher in the opening inning. Chris Manship started a two-out rally with a base hit to left, before Alex DeLeon and Connor McKay drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Next, Jake Marasco broke the scoring seal with an infield single deep in the hole at short, and Zac Elgie hit a soft liner into center for a two-run single to give the Jayhawks the early 3-0 advantage.
But the Bears brought their bats as well, jumping on Kansas right-hander Drew Morovick for five runs after five of the first six hitters recorded hits. Helms got the ball rolling with a lead-off double, and Medrano and Luke Voit followed with solid singles to put MSU on the board. A Brock Chaffin ground out and a Brent Seifert base hit plated two more runs to even the score, and Trey Massenberg drove in the go-ahead run with a triple into the gap in right-center. Finally, Koby Peebles gave the Bears a 5-3 lead with a sacrifice fly to left.
MSU scored three more times in the second, getting one-out singles from Helms and Medrano, a sac fly from Voit and back-to-back doubles from Chaffin and Seifert to stretch its lead to five runs.
Freshman reliever Robert Kahana restored some order for the Jayhawks, ending the second by getting Massenberg on a fly to center, then holding the Bears hitless until a one-out double by Peebles in the fifth.
Kahana's work allowed KU to climb back into the game, as the visitors struck for another big inning in the fourth with four runs on four hits against Schumacher and freshman reliever Zach Merciez to pull to cut their deficit to one run. The Jayhawks made it a new ballgame in the sixth when Kuntz tripled to lead off the frame, then came home on a Ka'iana Eldredge base hit to knot the score at 8-all.
From there, Gordon turned out the lights on KU's lineup to give the Bears time to come up with the game-winner. The right-hander entered the game in the top of the seventh and retired all nine hitters he faced, including five via strikeouts, to earn his fourth win of the season.
In addition to big games from Medrano and Helms, the MSU offense also got a boost from Seifert, who drove in two runs with a pair of hits, including one of the Bears' season-high six doubles. Massenberg also posted a two-hit night that included his MVC-leading fourth triple of the season.
Next up, the Bears hit the road for a three-game set against Dallas Baptist, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. game Friday at Patriot Field in Dallas.