Bears' Offensive Woes Continue in 6-0 Setback at Illinois State
April 6, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State rode another career performance by its starting pitcher to stymie Missouri State's offense for the second straight day, using eight scoreless innings from Dan Savas to top the Bears 6-0 Saturday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field. Savas struck out four and held the Bears to just two hits to lift the Redbirds to the series-clinching shutout victory.
After Chris Razo's one-hitter to open the series Friday evening, Savas (2-0) was in command throughout the afternoon Saturday. The sophomore right-hander picked up steam as the game wore on, retiring the final seven batters he faced and holding the Bears hitless after the third inning.
Jeremy Rhoades secured the victory for ISU (14-14, 3-2 MVC) with a one-two-three ninth inning, wrapping up the first shutout against the Bears in 2013.
ISU jumped on top with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, as Zac Johnson and Kyle Stanton singled off MSU starter Cody Schumacher to start what would prove to be the key rally in the game. Daniel Dwyer drove in Johnson with a grounder to third and Paul DeJong came through with a two-out single to bring in Stanton for a two-run Redbird lead.
Missouri State (18-8, 3-2 MVC) mounted its lone scoring threat of the game in the third when Joey Hawkins drew the first of his two walks to lead off the inning. Following a Trey Massenberg strikeout, Tate Matheny singled to shallow center to put runners at first and second with one out. Next, Travis McComack's line drive fell in for a base hit, but Hawkins was thrown out at the plate by ISU center fielder Chad Hinshaw for a momentum-killing second out. Luke Voit worked a two-out walk from Savas, but Koby Peebles bounced to short to end the inning.
Savas allowed just two more baserunners - another walk to Hawkins to start the fifth and a one-out free pass to Peebles in the sixth - and combined with Rhoades to retire the final 10 MSU hitters in order, starting with an inning-ending double-play off the bat of Conor Smith in the sixth.
The Redbirds would break the game open with two-run rallies in the sixth and seventh innings, highlighted by Eric Aguilera's second home run of the season to open the bottom of the sixth. That blast marked the first long ball surrendered by a Bears starting pitcher in 2013, ending a 184 1/3 inning homer-less streak for MSU starters dating back to NCAA Regional play last June.
ISU tacked on another run courtesy of a Dwyer RBI single to cap a string of three-straight Redbird hits in the inning. The following inning saw the home club add two more tallies thanks to a hit batsman, a pair of Grant Gordon wild pitches and a sacrifice fly by Johnson that opened up a six-run Redbird advantage.
Dwyer led ISU's attack, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Stanton added two hits and scored a pair of runs and Aguilera went 2-for-4 as well.
Voit drew a pair of walks for the second day in a row to lead the Bears at the plate.
Schumacher (1-1) suffered his first defeat of the season for Missouri State after allowing four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Bears will attempt to salvage the final game of the series Sunday when the two clubs square off in a 1 p.m. contest.