Twin Six-Run Rallies Power Bears to 12-2 Win at Bradley
April 7, 2012
PEORIA, Ill. - The Missouri State Bears struck for a pair of six-run innings to match season highs for hits and runs scored in a runaway 12-2 victory over Bradley Saturday afternoon, evening their Missouri Valley Conference series with the Braves at one game apiece. Six different Bears posted multi-hit games, and Clay Murphy went the distance for his fifth victory of the season to help the Bears improve to 4-1 in conference play.
After posting season highs of 12 runs and 16 hits in Wednesday's 12-5 win over Arkansas State, the Bears (24-9, 4-1 MVC) matched both totals in Saturday's eight-inning, run-rule victory over the Braves. MSU scored all 12 runs and registered 12 of their 16 hits in the fourth and eighth innings.
Brent Seifert and Kevin Medrano led the way with matching 3-for-5 afternoons, while Spiker Helms homered and drove in four runs, and Derek Mattea equaled a career high with three RBIs. Medrano doubled in his last three trips to the plate to tie the Missouri State single-game record for the second time this season. Additionally, the senior second baseman climbed to ninth on the Bears' career doubles list and moved to within one hit of cracking the school's top five for career hits.
With the Bears' offense in high gear most of the afternoon, Murphy (5-1) had ample room to maneuver out of several potential big innings by inducing key ground-ball outs. The junior right-hander scattered 10 hits while allowing just two unearned runs in his second complete game of the season. In five of the seven innings Bradley found itself batting with a runner on base, Murphy rolled inning-ending grounders, four of which came with at least one runner in scoring position.
Despite touching up Braves starter Justin Ziegler for three hits over the first two innings, the Bears saw a pair of early scoring chances go by the wayside. With two men out in the first, Seifert and Luke Voit drove back-to-back base hits into center field, but Keenen Maddox bounced out to second to stall the rally. The following frame, MSU got a one-out single by Brock Chaffin, only to see the inning come to an end when Mattea lined a rocket at BU third baseman Bob Elliott, who had plenty of time to fire to first to pick off Chaffin for a double play.
The Braves (15-12-1, 2-3 MVC) also generated several scoring opportunities in the early stages of the contest, but Murphy found a way out of trouble each time. BU put at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but Murphy rolled ground balls in each case to keep the game scoreless.
After tallying just one run over the first 12 innings of the series, the Bears broke out of their funk in a big way in a pivotal fourth inning, clubbing seven hits in the frame to take control of the game. Seifert got things going with a lead-off single, before Maddox kicked off a string of four consecutive MSU hits with a base hit to left-center. Trey Massenberg put the Bears on the board with a two-run single to center, and Chaffin and Mattea kept the hit parade rolling with run-scoring hits to stretch the margin to four runs. Finally, Helms capped the scoring with a mammoth two-run homer onto the patio beyond the right-field wall that made it a 6-0 contest.
Bradley answered with an unearned run in their half of the fourth, but Murphy avoided any major damage by coaxing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Austin Jarvis. The Braves would threaten again in the sixth, loading the bases on three straight hits, but Murphy fanned Bob Schuch, then got a grounder to short to thwart the rally.
BU pushed across another run courtesy of a Bears fielding miscue in the seventh to draw within four runs, but MSU responded with six runs on five hits and a pair of walks in the top of the eighth to seal the victory. Mattea drove home a pair of runs with a one-out single, and Helms just missed his second homer of the day with a two-run double off the wall in right-center. Medrano's third double, followed by a Seifert RBI single capped the scoring.
With Murphy's effort, MSU pitchers have yielded just one earned run through 43.0 innings over their first five games in MVC play, good for a staff ERA of 0.21.
Chaffin also posted a two-hit day and drove in a run to help spark the Bears' offense, and Massenberg (2-for-4) scored a pair of runs in addition to his key fourth-inning two-run single.
For Bradley, Ziegler (2-3) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings, and our different Braves recorded two-hit games.
Up next, the Bears and Braves will wrap up their series Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest.