Bears Overpowered by Tigers in 9-4 Setback
April 8, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri broke out of a month-long offensive dry spell with a 15-hit barrage in a 9-4 victory over Missouri State Tuesday evening at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers erased an early two-run deficit in the fourth inning, then scored seven times over their next two turns at bat to post their best offensive performance since March 11.
Shane Segovia led the Tigers' charge, doubling in three straight at-bats to key the three critical rallies before finishing the night 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. The bottom two hitters in the MU lineup wreaked also havoc on the Bears fortunes, as Dillon Everett and Jake Ring combined to drive in five of the Tigers' nine runs.
The Tigers (15-16), who had not topped the four-run mark in any of their last 11 games, evened the score in the fourth on back-to-back run-scoring singles from Everett and Ring following Segovia's first double and a walk to Logan Pearson. MU took control for good the following inning thanks to three consecutive one-out hits and a hit batsman. Dylan Kelly's base hit got things started for the home club, before Segovia hammered another two-bagger and Pearson plated the go-ahead run with a single to right off MSU's third pitcher of the night, Jake Powers.
Next, Powers plunked Ryan Howard to load the bases, and Everett's fielder's choice grounder to second drove in Segovia to make it a 4-2 game. After an Everett steal of second, Ring pushed the Tiger lead to four runs with a two-run single through the right side of the infield that barely eluded the glove of a diving Eric Cheray. Eric Anderson capped the scoring in the fifth with a long triple to center that chased home Ring for a 7-2 MU advantage.
MU tacked on two more tallies in the sixth after Kelly, Segovia and Pearson delivered three consecutive doubles to stretch the lead to 9-2.
That would be more than enough for Tigers starting pitcher Peter Fairbanks (3-2), who earned the win with a career-long 6.0 inning outing, over which the sophomore allowed four runs on four hits while striking out four Bears.
Fairbanks and the Tigers would get help from a pair of relievers as southwest Missouri natives Austin Tribby (Springfield) and Breckin Williams (Oronogo) teamed up to hold MSU scoreless over the final two innings after the Bears pulled to within five runs in the seventh on Joey Hawkins' two-run single.
Powers (1-3) suffered the loss for MSU, which dropped to 13-16 on the season, despite another strong start from Clay Murphy, who held the Tigers scoreless through three innings before departing the game. The senior fanned four and walked a pair while extending his personal scoreless streak to 11 1/3 innings.
The evening started with promise for Missouri State, as lead-off man Blake Graham got the ball rolling in the first with a base hit to center on the game's fourth pitch, before Dylan Becker drew a four-pitch walk and Tate Matheny's pop up to short right fell just inside the foul line to load the bases. Next, Cheray put MSU on the board with a sacrifice fly to right, and Matt Fultz's ground ball to the right side brought in Becker to make it a 2-0 game.
Fairbanks would lock it in from that point, setting down 11 straight after Matheny's hit. The right-hander allowed just a two-out hit to Spencer Johnson in the fourth before yielding a leadoff double to Fultz and walking Johnson to start the seventh.
Murphy was equally dominant over the game's first three frames, posting a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first, before working out of two-on, two-out jams in both the second and third innings.
Up next, Missouri State heads to Peoria, Ill., to begin a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series with Bradley, beginning with a Noon game Friday (April 11) at Dozer Park.