Late Offensive Explosion Lifts Bears to 7-3 Win Over Southern Illinois
April 12, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Missouri State scored six times in the final three innings to erase a one-run deficit and claim a 7-3 victory in the opening game of their Missouri Valley Conference series with Southern Illinois Friday afternoon at Abe Martin Field. Tate Matheny delivered a two-out, two-run triple to snap a 2-2 tie moments after Joey Hawkins's RBI-double evened the score as part of a four-run seventh-inning rally for the Bears, who improved to 20-0 overall and 5-2 in MVC play.
Koby Peebles powered Missouri State's 11-hit attack with a 2-for-5 day at the plate that included a two-out triple in the first that drove in Luke Voit with the Bears' first run of the game, as well as an RBI-single in the ninth that produced MSU's final tally. Hawkins also drove in a run with a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt in the eighth to finish with a pair of RBIs, and Keenen Maddox had two hits, an RBI and a run scored to bolster MSU's offense.
Voit also came up big for the Bears by reaching base in four of his five trips to the plate, finishing 1-for-2 with three walks, and Eric Cheray added a pair of hits for MSU as well.
The late offensive explosion for MSU made a winner of starting pitcher Nick Petree (5-1), who struck out six while allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk over seven innings. MSU's junior right-hander moved into sole possession of third place on the Bears' career wins (24) and strikeouts (253) lists in improving to 3-0 all-time against the Salukis.
After Southern Illinois (16-17, 1-6 MVC) grabbed the upper hand on Luke Mottashed's run-scoring single with two out in the bottom of the sixth, the Bears responded with four-spot in the top of the seventh to match their biggest scoring inning in MVC play. Conor Smith got things started with a lead-off double against SIU starter Cody Forsythe, who allowed just one MSU run on four hits over the first six frames, and nearly worked his way out of trouble in the decisive seventh, retiring Spencer Johnson and Travis McComack on fly balls to center and working the count to two strikes against Hawkins.
But the Bears third baseman got just enough off Forsythe's 1-2 pitch to lift a soft liner to right that fell in to chase home pinch runner Trey Massenberg with the equalizing run. Cheray kept the momentum going with an infield hit on a high chopper to second before Matheny blasted Forsythe's 1-0 offering off the wall in center to put the Bears in front for good with his first career triple. Maddox completed the scoring in the inning with a bloop RBI-single to right, handing Petree a three-run cushion.
Petree, who surpassed Dave Dickensheet and Jeff Gray on MSU's career victories list with his 24th win as a Bear, surrendered a third SIU run in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Rosthenhausler doubled with one out and came around on RennieTroggio's two-out single that cut the MSU lead to 5-3.
But Erik Shannahan relieved Petree and promptly slammed the door by retiring the first five Salukis he faced before Rosthenhausler's second two-base hit with two out in the ninth. Shannahan would wrap up the victory and the two-inning save - his second of the season - to hand the Bears their 25th victory in 36 MVC games against SIU at Abe Martin Field.
Forsythe suffered the setback for the Salukis after an unsettling finish to an otherwise fine performance. The senior allowed five runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and issuing two walks to fall to 1-2 on the year. Additionally, SIU's bullpen added fuel to the fire by handing out four bases-on-balls and a pair of hits over the final 2 1/3 innings to allow the Bears to extend their lead to four runs.
Troggio paced the SIU attack with a 3-for-5 afternoon that included a pair of runs scored and an RBI.
The Bears and Salukis will meet again Saturday (April 13) at 2 p.m., before wrapping up the series Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest.