Billikens' Two-Hit Shutout Stops Bears' Home Streak
April 17, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State's 11-game home win streak came to end Tuesday evening, as four Saint Louis pitchers combined on a two-hit, 1-0 shutout of the Bears in non-conference action at Hammons Field. Freshman right-hander Nick Bates surrendered just one hit over five innings, and the Billiken bullpen did the rest, ultimately handing the Bears their first home loss since March 13.
With one freshman doing the job on the mound, the Billikens (25-11) got offensive lifts from two more rookies to pull out the victory. Freshman catcher Jon Corbitt came through with a one-out single in the seventh to drive in Grant Nelson for the only run of the game, and freshman first baseman Mike Vigliarolo posted a 2-for-4 night to lead the SLU offense.
The starting pitchers set the tone for the night early in the contest, as MSU's Jake Powers and Bates combined to keep the game scoreless through the first five innings, allowing just four hits between them. The Bears (27-11) managed only a Luke Voit lead-off single in the second against Bates, who struck out four and walked a pair before yielding to his bullpen in the sixth. Steve Jensen would pick up right where Bates left off, retiring six of the first seven hitters he faced, including three on strikeouts.
SLU finally broke through with the game's lone run in the seventh thanks to a Nelson lead-off single against Powers, and a pair of seeing-eye ground balls that found their way through the Bears' infield. Corbitt's bouncer through the right side followed a Jerry Mancuso roller that found its way into left field and proved to be the key blow, chasing home Nelson with the game-winning run.
Missouri State's only real scoring opportunity came in the eighth, when Brock Chaffin led off with a line-drive single into right, and Spiker Helms drew a one-out walk. But Jon Levin recorded two outs on just one pitch after relieving Jensen, getting Kevin Medrano to line into a double-play to end the threat and preserve the lead.
Travis Parker then closed out the victory with a one-two-three ninth, fanning Keenen Maddox to end the game and secure his fifth save of the season.
Jensen (1-2) earned the victory after allowing just one hit and striking out three hitters over 2 1/3 innings of work.
Powers (2-1) suffered the tough-luck loss for the Bears, despite holding the Billikens to one run on four hits while striking out seven batters in six-plus innings. In all, three Bears' hurlers would hold the Billikens to six hits, while combining to strike out 10 SLU hitters.
Next, the Bears hit the road for a three-game MVC series with Wichita State this weekend, beginning with Friday's 6:30 p.m. tilt at Eck Stadium.