Fifth-Inning Rally Propels No. 27 Oklahoma State Past Bears, 6-4
April 16, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Oklahoma State's four-run fifth inning proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for Missouri State Tuesday evening, as the 27th-ranked Cowboys overcame an early deficit to edge the Bears by a 6-4 score at Hammons Field. Randy McCurry scored the go-ahead run in OSU's critical scoring rally, then drove in an insurance tally with his third hit of the night in the eighth moments after the Bears had trimmed the margin to one run.
Despite out-hitting the Cowboys 10-9 and posting their sixth-straight double-digit hit total, the Bears struggled to move baserunners in their second consecutive home loss, stranding 12 runners on the night, including seven in scoring position.
OSU (25-10) would use seven pitchers to hold off the Bears, who fell to 21-11 on the season and 9-3 at Hammons Field with the loss. Vince Wheeland earned his seventh victory of the season after working 1 1/3 scoreless innings and pitching the Cowboys out of trouble in the both the seventh and eighth innings.
After the Bears scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within 5-4, McCurry's two-out single to left brought home Saulyer Saxon to give OSU a two-run advantage again and some much-needed breathing room. After stranding a pair of Bears to end the seventh, Wheeland pitched around a throwing error, as well as a Tate Matheny one-out hit by inducing back-to-back pop-ups off the bats of the Bears' second and third-place hitters, Eric Cheray and Luke Voit, to end another MSU threat in the eighth and preserve the Cowboys' lead.
MSU once again brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Travis McComack delivered his third hit of the night with two out. But Brendan McCurry got Conner Wilson to bounce to first to wrap up his sixth save and hand the Cowboys their second win of the season vs. the Bears.
Oklahoma State set the tone in the top of the third against MSU starter Tyler Thompson, as a lead-off single by Zach Fish and a one-out double by Randy McCurry set the table for the Cowboys. Victor Romero's bouncer to first brought in Fish with the game's first run, but reliever Matt Hall struck out Donnie Walton to end the inning and strand a pair of baserunners.
The Bears would respond in the bottom of the fourth, as Keenen Maddox started a two-run MSU rally with his second hit of the game off OSU starter Jon Perrin. With one out, Spencer Johnson lined a double just under the glove of a diving Saxon in left-center to chase home Maddox with the tying run. After Johnson moved to third on a passed ball by Romero, Dylan Becker gave the Bears their lone lead of the night with a run-scoring grounder to second.
But the Cowboys would answer immediately in the top of the fifth, drawing three walks to initiate their decisive four-run rally. Free passes to Tanner Krietemeier and Romero sandwiched a McCurry single and ended Hall's night. Erik Shannahan relieved and kicked off what would become a career-long four-inning effort with a walk to Trey Whaley to force home the tying run. Walton then rolled a grounder to short to allow McCurry to cross the plate with the go-ahead run, and Gage Green capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single to left-center to put OSU in front 5-2.
MSU bounced back in the seventh, as walks to Cheray, Voit and Maddox set up McComack's two-run single off Kyle Gehrs. Wheeland squashed that rally as well, however, getting Wilson to look at a called third strike to leave the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base.
McComack led the Bears' offense, finishing 3-for-5, while Maddox posted his sixth consecutive multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 night at the plate.
Shannahan doubled his previous career-high strikeout effort by fanning six Cowboys. The senior allowed a pair of runs on four hits over his four-inning stint.
Hall (3-1) suffered his first loss as a Bear after allowing three runs on one hit and a pair of walks over an inning-and-a third.
The Bears will return a home date with Missouri Wednesday (April 17) evening when they travel to Columbia for a 6 p.m. game at Taylor Stadium. MSU will then return to Hammons Field to open a three-game MVC series against Bradley Friday (April 19) at 6:30 p.m.