Maddox's Ninth-Inning Homer Hands Bears 1-0 Win Over Southern Illinois
April 27, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Keenen Maddox's walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning handed the Missouri State Bears a 1-0 victory over Southern Illinois Friday evening in the first game of the two clubs' Missouri Valley Conference series at Hammons Field. Maddox's solo shot helped the Bears overcome 8 1/3 shutout innings by Salukis starting pitcher Cody Forsythe, as MSU reached the 30-win mark for the 25th time in head coach Keith Guttin's 30 years at the helm.
The last at-bat win for the Bears came after Forsythe engaged MSU starter Nick Petree and freshman reliever Tyler Burgess in a scoreless pitcher's duel over the first eight innings of the contest. Forsythe (3-2) baffled the Bears for most of the night, allowing just one hit after the third inning until Maddox delivered the game winner. In all, the junior left-hander surrendered five hits and five walks while striking out two batters in the tough-luck setback.
Petree was just as effective for the Bears, fanning nine SIU hitters and permitting just five hits and a walk over seven innings, before yielding to Burgess. The Bears' freshman closer walked the first batter he faced in the eighth, but promptly rolled a 6-3 double-play ball, then struck out Austin Montgomery to end the inning. The Salukis got another lead-off runner in the ninth via a Jordan Sivertsen base hit, but Burgess (4-0) calmly worked his way out of trouble, blowing third strikes by Brian Bajer and John Menken to end the threat.
After pinch hitter Conor Smith grounded out on a sharply-hit ball to shortstop, Maddox pounded Forsythe's 1-0 pitch over the 315-foot mark in left for his the second game-winning homer of his Missouri State career, moving the Bears a full game in front of Indiana State for the top spot in the MVC regular-season standings in the process.
Neither club was able to muster any offense throughout the night, despite generating several scoring chances. Southern Illinois threatened early and often, putting a pair of runners on in the first after a Brent Seifert error and a Chris Serritella base hit, only to see Petree whistle a third strike past Montgomery before retiring Sivertsen on a bouncer to third to end the inning. The Bears also had chances to score at the onset of the night, getting singles by Brock Chaffin and Patrick Drake in the second. Forsythe coaxed a 4-6-3 double play from Maddox to squash that rally, then worked around a single by Eric Cheray and walk to Spiker Helms with one away by inducing another twin-killing, this time off the bat of Kevin Medrano.
From there, Forsythe allowed only a second Drake hit in the fifth before setting down eight straight MSU hitters into the seventh. Bases on balls to Helms and Seifert in the eighth gave the Bears another chance to grab the upper hand, but Forsythe came up big once again, killing the rally by getting Luke Voit to pop up to first.
The victory stopped a string of five straight one-run losses for the Bears, while increasing their lead over second-place Indiana State to one full game in the regular-season standings.
Petree lowered his Division I-leading ERA to 0.70 and extended his string of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 56 1/3 spanning eight starts. The sophomore right-hander has not given up an earned run since a March 2 appearance at Northwestern State.
Serritella and Bajer led the SIU attack with two hits apiece, while Drake went 2-for-2 and reached base a third time for MSU after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.
The Bears (30-13, 9-3 MVC) and Salukis (23-19, 8-5 MVC) continue their series with game two Saturday at 2 p.m., before wrapping up the weekend Sunday with a 1 p.m. tilt.