Bears Ride Late Offensive Explosion to Second Straight Win Over Air Force
May 5, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - After watching a two-run lead slip away, the Missouri State Bears scored nine times in their final three at-bats to post an 11-3 victory over Air Force Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. A four-run sixth inning proved to be the tipping point for the Bears, who knocked off the Falcons for the second consecutive day at the Jayhawk Classic behind the combination strong pitching and timely hitting.
For the second day in a row, Kevin Medrano led the MSU offense with a three-hit performance, marking the third time in four career games at Hoglund Ballpark the Bears' senior second baseman has registered at least three hits. Medrano finished 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, a stolen base and a run scored, and Luke Voit turned in a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, including a two-run single that capped the Bears' five-run eighth.
MSU starter Cody Schumacher (7-0) was solid once again on the hill, allowing just two unearned runs on four hits and three walks while fanning six hitters over six innings to keep his perfect record as a Bear intact. Missouri State improved to 12-1 in games Schumacher has started in 2012.
Missouri State (33-14) broke the scoring seal with a single tally in the third when Trey Massenberg scored from third on a two-out wild pitch to give the Bears a 1-0 cushion. Massenberg led off the frame with a base hit to left-center, moved to second on a Spiker Helms sacrifice and advanced to third on Medrano's grounder to second, then trotted home on Evan Albrecht's errant pitch. The Bears tacked on another run in the fifth on Medrano's sac fly to center that scored Eric Cheray to make it a 2-0 contest.
Schumacher appeared to have the game under control for MSU, working out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings to preserve the Bears' lead. The junior right-hander issued back-to-back walks to begin the fourth, but escaped unscathed by retiring David Thomas on a fly ball before striking out Matt Thorne to end the threat. Schumacher held the Falcons hitless until an Adam Hill dribbler up the third base line started the fifth inning, which was followed by a one-out David Baska hit to right. But once again, Schumacher found a way out of a tight spot, throwing out Hill at the plate attempting to score on a squeeze attempt, then getting Garrett Custons to fly out to center for the third out.
The Falcons (12-33) would finally end a 14 2/3 inning scoring drought against MSU pitching to even the score in the sixth. With two men out and the bases loaded, Cheray's throw to first on a routine grounder to short was low, allowing both Thorne and Alex Bast to come around and knot the score at 2-2.
But Missouri State responded just in time by recording nine of its 12 hits after the fifth inning and rolled to the lopsided victory without the aid of a single extra-base hit on the day. It was the Bears' four-run sixth-inning rally that proved to be the difference in the contest after Air Force had pulled even just moments earlier in the top half of the frame. Brock Chaffin got the ball rolling with a solid single to center, and Voit drew ball four on a 3-2 pitch from Abrecht (4-3) to set the tone for the pivotal inning. Next, Keenen Maddox laid down a sacrifice bunt with an added bonus of reaching base when Abrecht was unsuccessful in his attempt to gun down Chaffin at third.
After Abrecht got Cheray looking for the first out, another fielding miscue would cost the Falcons a pair of runs. Dylan Becker's one-hopper to first was fielded cleanly, but Adam Hill's throw to the plate was wild, allowing both Chaffin and Voit to score the Bears' third and fourth runs of the game. Massenberg followed with the first of his two sac flies on the day to make it a 5-2 game, before Helms capped the scoring with a single to left.
The Bears put the game away with a five-run eighth inning that was highlighted by run-producing hits by Voit and Medrano. Tyler Burgess and Danny McMurtrey combined to hold the Falcons in check over the final three innings, with Air Force's lone score over that stretch coming via an eighth-inning homer by Bast.
Helms also enjoyed a big day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and a walk, while Becker and Cheray combined to score four times and Massenberg drove in a pair of runs.
The Bears will conclude play at the Jayhawk Classic with a 1 p.m. game against host Kansas on Sunday.