Bears Score Three in 11th to Slip Past Kansas, 6-3
May 6, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - The Missouri State Bears took advantage of a critical two-out error in the 11th inning to score the decisive runs in a 6-3 win over Kansas that completed a perfect weekend for MSU at the Jayhawk Classic. MSU right-hander Grant Gordon came through with 3 2/3 innings of solid relief, combining with freshman Tyler Burgess to hold the Jayhawks hitless over the final three innings to help lift the Bears (34-14) to their fourth-straight victory.
Missouri State pulled out the win despite leaving a season-high 15 runners on base in the contest, including 11 from the sixth inning on. Kevin Medrano, who singled to start the Bears' key rally, scored the go-ahead run when KU second baseman Jordan Dreiling's throw to first on a grounder from Brock Chaffin pulled Chris Manship off the bag. The Bears tacked on two more tallies on Keenen Maddox's double to left and a bases-loaded walk to Trey Massenberg, and Burgess closed the door in the bottom half of the 11th for his 10th save of the season.
Massenberg led the Bears with a double, triple and two walks, while Eric Cheray reached base in four of his six trips to the plate and Maddox, Chaffin and Spiker Helms all recorded two-hit games for Missouri State. Additionally, the relief efforts of Gordon and Burgess followed a strong starting job from Pierce Johnson, who limited the Jayhawks to three runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Medrano, who went 7-for-15 (.467) with six RBIs in helping the Bears capture the Jayhawk Classic title, was named the tournament's most outstanding player, while sophomore right-hander Nick Petree was tabbed as the event's most-outstanding pitcher. Additionally, Helms, Cheray and Gordon were selected for the all-tournament squad.
The win for the Bears marked their second last at-bat victory over Kansas this season and gave them their second-consecutive season series sweep of the Jayhawks.
Missouri State broke into the scoring column first, getting a Luke Voit lead-off double in the second and a Cheray RBI single to center off KU starter Thomas Taylor to grab a 1-0 lead.
It wouldn't last, however, as Kansas put a pair of runs on the board in the third, courtesy of a Tucker Tharp base hit that scored Dakota Smith and a two-out wild pitch that allowed Justin Protacio to score from third. The Jayhawks added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth on a Manship two-out double off the center field wall that chased home Dreiling from first for a 3-1 KU advantage.
But the Bears quickly responded in the seventh to pull even with the Jayhawks. Massenberg and Dylan Becker started the inning with back-to-back doubles to slice the MSU deficit in half, and Helms dropped a bunt single up the first base line to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Medrano popped up a squeeze attempt for the first out of the inning, but Brent Seifert's grounder to short brought in Becker to square the score at 3-3.
Missouri State had multiple opportunities to seize the lead in the later innings, but would come up empty until the 11th. The Bears stranded at least one baserunner in each of the final six innings and left 11 men on base over the same stretch.
Gordon (5-3) countered the Bears' inability to tally the go-ahead run with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit while striking out four to keep MSU in the contest. The Jayhawks also generated several late scoring chances, but Gordon worked his way out of trouble each time to keep the game even. KU would leave runners in scoring position in each of the final six innings, including the eighth, when they had runners at first and third before Gordon struck out Michael Suiter to squash the rally.
The Jayhawks (19-29) would threaten again in the ninth when Gordon issued two-out walks to Tharp and Kevin Kuntz. But the junior right-hander promptly retired James Stanfield on a first-pitch pop-up to second for the final out of the inning.
KU received a 2-for-5 game from Manship, but would tally only seven hits on the day. On the mound, Taylor gave the Jayhawks six solid innings, striking out five and allowing three runs on seven hits. Freshman reliever Robert Kahana was even more effective, holding the Bears scoreless on three hits over four innings of relief. Jordan Jakobov (1-2) was saddled with the loss after yielding all three unearned runs in the 11th.
Up next, Missouri State completes its home-and-home season series with Missouri on Wednesday (May 9) in Columbia. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Simmons Field.