Oral Roberts Downs Bears in Series Opener, 4-1
May 7, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State's offensive struggles continued in a 4-1 setback to Oral Roberts Tuesday evening at Hammons Field, as three Golden Eagle pitchers combined to hold the Bears to seven hits. ORU built an early three-run lead and allowed the Bears just one hit over the final four innings to finish off the win, sending the Bears to their fifth consecutive defeat.
Kevin Cho led the Golden Eagle attack with a 4-for-5 effort at the plate, marking the first four-hit game allowed by MSU pitching this season. The senior outfielder drove in ORU's first run of the game with a two-out single in the second, then scored one of his own two innings later to hand his club a three-run lead that the Bears would never seriously threaten.
ORU reliever Phillip Wilson (1-1) faced the minimum number of hitters over four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit before retiring the final nine Bears he faced to earn his first victory of the season. Wilson's effort followed a strong four-inning effort from first-time starter Pepe Gomez, who surrendered five hits but just one run.
Kurt Giller finished off what Gomez and Wilson started, closing out the win with a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the year.
The Golden Eagles jumped on top with a two-out rally in the second frame after Nate Goro delivered the first of his two hits to start the inning and Chris Williams drew a walk from MSU starter Tyler Thompson. Cho's hot shot back to the mound knocked Thompson off his feet just long enough to allow the ORU center fielder to beat out an infield single that scored Williams from third.
Next, Matt Brandy's bouncer to third was mishandled to allow an unearned run to cross the plate for a 2-0 Golden Eagle lead.
ORU tacked on a run in the fourth when Cho ignited another two-out rally with a base hit, and Brandy drew a walk to set up Logan Domenico's run-scoring single to left. Joey Migliaccio's lead-off home run in the sixth off MSU reliever Erik Shannahan would account for the final Golden Eagle run of the night.
MSU would score its lone run in the bottom half of the fourth, capitalizing on back-to-back singles from Keenen Maddox and Luke Voit to start the inning. Dylan Becker's one-out base hit to right drove in Maddox, snapping a 17-inning scoreless drought for the Bears' offense.
That would prove to be MSU's last threat until the ninth, when Voit singled for the second time and Becker drew a walk with two men out to bring the potential tying run to the plate. But Giller coaxed a roller to first off the bat of Conor Smith, and Williams's toss to the bag was ruled to have narrowly beat the runner for the final out of the contest.
The win snapped a seven-game Hammons Field losing streak for ORU, which entered the series with just one victory in its last 12 meetings with MSU.
Voit led the Bears' offense with a 2-for-4 night, while sophomore reliever Zach Merciez matched a career high with four strikeouts over 3.0 hitless innings of relief to keep MSU within striking distance late in the game.
The Bears and Golden Eagles will wrap up their two-game series Wednesday (May 8) evening with another 6:30 p.m. contest at Hammons Field.