Petree Extends Scoreless Streak as Bears Blank Aces, 2-0
May 11, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - On a night when offense was hard to come by, Missouri State's Nick Petree felt right at home in turning in eight shutout innings to propel the Bears to a 2-0 whitewashing of Evansville Friday at Hammons Field. Petree combined with Tyler Burgess on a three-hit shutout to break a school record for consecutive scoreless innings and keep the Bears (35-15, 11-4 MVC) alone atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings with just five league games remaining on the schedule.
Petree (10-2) struck out nine on the night and surrendered just three hits and three walks, stretching his personal scoreless streak to 38.0 innings pitched, while becoming just the seventh Missouri State pitcher to reach double-digit victories in a single season. The right-hander also extended his string of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 72 2/3 straight frames over 11 starts dating back to March 2, and cracked the Bears' top 10 for strikeouts in a single season, moving into a tie with Brett Sinkbeil for seventh on that list.
With his eighth scoreless effort of 2012 and his fifth in a row, Petree also helped the Bears establish a new team record with their ninth shutout of the season in a game that required just an hour and 59 minutes to complete.
Petree was put to the test early after issuing first-inning walks to Eric Stamets and Kevin Kaczmarski to put two on with just one out. The sophomore hurler came up with a big strikeout of Jason Hockemeyer, then retired Kyle Pollock on a fly ball to right to escape the inning without incurring any damage.
The Purple Aces (28-22, 7-9 MVC) got a two-out base hit from Trentt Copeland in the second before Petree kicked it into high gear to set down 14 consecutive hitters to eclipse Ken Watkins's 43-year-old MSU career record (34.2 IP) for consecutive scoreless innings.
Meanwhile, the Bears' offense finally got to Evansville starter Cole Isom for single tallies in the fourth and fifth innings to stake Petree to a lead. Eric Cheray squeezed home the first run of the night with his 11th sacrifice bunt of the season, as MSU took advantage of a lead-off walk to Luke Voit and a one-out Keenen Maddox base hit to grab a 1-0 advantage. The Bears would capitalize on their only two extra-base hits of the game in the fifth, as Kevin Medrano and Brent Seifert teamed up for back-to-back doubles the following inning to stretch the MSU cushion to two runs.
Despite facing a pair of late UE scoring threats, that would be all the run support Petree would need. Pollock singled with one out in the seventh to give the Aces their first baserunner since the second, but Petree got Chris Pearson looking for the second out, then retired Copeland on a fly to center after issuing a walk to John Day. He came up with his biggest save of the game in the eighth, when Stamets drove a base hit into left and Mahon was grazed by a two-strike pitch with just one out. Petree got Kaczmarski--Evansville's leading hitter--to swing and miss at a 3-2 pitch, and Voit gunned down Stamets attempting to steal third for a momentum-killing double play.
Burgess would relieve Petree in the ninth and, after beaning Jason Hockemeyer to start the inning, rolled a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish the Aces' last-ditch rally attempt. The freshman left-hander finished off his 11th save of the season by getting Pearson to loft a fly to left field for the final out.
Isom (2-7) suffered the loss for the Aces, despite giving up just two runs on four hits in an eight-inning, complete-game effort.
With the victory, the Bears kept pace with second-place Indiana State (38-12, 11-5 MVC), which defeated Southern Illinois in the first game of the two clubs' series in Carbondale Friday afternoon.
Next, Missouri State and Evansville meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. for the middle contest of their three-game set, before wrapping up the home portion of regular-season schedule with Senior Day festivities before Sunday's 1 p.m. game.