Bears Claim Series From Wright State With 3-1 Victory
Matt Hall
Matt Hall

May 11, 2013

Box Score

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State used a blend of youth and experience to squeak past Wright State with a 3-1 decision on Senior Day at Hammons Field Saturday. Freshman Matt Hall earned his fifth victory with 6 1/3 solid innings, but not without the help of a pair of senior relievers who held the Raiders scoreless over the final 2 2/3 frames to lock down a series win for the Bears (29-18).

Hall (5-3) gave up one run on six hits, while walking a pair of WSU hitters to wrap up the 14th mound victory for a MSU freshman hurler this season. Erik Shannahan picked up where Hall left off, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh, then coaxing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play in the eighth to preserve the Bears' advantage.

Fellow senior Grant Gordon took over for Shannahan with one on and two out in the ninth, working around an error by inducing a comebacker off the bat of No. 3 hitter Garrett Gray to clinch the win and his 11th save as a Bear.

Freshman Spencer Johnson would join Hall in the Bears' rookie highlight reel. The Springfield native went 2-for-3 with a double and drove in the go-ahead run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, plating senior Keenen Maddox, who singled and stole second to set up the rally after Wright State had erased a 1-0 deficit with their lone tally of the game in the top half of the inning.

Seniors Luke Voit and Koby Peebles also played starring roles for the Bears' offense, which received a lift from its seldom-used running game for the second-straight day to set up its first two scores of the afternoon. Peebles walked to lead-off the fifth, swiped second and moved to third on Gray's throwing error, before Joey Hawkins drove him in with a ground ball to short for a 1-0 Bears' lead.

Voit's chopper to third that resulted in another Wright State miscue set up Johnson's sac fly to right the following inning. Maddox led off the inning with a base hit and moved into scoring position with just his second steal of the season before Voit's bouncer and Johnson's sacrifice put the Bears on top for good.

The duo of Peebles and Voit would come through again in the seventh, as the Bears scored in their third consecutive inning to stretch their lead to two runs. Peebles lined a single into right to start the rally, before a Hawkins sacrifice, Eric Cheray's second walk of the game and a Tate Matheny single loaded the bases with one out. WSU reliever Logan Blair nearly worked his way out of trouble, getting Maddox to chase a third strike for out number two, but beaned Voit with his very next offering to force home MSU's third run of the day.

The late offensive surge followed an early barrage from the Bears in the first game of the series. After scoring all six of their runs in the first five innings of Friday's victory, it would take the Bears five innings to plate their first tally in game two. Both starting pitchers were in control early in the contest, with Hall and WSU's Joey Hoelzel (4-4) combining to limit the offenses to a total of four hits through the first four innings.

After the Bears struck first with their fifth-inning run, the Raiders responded right away with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Keiston Green's single got the ball rolling, before Hall issued his second walk of the game to John Brodner, and Mark Fowler knotted the score with a line drive into left. Hall escaped without incurring further damage thanks to an inning-ending, diving catch by first baseman Conor Smith on a pop fly into shallow right field. 

Peebles finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk, a steal and two runs scored, while Cheray added a double and a pair of walks to the Bears' offensive charge.

Sam Picchiotti led the Raiders (20-26) with three hits in five trips to the plate, while Fowler finished his day 2-for-4 with the lone WSU run batted-in.

The Bears and Raiders will conclude their three-game series Sunday (May 12) evening, with first pitch scheduled for 40 minutes following the conclusion of the Springfield Cardinals game.



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