Punchless Bears Fall to Evansville, Second Place in MVC Race
May 12, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Behind Eric Stamet's three-hit day and the pitching of Kyle Lloyd, Evansville pulled out a 3-1 victory over the Missouri State Bears Saturday afternoon at Hammons Field. Lloyd limited the Bears to one run on six hits over eight innings, while Stamets sparked the Purple Aces' go-ahead rally in the eighth with a two-out single and his Missouri Valley Conference-leading 29th stolen base of the season to help Evansville (29-22, 8-9 MVC) even the series at one game apiece.
Lloyd (4-3), who beat the Bears by the same 3-1 score last April in Evansville, retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced after yielding MSU's lone run of the day in the fifth. The junior right-hander would hold the Bears hitless from that point forward, allowing only a one-out walk in the eighth, before ending his afternoon by coaxing a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of Kevin Medrano to preserve a one-run lead.
Josh Biggs finished off the Bears (35-16, 11-5 MVC) with a scoreless ninth to notch his sixth save of the season and hand the Aces their sixth win in their last seven games against the Bears. The loss for Missouri State, coupled with Indiana State's 7-5 win at Southern Illinois, dropped the Bears one-half game behind the Sycamores (39-12, 12-5 MVC) for the top spot in the MVC regular-season standings entering play Sunday.
After being held scoreless through the first 12 innings of the series, the Purple Aces finally put a run on the board in the fourth to seize a 1-0 lead. With one out, Kevin Kaczmarski lined a first-pitch double off the wall in right field, then came around with the game's first tally on a two-out Jason Hockemeyer single.
The Bears would respond in kind the following inning, knotting the score when Spiker Helms's soft liner fell in front of a diving Kaczmarski in center field for a two-out double that chased home Trey Massenberg all the way from first base.
From that point, both pitchers settled into grooves to keep the game deadlocked through seven innings. Bears' starter Cody Schumacher retired eight straight hitters after Hockemeyer's fourth-inning hit, then sat down three more Aces in succession and appeared to be cruising toward another easy inning in the eighth. But Stamets dribbled a two-out single up the middle after fouling off seven pitches during a pivotal 11-pitch at-bat, and Mahon followed with a double to right on a full-count pitch to drive in Stamets from second with the go-ahead run.
The Aces added an unearned insurance run in the top of the ninth when Eric Cheray's errant throw allowed Kaczmarski to score and make it a two-run game.
In addition to Stamets's 3-for-4 day, Kaczmarski and Hockemeyer each registered two-hit games to lead the UE offense.
Schumacher (7-1) suffered his first defeat as a Bear, despite giving up just two runs on seven hits over a career-long eight innings. The junior right-hander struck out eight without issuing a walk.
For the Bears, Medrano finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate, while Massenberg singled twice and scored the lone MSU run.
Missouri State will close the home portion of regular-season schedule with Senior Day festivities before Sunday's 1 p.m. series finale with Evansville.