Evansville Takes Series From Bears on Freeland's One-Hitter
May 13, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Evansville's Kyle Freeland held the Missouri State Bears hitless for eight innings before settling for a complete-game, 1-0 shutout Sunday afternoon at Hammons Field. Freeland struck out 11 batters and allowed just three baserunners all day in a one-hitter that handed the Purple Aces the rubber match of the series.
Freeland (4-5) outdueled Missouri State's Pierce Johnson, who turned in a complete-game effort of his own in another tough-luck setback. Johnson limited the Aces to just two hits over the first eight innings, before a Tim Bodine infield single and a two-out Kyle Pollock base hit gave UE the lone score of the afternoon in the top of the ninth.
Johnson (2-6) struck out nine Aces and allowed just four hits and a pair of walks in his third one-run defeat of the season.
The Bears' offense, which managed just three runs while hitting an anemic .145 as a whole over the three-game series, was held in check throughout the day by the Aces' freshman left-hander. Freeland, who entered the game with a 4.98 earned run average and three victories on the year, allowed just one baserunner through the first 7 1/3 innings before beaning Brock Chaffin with a one-out offering. He escaped the inning with his no-hit bid intact, however, getting pinch hitter Derek Mattea to line into a 4-3 double play to squash the threat.
Evansville (30-22, 9-9 MVC) promptly went to work on offense in the top half of the ninth, as Bodine beat out an infield single on a well-placed bouncer to third, then moved into scoring position on an Eric Stamets sacrifice. Jake Mahon's grounder to second pushed the baserunner over to third, before Pollock laced the first pitch he saw from Johnson into center field for the game-winning single.
MSU's Conor Smith gave the Bears their first hit with a line drive through the right side to start the bottom of the ninth, and Eric Cheray's school-record-tying 12th sacrifice hit of the season moved the runner to second. But Freeland got Spiker Helms on a grounder to short, then retired Kevin Medrano on a roller to second to complete the victory.
Both starting pitchers cruised through the first half of the contest without any difficulties, as Johnson and Freeland combined for 14 strikeouts while allowing just two baserunners between them over the first five innings of play. Johnson, who faced the minimum through five, gave up a lead-off single to Trentt Copeland in the third, but rolled an inning-ending double play off the bat of Bodine to get out of the inning unscathed. The Bears' lone runner came via a two-out walk to Chaffin in the second, followed immediately by Freeland's retirement of 17 straight hitters until plunking Chaffin in the eighth.
Other than Smith's hit in the ninth, Chaffin provided the lone offense for the Bears by reaching base safely in two of his three trips to the plate.
For the second straight day, Stamets sparked the UE offense, recording an infield single to go along with his key sac bunt in the ninth.
The Bears (35-17, 11-6 MVC) will enter their final MVC regular-season series at Indiana State (40-12, 13-5 MVC)--which completed a three-game road sweep of Southern Illinois with a 10-4 win Sunday--a game-and-a-half behind the front-running Sycamores in the Valley standings. Game one of the three-game series is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (Central) Thursday at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute.