Baseball Edges Nebraska in Tournament's Final Game, 3-2
The Missouri State baseball team used solid pitching and timely hitting to finish the Sam Houston Baseball Classic with a 2-2 record by defeating Nebraska by a 3-2 score Sunday morning in Huntsville, Texas.
MSU improved to 2-5 on the season, while Nebraska fell to 5-3-1.
The Bears broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when Zak Swyhart laced a two-out single to left to score Curt Courtwright. Ben Carlson followed with an RBI single to plate Kevin Medrano for a 2-0 MSU lead. The Bears nearly added to that advantage, but Husker right fielder D.J. Belfonte robbed Chris Playter of an RBI hit with a sliding catch to end the inning.
Making his first start of the season, Buddy Baumann (1-0) dominated the Huskers for five innings, striking out five while giving up one hit and allowing only one runner past first base as the score remained 2-0 through the fifth.
Working in relief, Pat Doyle tossed a scoreless sixth and surrendered back-to-back singles to open the seventh. The Bears got the next two outs, but the Huskers loaded the bases and Doyle walked Kale Kiser to force in NU’s first run before fanning Belfonte to keep the 2-1 lead intact entering the seventh inning stretch.
Medrano responded to the NU run by driving in Travis McComack with a two-out single to give MSU a 3-1 lead through seven, but a walk, a single and a throwing error let two Huskers in scoring position with no outs in the eighth. Medrano made an acrobat catch in foul territory for the first out and a sacrifice fly made the second out but also cut the lead to one. Doyle got Ben Kline to pop out to shortstop to preserve the MSU lead at 3-2.
Things got interesting in the ninth with a single and an error with one out putting the tying run in scoring position. Doyle fanned Belfonte a second time and Curt Courtwright made a diving stop of Nick Sullivan’s grounder up the middle and flipped to McComack at second for the force and MSU win.
Doyle pitched the final four innings, earning his first save of the year after giving up an unearned run and striking out four.
The Bears open the home season Wednesday with a 3 p.m. contest against Central Arkansas at Hammons Field.