Bears split twinbill with Middle Tennessee
The Missouri State baseball team split a doubleheader with Middle Tennessee State Sunday afternoon at Hammons Field, losing the first game by a 7-3 final but rebounding to pick up the game two victory 6-3.
After scoring on an error, a double and a sacrifice fly in the second inning of game one, Middle Tennessee made it a 2-0 game in the top of the fourth when designated hitter Justin Jones hit an RBI double to left that scored Blake McDade.
In the fifth inning, Chris Taylor dropped one fly ball and appeared to lose another in the sun that allowed runners to reach first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases for Bears’ reliever Chris Mackey, who came in for starter Jake Shafer following the walk. McDade promptly hit Mackey’s second offering over the right field wall for a grand slam that gave the Blue Raiders a 6-0 lead.
MTSU starter Brad Robinson took a no-hitter into the sixth before Chris Playter broke it up with a pinch-hit single to center. Robinson was unfazed, inducing the inning-ending double play on the next pitch.
Following another Middle Tennessee run in the seventh, Kyle Paul put the Bears on the board with a double to left to score Nolan Keane. Brayden Drake doubled off the right field wall to plate Paul and end Robinson’s day after the righty flirted with the no-hitter. Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to account for the final 7-3 margin.
Shafer (0-2) took the loss for the Bears.
Middle Tennessee struck with a run in the first in game two, but the Bears answered with five in the second. The right fielder dropped a high fly ball off the bat of Paul to open the inning, and Drake took advantage by homering off starter Shay Horseman to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Shane Elenz tripled and Josh Mazzola hit a double that nearly cleared the wall to drive Elenz home. Tanner Mattson then hit an RBI single and Matt Lawson drilled an RBI double to cap the scoring as the Bears batted around in the second.
Tim Clubb (1-0) picked up his first win of the year and was aided by four double plays turned by the MSU defense in his five innings of work. Though the four double plays was one shy of the school record as a team, first baseman Josh Mazzola was a part of all four as an individual, which tied a school record now shared with six others.
Keane added a solo homer in the eighth and MTSU tallied single runs in the third and seventh for the final 6-3 score.
The Bears moved to 4-4 on the season, while the Blue Raiders are now 4-8.
Missouri State hits the road for four games next week, beginning with a 3 p.m. Wednesday contest at Oral Roberts. The Bears then travel to Minnesota for a three-game set with the Golden Gophers in the Metrodome over the weekend.