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Bears Falter in Ninth Inning, Lose 4-3 at Southern Miss



HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Missouri State’s Aaron Meade got the better of Southern Mississippi’s Todd McInnis Friday in a battle of preseason All-Americans, but it was USM that got the win by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Miss.

    Meade took a shutout into the eighth, leaving with a 2-0 lead after 7.2 innings, five hits allowed, six strikeouts and five walks, the final two of which were handed to reliever Blake Barber with two out in the eighth. Barber allowed a run to score before Aaron Conway hauled in a deep drive on the warning track in center field to preserve MSU’s 2-1 lead into the ninth.

    Curt Courtwright opened the ninth with a walk and moved to second on J.C. Casey’s sac bunt. Tyler Ryun then took the next pitch off All-American closer Collin Cargill to center for an RBI single that pushed the lead back to two runs at 3-1.

    Things unraveled quickly for MSU in the ninth when USM opened with a walk and a single and Marc Bourgeois lined a single to center to drive in a run and put runners on the corners with no out and a 3-2 score. Pierce Johnson relieved Barber and got a ground ball to first that resulted in an error on Ryun and the tying run coming across the plate, and another error on a double play ball loaded the bases with an out still yet to be recorded.

    First baseman then Mark Ellis sent a drive to right that fell in as Bourgeois came home for the 4-3 win, handing the Bears their fourth walk-off defeat in 12 games.

    Trevor Rogers scored on Ryun’s fielder’s choice in the second for the game’s first run, and the score remained 1-0 until Kevin Medrano lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left center in the eighth that nearly fell in for extra bases, scoring Travis McComack for a 2-0 lead.

    Meade took a no-decision, as did McInnis after he threw 7.2 frames and allowed six hits and two runs. Barber (0-2) took the loss for Missouri State (4-8), and Cargill (1-0) got the win for the Golden Eagles (8-4).

    The series continues Saturday at 3 p.m.


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