Bears Fall 6-4 at Bradley in Game Two of Series
PEORIA, Ill. -- Missouri State defensive lapses led to four unearned runs and Bradley scored five runs and had 10 hits with two outs Saturday as the Braves (8-17, 2-6 Missouri Valley Conference) defeated the Bears (12-18, 1-4) by a 6-4 final at O’Brien Field in Peoria, Ill.
Unlike the series opener in which Missouri State failed to put a leadoff runner on in nine at bats, the Bears put the leadoff man on five times Saturday but were only 5-for-21 with those runners on base and 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position in the game. The Bears stranded 13 runners total and eight in scoring position, while the Braves were 6-for-10 at the plate with a runner on second or third and 10-for-18 with two outs in claiming their first series win over the Bears since 2000.
BU’s Kevin Sullivan hit a two-out single that scored Rob Elliot in the first, and the teams traded runs in the second. MSU’s Tyler Paxson singled home Christian Overstreet with no outs and the Braves turned a key double play to hold the Bears at one run despite four men reaching safely in the frame. Jason Leblebijian’s two-out double gave BU the lead back in the bottom of the inning.
The Bears took their first of two leads in the fifth when Paxson drove in Kevin Medrano with a ground ball and Tyler Ryun hit a two-out single to plate Keenen Maddox for a 3-2 advantage.
Bradley tied the score in the bottom of the fifth, stealing a run with runners on the corners and one out. Brian Martin broke for second and was picked off, intentionally putting himself in a run-down long enough for Elliott to sneak home from third and tie the game.
MSU opened the sixth with three straight singles, taking a 4-3 lead and putting runners on the corners with nobody out. BU’s Kori Jensen (2-2) recorded the first out before Medrano stole second to put two in scoring position. The BU senior righty struck out the next two Bears to end the threat.
The Bradley seventh began with a critical throwing error on Travis McComack at shortstop that resulted in three unearned runs scoring when the Braves belted three straight two-out doubles for the final 6-4 score.
BU’s Patrick Cooper hit a batter and issued a walk, but retired the other six batters he faced in the final two frames for the save.
Pat Doyle (2-6) went 6.2 innings for Missouri State, striking out seven against one walk and allowing six runs, two earned. Blake Barber pitched the final four outs for the Bears.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.