Bradley Scores Walk-Off 9-8 Win to Sweep Baseball Bears
PEORIA, Ill. -- The Missouri State baseball team came back from a pair of three-run deficits Sunday afternoon only to watch Bradley score three in the bottom of the ninth inning to hand the Bears their fifth walk-off loss of the season by a 9-8 final at O’Brien Field in Peoria, Ill.
A wild ninth inning saw the Bears (12-19, 1-5 Missouri Valley Conference) score three runs to grab an 8-6 lead.
Kevin Medrano plated the first run with a double and Tyler Paxson delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to give MSU the two-run advantage.
As it did all weekend, Bradley (9-17, 3-6) had an answer for the Bears, loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth and executing perfectly to grab the victory. The Braves hit a pair of sacrifice flies for the tie before Matt Fritz’s fifth hit of the game delivered the game-winning run.
Bradley took a 3-0 lead through four innings, using the bunt and running games each time. The Braves scored in the first when Fritz hit a leadoff double and scored on a sacrifice and a ground out. Mike Tauchman drew a leadoff walk in the second and stole second before scoring when the mound redirected Mike McMillan’s ground ball around the MSU defense for a single, and then used another McMillan single, a sacrifice and Jason Leblebijian single in the fourth for the third run.
Freshmen Barrett Noirfalise and Keenen Maddox hit back-to-back one-out singles in the fifth and a wild pitch allowed Noirfalise to score MSU’s first run. The Bears had their eyes on another run when Fritz made a specatular leading catch at second to rob Trevor Rogers of an RBI single and end the MSU fifth with a 3-1 score.
MSU opened the sixth with a Travis McComack walk and Aaron Conway single and Medrano sacrificed both into scoring position with the first out. Christian Overstreet’s ground out plated McComack and Paxson placed an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line for an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3.
The momentum quickly swung back to Bradley in the bottom of the sixth when Pierce Johnson plunked the leadoff man, ending his start after five-plus innings. Grant Gordon relieved Johnson and the Braves built their lead back to three runs with a sacrifice, an error, three singles, a stolen base and two wild pitches, sending the game into the seventh with a 6-3 score in favor of the home team.
Bradley reliever Gus DeQuesada quickly retired the first two batters of the seventh before walking the bases loaded with two outs. Patrick Cooper, a weekend starter until moving to the bullpen this week, came in to face Medrano, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-run single that pulled the Bears within a run. Another walk loaded the bases before Paxson popped out to end the inning with a 6-5 score.
Missouri State returns home Tuesday for a 6:30 contest with Kansas.